Readers’ letters - March 9

Bus protesters outside County Hall, Preston, ahead of a budget meeting. Our main letter writer is worried about the 88 service
Bus protesters outside County Hall, Preston, ahead of a budget meeting. Our main letter writer is worried about the 88 service
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Bus cuts affect less fortunate

I read an interesting article by your reporter Sarah Fielden (Future of ‘vital’ services in doubt, LEP, February 9). There was also a subsequent article, Decision to cut bus services is slammed as a ‘disaster’ (February 19). Each contained a photo of Rotala’s director of operations holding a display of the 88 service around the time it was launched.

From what I have been informally told by bus drivers, it seems Rotala had already decided to scrap the orbital 88 service. I heard Rotala found the comparatively long route with its frequent obstructions too problematic.

As a bus user, I have been trying to obtain a new route 88 timetable for about two years. When I politely suggested I would contact the management about its continual absence, the information centre staff implored me to do so, stating they were embarrassed about the situation.

Meanwhile, people travelling for various reasons will find themselves changing buses two or three times, with all its complications, instead of using just one bus as at present.

People working or shopping at Asda, patients and hospital visitors –they are just a few of the many people directly affected.

The city council has put together a task and finish committee of councillors to help to find solutions regarding traffic problems around Royal Preston Hospital.

I have, in the planning committee, questioned various hospital staff concerning traffic management issues.

Patients are sick and disabled and many need to drive or be driven there. But the solution to much of the problem lies in a greater use of public transport. What does Rotala do but take away one of the vital bus routes for the sick and their visitors?

What a sad situation for the less fortunate in our society.

But the awful Government cuts are only part of the problem.

Coun John Browne, Labour councillor (Brookfield Ward)

An insight into fracking jargon

Having spent part of my life helping in the production of oil wells in the late 1970s, I have a few comments to make to explain the jargon used regarding fracking (LEP Letters, March 7).

The farmers’ comment that they can exist with a drilling rig on their land is true. It doesn’t take up much space and is not very noisy.

Fracking is purely a technique to increase the flow rate on the well you have just drilled.

I estimate that about 90 per cent of the wells I worked on did not need hydraulic fracturing.

(It is a simple process. The rock has cracks too small to allow the free flow, so I used to drop a couple of hundredweights of sand and a few pebbles down the hole, ramp up the pressure and force the sand and pebbles into widening the cracks allowing the oil to flow quicker up the pipe).

Also geologists are always part of the team. They identify the oil and gas bearing rock to be used for the well. Oolitic sandstone is good (no hydraulic fracturing), gabbro may need acidising. The geologists control it, and god help the geologist who allows any well drilling to pollute anything.

For answers to technical questions, surf my old firm on the net – Halliburton Oil Well Engineers.

Duncan, Oklahoma, USA

I still have my blue passport

Liz Hurley wondered if the ‘gorgeous British passport’ would return if the UK left the EU (LEP They Said, March 2). Well, I’ve still got mine, and when I showed it to a London auction house in 2002 to register as a bidder, the clerk asked, “What’s this?” “My ‘current’ passport though it’s expired.” “Never seen one like that.”

Perhaps the clerk was foreign and had never seen a ‘blue’ one before. I still have it – never been abroad since it expired, and I’m not paying the best part of three figures for a new one.

‘Crem d Meths’, Kendal

Recycling is

still important

The Lancashire Evening Post recently featured a letter from Chorley resident Paul Helmn (LEP Letters February 25). He asked whether paper, cardboard, plastic and metal – which households separate into different coloured boxes – will continue to be recycled, following changes being made to the way Lancashire’s waste is processed.

The answer is that it’s vital that people continue to recycle at the doorstep, as changes due to be made at the waste recovery parks will not affect the way doorstep recycling is handled, and we’ll continue to operate the Materials Recovery Facility, which sorts and bales this material for sale to the recycling industry.

Our proposals are mainly in relation to how we deal with general rubbish to find other cheaper ways of dealing with it than how we do now.

We are also asking that people stop mixing food waste with garden waste so we can compost the garden waste on its own, which costs a third of the price of composting it with food in it.

The severe financial situation facing the county council means we need to take advantage of more cost-effective ways to process our rubbish and compost garden waste where we can do it for less. This will save at least £8.5m a year while having little impact on our long-term recycling rates, but it’s essential that people continue to recycle at the doorstep to help Lancashire achieve the national target to recycle 50 per cent of our waste by 2020 – we’re nearly there and already recycle 47 per cent of all household waste.

County Coun Clare Pritchard, lead member for waste

MEPs helped with EU fund

I would like to congratulate our three Labour North West MEPs in regard to their campaign to urge the Prime Minister to apply for the European Union Solidarity Fund to help areas impacted by flooding. After a lot of delay by the Prime Minister, and I am at pains to understand why, he has taken notice of our Labour MEPs and applied for this vital source of funding.

The positive action undertaken by the Prime Minister needs to be noted, but it was after a lot of pressure from our three Labour MEPs. These applications should not be left to the last minute.

I hope that when we get the funding, it is directed towards communities who need it.

Coun David Whitaker,

Lancaster City Council