Reader’s letters - Thursday June 25, 2015

Soldiers march in front of Buckingham Palace, London, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament
Soldiers march in front of Buckingham Palace, London, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament
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Process only way to find out

I am a Lancashire lad, born and brought up in North West England and it was the geology of this region and its landscapes, wildlife, estuaries and beaches that inspired me as a child to become a scientist.

I am professionally accredited as a chartered geologist. In 2003, I was awarded an MBE for services to UK geo-sciences. I am an international expert on Carboniferous geology. I spent the first 33 years of my career at the British Geological Survey. In that long career I was involved in coal, oil and gas exploration, underground gas storage (natural gas and carbon dioxide), geothermal, large civil engineering projects, and radioactive waste disposal, as well as mapping the geology of NW England.

I note and welcome the fact that the Lancashire County Council’s Planning officers’ comprehensive report to the Development Control Committee has not raised significant objections relating to the geological and geo-technical aspects of Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road proposals.

Some voices argue that we know enough from experiences in America not to even attempt shale gas here. I wish to point out that America is a different culture and has a significantly poorer regulatory regime to here.

You can buy a gun in a Wal-Mart over there, but that does not translate to Asda (a subsidiary of Wal-Mart) selling them here. Regulations in the US also vary from State to State.

Of course we can learn from mistakes made in the USA, and we do, but in terms of well integrity design and establishing baselines, it is the Americans who are now learning from British best practice in oil and gas regulation.

Completing the exploration process is the only way to settle the issue of whether natural gas from shale can be produced safely and commercially here in the county I was born.

The wells may demonstrate that it cannot, but if they demonstrate it can, then there will be other decision points as to whether we should proceed any further and those decisions are not for this week. The operator is willing to take the financial risk within the strongest regulatory environment there is for exploration.

I hope that Lancashire County Council can take what I can appreciate would be a difficult decision, and allow the proposed limited and temporary exploration activity to continue.

Dr. Nick Riley MBE, C. Geol., FGS

Nottingham, UK

Sleepwalking into fracking

If we are not careful, Preston and the surrounding districts are to be sleepwalked into introducing fracking by the LCC.

Let’s slow this development down and stand back and consider the issues. Many pro-frackers have a direct or indirect financial interest in fracking while anti- frackers are generally concerned about health and environments and “not in my back yard issues”.

The gas has been in the ground for thousands of years and will remain so if left alone.

Let the LCC opt out of fracking for ten years and allow other areas to be the pioneers. Then we can see the advantages and disadvantages, avoid the disasters, and then adopt the best practices.

If we wait ten years, the gas will still be valuable, the procedures refined and risks more appreciated. It will be a sorry day if this is the start of turning the Fylde into a vast industrial area.

Terence Black via email

Hammer House of Paradise

Talk about the Hammer House of Paradise! Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and now the great Christopher Lee.

Heaven really must be a very scary place to be at the moment!

Darryl Ashton, Blackpool

Road turned into a walkway

On reading Monday’s LEP (June 22) and seeing the Looking Back picture, it reminded me of one I took some time ago.

On a Sunday afternoon/ evening in mid December 1982, it snowed very heavily.

The above picture was taken on the Monday morning looking up Cadley Causeway, as, for the first time ever, I had to walk to work at the old Royal Mail in West Cliff, Preston.

Transport had virtually ground to a halt, apart from the brave milkman in his van!

The road had literally turned into one big walkway due to the depth of the snow.

Hope this might be of interest to you.

Barry Crook

Preston

The woes of Windsor

The recent news that an elderly couple may be forced to leave their home, will surely touch the hearts of the general public, even though they wilfully failed to maintain their property.

One puzzling thing is how they have managed to receive state benefits over a prolonged period, when they possess large capital sums of money.

Under the benefit rules, I believe this should have precluded them receiving even a penny. They should also think themselves very lucky that they were never prosecuted for evading paying taxes for many years.

I suppose the current state of Greece will prevent the lady’s husband from returning to his native home.

Denis Lee, Ashton

We need to vote yes to EU exit

The president of the USA tells Britain to remain part of the EU and carry on being ruled by unelected officials.

What a hypocrite.

In 1776, his country went to war over a similar problem and won the right to govern themselves.

We do not need to go to war, but if we remain part of this dying union, we will be drawn into the next European conflict. The seeds are already being sown on the continent’s eastern and southern borders.

All we need to do is vote “out” in the forthcoming referendum and regain our freedom. We will also be better off by £55m per day. I think it’s what is known as a “no-brainer”.

P Ward, Leyland