Readers' letters - April 4

Even more costly and dangerous

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 10th April 2018, 6:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th April 2018, 6:16 pm
What do you think of fracking?
What do you think of fracking?

Local nuclear disarmament campaigners are horrified at the announcement of an extra £600m for spending on the Government’s scheme to replace the existing Trident nuclear weapons system with an even more dangerous and costly nuclear weapon of mass destruction.At a time when vital public services in the health, social care, education and housing sectors are under constant attack from Government cuts, spending on Trident is already out of control.Indeed, the extra £600m announced by Theresa May demonstrates that the Ministry of Defence is overspending at a very early stage in its project to replace Britain’s nuclear weapons system.Using the government’s own figures, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has previously demonstrated that the so-called ‘Trident replacement’ will cost more than £205bn over the lifetime of the scheme.Now, the Government is planning to squander even more public money, while never admitting to the full costs. Adding another £600m to the Trident bill is very negative news. It represents more millions that should have been spent on social care, on schools, on hospitals and on building new homes.Philip GilliganCumbria and Lancashire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

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environment‘Dumbing down information’ Every few weeks, Cuadrilla runs an online session, where pre-recorded video clips of the topic of the day are interspersed with questions submitted live by the public. I tuned in recently, just in time to hear an engineer likening the sand used in fracking to beach sand, eventually saying that it was quarried in the North West.The sand used in hydraulic fracturing is actually silica sand, a high-purity quartz sand with uniform, rounded grains, quite different from beach sand, and it is a very tough material, which is able to resist compressive forces of up to several tons per square inch. I was reminded of a current planning application to open a quarry in Cheshire, specifically to extract silica sand, which is apparently needed because “there is an ongoing need for silica sand to supply demand, and of the four operational silica sand sites in Cheshire East, two of these are close to being worked out”. The proposal is to extract more than three million tonnes of silica sand over a 12-year period, and this is not a coincidence. It means that more than 180 acres of agricultural land in rural Cheshire would change for ever, in order to satisfy the demands of the shale gas industry. I have no doubt that the residents of Allostock, Goostrey and Cranage, in Cheshire, would wish that fracking sand was just beach sand. After all, Lytham St Annes has got a lot going spare. But I was very disappointed by Cuadrilla’s engineer. ‘Dumbing down’ should not be the order of the day. We deserve better.T FroudLythambrexitBritain will be weakenedOnly a year is now left until the official moment of Britain’s departure from the European Union. If the current timetable is pursued, March 29, 2019 is going to be a date which future generations will look back on with incredulity and dismay.For those who expect Britain to enter a new era of growth and prosperity, the troubling reality is that every scenario so far predicts that being outside of the EU will not strengthen Britain’s place in the world, it will weaken it. The countries waiting to deal with us will adopt a modus operandi of aggressive nationalism intending to strip of us every last penny. This is capitalism, not tiddlywinks. Anyone expecting Donald Trump to do us any favours has been blind to his disdain for international rules and ‘weakest to the wall’ philosophy. It would be like stepping off a plank into a sea full of circling sharks The amount of ‘control’ we may gain will be as nothing to what we will lose.Neither Parliament nor anyone else should be duped into thinking that the only available deal is the one that Theresa May offers. She has no mandate for the Brexit she seeks and the majority of pragmatic MPs know this. Time is running out. Now is the moment to demand a change of course before it is too late.John PrancePenworthamsportDo I passthe Test?I am available for Test selection. I can’t bat, bowl or field but I am honest.Dennis Fitzgeraldvia email