Letters - September 7, 2015

Migrants struggle to board a train in Budapest, Hungary
Migrants struggle to board a train in Budapest, Hungary
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REFUGEES

We need to help desperate people

It has been dismaying to hear politicians and media commentators speaking with such ignorance about the refugee situation at Calais.

Most of those currently stranded at the French port are from countries where conflict and persecution are rife: Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Eritrea and Afghanistan.

The 3,000 individuals at Calais are a minuscule fraction of the world’s 20 million refugees, the majority of whom are in places like Turkey, Lebanon and Ethiopia.

Europe has taken in very few of the world’s refugees. Some EU countries – especially Germany and Sweden – have provided shelter for significant numbers, but the UK and even France are lagging far behind.

It’s no good countries like France and the UK proposing the erection of ever-higher security fences. Calais, along with the crisis in the Mediterranean, needs to be tackled as part of a comprehensive EU-wide refugee approach, including via managed resettlement. Yes, the world should be looking for a solution to the crisis in Africa and the Middle East, but in the meantime do we turn away people so desperately in need of our shelter?

Norah Lynam

Fylde Coast Amnesty International

FRACKING

Energy minister seems to be naïve

An interesting read, but a naïve approach in support of shale from Andrea Leadsom, in the Big Interview column (Gazette, September 1).

Leadsom, the new minister heading the Ministry for Energy and Climate Change, has presumably not acquainted herself with the main issues affecting the environment, including climate change.

For her to support climate change with pollution from shale as a fossil fuel is illogical.

If we need gas from shale then we will not meet our climate change targets. Shale is not expected to last long, so more renewable energy is needed now.

Regulating the shale industry is problematic. How can it work, with major disruption underground which includes releasing polluted water, as well as also inducing seismic activity?

The 50 or so tremors felt in the Fylde from one frack in Prees Hall will inevitably increase with 24/7 drilling.

Sixteen weeks to look at applications to frack is a pernicious timescale to assess health and environmental issues.

Government needs to bring in legislation to make energy companies reduce the need for coal and gas and increase the power they get from Britain’s sun, wind, and waves, that was supported by 85 per cent of those surveyed in the last You Gov poll in 2012. I predict that poll would be larger today if the Government had the appetite to consult the people again!

Marjorie Nye

Knowle Avenue

TRANSPORT

Deep pockets needed to buy the airport

Yes, it’s very tempting, if you have a bottomless purse, to buy Blackpool Airport.

But your leader writer (Gazette, August 31) and Save Blackpool Airport Group shouldn’t delude themselves that Fylde and Blackpool Councils will ever be in the market to do so.

I recall my 10 years as chairman of the airport company when Blackpool owned it, and what hair-raising years they were.

We were pleased as a board to sell land off to Morrisons, and with the receipt to build the Terminal and raise the Fire Operating Category so we could attract the big aircraft. We were content to bring in RyanAir, if only to prove to the aviation world that Blackpool could be on their map, and it worked. But only because we ‘bought’ the two destinations they timetabled by paying the Irish operator up-front thousands for their two years here and a fee for every passenger who took off in their planes. RyanAir would gladly have brought in more routes if we had been willing to chuck money their way for each additional route.

We couldn’t keep paying this strong-armed contribution indefinitely.

It was a blessing when the council were able to find a buyer to take the operating worries away.

I don’t know the deal the airport under new owners had with Jet2Com, but I’d be amazed if there had not been a succession of sweeteners which inevitably made owning Blackpool Airport less and less pleasurable for Balfour Beatty’s main board.

Will we ever see flights beyond Ireland again ? I do hope so, but I very much doubt it.

David Owen

via email

CRIME

We have to police within our means

I write regarding your story Mum’s Anger at Police No-Show (Gazette, September 2).

People demand an unrealistic expectation of government services, like going to the doctors with a cold, or A&E with a headache. It is this attitude that puts strain on limited resources.

It is the responsibility of “all” people in this country to act sensibly and accordingly and allow services to prioritise incidents. You can imagine the outcry at an alternate story... “Woman killed in domestic violence incident as police attend drunk in park”!

A drunk man not wearing a shirt in Blackpool. You would need millions to police every incident of that nature. Our economy simply does not have the money, and as long as the people in this country continue to stretch services to the max – it never will.

Perhaps if we all think hard before calling the police, going to the doctors or hospital or claiming every penny in benefits we can, the country may be in a better financial situation.

Kris Zacharias

via email