Reader’s letters - Tuesday October 07, 2014

One reader believes it is time to turn the clock back on drinking laws
One reader believes it is time to turn the clock back on drinking laws
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Stop ducking shale debate

You may have noticed a spate of letters recently in the local press from members of the North West Energy Task Force. This is group of local businesses espousing the benefits of shale gas here in our county.

I have read their glossy brochures on the ‘local benefits of Shale Gas’ and I am still not convinced. Their assumptions appear to be flawed. They are based heavily on industry supplied data which will obviously be favourable.

However one thing stands out, little consideration has been given to the negative impacts this industry would have on existing local businesses, the environment or local communities.

You only have to research the Internet to see the benefits being quoted are seriously contested by many reputable groups including the TUC, Deutsche Bank and Lord Stern. This is a quote from the TUC to the House of Lords Select Committee.

“Currently in the UK there are no non-industry, peer reviewed estimates of the balance of local and national economic and jobs benefits of shale gas fracking. The government has argued that the process could support 74,000 jobs. However, its own commissioned research suggests a maximum of 32,000 jobs on the highest growth assumption. A common sense view would recognise that shale gas fracking produces positive and negative economic and jobs impacts. None of the UK studies look at the locally sensitive negative impacts on tourism, recreation and farming, nor the evidence from the US of a displacement of jobs and investment from renewable energy companies.”

DEFRA’s own report on the Rural Economy Impacts was so heavily redacted (more than 60 per cent) that you need to ask yourself what is the government trying to hide from us? One can only assume the impacts are not good!

The number of jobs at the first two sites is likely to be 20-30 full time jobs. Sure there will be some work for local companies in construction of the well pads, transporting and treating tonnes of hazardous waste around our county and providing security at the sites. But at what cost to our wonderful environment and local communities? It is highly unlikely there will be a huge influx of workers spending thousands in our shops and hotels! This is not like the off shore or conventional gas industry. This is unconventional gas. It is a highly invasive industry; thousands of wells would be required to make it economically viable leaving us with a dangerous legacy.

People who are against fracking are not scaremongers or activists as you are being led to believe. There is significant, peer reviewed, scientific evidence of harm to both people and the environment.

We have asked the NW Energy Task Force to come and speak to us so we can listen to what they have to say and debate the issue. They have not taken us up on our offer so I extend the invite to them again. Let us have a proper, rational debate about this industry and consider the potential benefits against the negative impacts without any pressure from the industry.

Barbara Richardson, chairman of Roseacre Awareness Group

Laws on alcohol need revisiting

Minimum pricing for alcohol will not save lives. It is access to drink which will save lives.

Bring back licencing hours for all establishments selling alcohol particularly supermarkets and off-licences which sell 24/7.

Allow alcohol to be sold between the hours of 11am and 11pm Monday to Saturday and pubs only on Sundays between 11am and 3pm and then 7pm and 10.30pm.

Added to that, no alcohol to be sold on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.

To back up these hours, I would increase the fines for drink-related driving offences to cars being confiscated and the offender having to retake his/her driving test.

Ian Bolton, address supplied

Country getting too crowded

Finally we have appropriate decisions on the abject building of inappropriate designs for new builds in Ingol and Goosnargh , re: council refuse planning permission for “Buxingham Palace” (LEP October 2) and Ingol Golf course (LEP October a).

Perhaps others should have made the same decision when it was decided to turn Longridge into what potentially will become a traffic nightmare.

There are plenty of areas that are currently underused and should be considered before building on green land.

I appreciate that the citizens of these islands have to live somewhere, recently, however, these councils have one thing in mind and that must be revenue from these extra buildings because the consideration of residents is certainly not on their mind.

For an island with an approximate population of 60+ million the housing problem is only going to get worse with such limited space and resources.

Uncontrolled immigration under the so called current restrictions make me laugh, this is only a fraction of the problem as they are not really aware of what is going on in the real world.

PT, Fulwood

Life on railways is changing

In a previous letter, I referred to the opening of a super-sized signalbox at Preston in the early 1970s (letters May 13).

This installation replaced scores of signal boxes on the West Coast Main Line and East Lancs. Preston Power Signal Box (PSB) was at the very leading edge of the technology of its time.

Now its time is numbered. In July of this year a Rail Operating Centre (ROC) was opened at a small place called Ashburys, a few miles south of Manchester.

In all 12 ROCs are planned and these will control all trains in England and Wales.

Within the next 15 years Ashburys ROC will replace Preston PSB as the control centre for all north west rail traffic, and linking with Rugby for control of the entire West Coast Main Line.

The ROCs will not be just mega-sized signal boxes, but will be the home for several hundred personnel involved in rail traffic management.

E Clegg, retired BR signal engineer, Preston