Letters: Rethink needed for badge assessment
I read with interest your article regarding the plight of the young man who was refused a blue badge (LP September 9).
I applied for the renewal of mine which I had held for three years.
I am arthritic and often agoraphobic and my condition is worse now than when I applied originally.
I was interviewed on the telephone by an employee of Lancashire County Council. My daughter also spoke to the employee, emphasising my condition. I am 79 years old.
Imagine my dismay when, a few days later, I received a letter refusing my application as LCC did not consider that I met the Department of Transport criteria.
My family and friends were horrified.
I was told I could appeal and that I should get my GP to support my application.
It is not my GP’s policy to deal with blue badge applications. I appealed, pointing out that a face-to-face assessment was never mentioned.
I did not received a transcript of my interview and I asked whether the telephone interviewer had any medical knowledge of disabilities or whether they were simply ‘clerical assistants’.
A few days later, I received a call from an LCC employee, stating that my telephone interview had been incorrectly interpreted and my appeal was upheld – with apologies to me and my family for any stress caused.
I did send a copy of my appeal to the chairman of LCC.
I have since heard of other cases of people, with quite serious disabilities, who have been turned down. I am concerned that, for many reasons, they have felt unable to appeal.
While my case has been resolved, as has the case of the young man in your article, I felt strongly that LCC should examine its blue badge assessment procedure, as something is seriously amiss when disabled people are experiencing considerable stress with the existing procedure.
Defender of Disabled Drivers
Vital step for shale industry
Cuadrilla recently took delivery of the equipment it needs to conduct test fracking at its two shale gas exploration wells at Preston New Road site.
It will be the first time fracking has taken place in Lancashire since 2011.
At the time, it was believed to have resulted in two small earth tremors, and I have no doubt that opponents of the industry will have much to say about that once the process resumes shortly, especially if any tremors are detected above 0.5 magnitude – the level at which operations must temporarily cease under the ‘traffic light system’ of monitoring and reporting agreed with the Government.
But we must remember that events this small can’t be felt by us mere mortals and cannot cause any surface damage. They simply do not have the energy to take the skin off a descent custard.
The very small risk of minor earth tremors is no reason not to get on with discovering how much of the gas below our feet could be warming Lancashire homes.
I for one am very much looking forward to understanding more about the long-term prospects for establishing a successful Lancashire shale gas industry, and the imminent test fracking is an important step towards that.
Bernard Whittle OBE
Justice and evidence
In regard to the latest US political storm, it seems some are convinced Christine
Blasey Ford is telling the truth that US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her (protest pictured, inset).
I don’t know how, though. Is there anyone reading this who can say the case is so cut and dried that it is “beyond reasonable doubt” which is the burden of proof in a criminal court?
For me there are some issues that weaken the prosecution case: the timing of the allegation, alleged political motive from some in Christine Blasey Ford’s camp to have this case heard now, the lack of concrete evidence, and the questions that remain over the other alleged victims’ allegations. So I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon of “he’s guilty” just yet. Like with all things, I’ll wait for all the available evidence to come to light and then will make an informed decision at that time.
If we don’t have a legal system based on evidence and evidence alone then we are one step away from returning to the days of kangaroo courts where the mob rules. Justice has to be blind, and it should be applied without regard to wealth, power, race, creed or political allegiance. Only the available evidence should be considered. Otherwise our own prejudices will come to bear on our perception of who is telling the truth.
Perils of giant pushchairs
Is it only me who thinks the size of pushchairs on buses has grown to ridiculous proportions?
Some are as large as the old Sivercross prams and, when loaded with shopping bags, form a hazard in the bus aisle.
Older and disabled passengers would have no chance of getting off the
bus in the event of an emergency.
Oh, for the days when we left our children with our husband or relatives when we had shopping to do.