Readers' letters - August 17
Whatever made your editor think that Margaret Thatcher “sowed the seeds of destruction”, causing the housing market to become “broken” when she advocated the selling-off of the social housing of her day to tenants (LP August 14)?
At the time, those occupants were extremely delighted to buy their homes, many at a very much reduced rate than those of the private housing sector of the time.
A lot of councils, whatever their political allegiance, were finding it difficult to keep up with the cost of repairs on these properties and it was a way for them to be rid of this growing problem.
My own parents rented a small two-up two-down and probably would have paid for it several times over when the landlady came and asked them if they would like to buy it.
She was not getting enough return in rents from the properties she owned to cover the repairs she was expected to carry out.
My mum and dad jumped at the chance of owning a little piece of England and hoped, with the passage of time, their children would come to benefit.
I know it is not always possible to stretch oneself, and that it is a struggle trying to save a deposit, but my own generation took the risk in the hope it would pay off.
It fortunately did, but not without much scrimping, scraping and sleepless nights, worrying if we were doing the right thing!
There will always be a need for some social housing to be built and, in Preston, the expanding university population must have eaten into the stock available for those looking to rent or buy at the cheapest end of the scale, but now, with more affordable mortgages available and having been so for some time, would it not be better to try to encourage the buying of houses instead of pushing the renting of a social
Even with the new-builds, there are houses to suit all pockets, judging by those going up apace.
Is the help to buy scheme not having an effect?
If the plunge could be taken, and the way could be found to do it, then you would at least end up being the owner of your own home without having paid out ‘dead’ money for years on end with nothing to show at the end of it.
Is this an ‘experiment’?
On July 24, 2018, it was announced that HM Government had taken the decision to allow Cuadrilla to hydraulic fracture at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.
Just three days later, the delayed –since 2015 – Defra report was published: Potential Air Quality Impacts of Shale Gas Extraction in the UK. It acknowledges that the total industrial process of hydraulic fracturing will use and release substances hazardous to the health of close residents and will generate toxic air pollutants.
Toxic micro-particulate PM 2.5 emissions may be generated from the numerous on-site diesel compressors and associated heavy diesel truck traffic, which are all probable significant contributory factors to the harmful impacts on health from the total industrial process.
The Defra report states that “a sufficiently improved UK evidence base (of emissions) is only expected to be obtained by studying the establishment and operation of the first commercial wells”. The only conclusion that can be made is that the Cuadrilla site at Little Plumpton will also be used as a prospective observational study to monitor the emissions of toxic chemicals, known to adversely impact human health.
This ‘experiment’ is to proceed without the informed consent of the impacted residents, some of whom live only 350 metres from the site, closer than the 500 metres recently stipulated for safety by a Yorkshire planning inspector. Many question whether such an ‘experiment’ complies with ethical guidelines.
There should now be an immediate moratorium on fracking until a transparent review takes place to evaluate all the health, safety and environmental issues. Prohibiting the development of an industry that is potentially so harmful to health, that has doubtful economic viability and runs counter to the direction of the necessary transition to renewable energy, should be regarded as a sensible decision.
Not much of a choice for voters
I am in despair at the quality of leadership in both our main political parties at this current time, especially as the nation prepares to build a new future for itself outside of the European Union.
Both the Conservatives and Labour are mired in arguments over their party’s attitudes towards different religious groups, with the endless back-and-forth bickering both difficult to follow and showing almost no one in a good light.
Voters at the next general election face an unenviable choice, especially with UKIP seemingly throwing their lot in with extremist supporters of Tommy Robinson, and the Liberal Democrats in such a state that there are even reports (admittedly subsequently denied by Vince Cable) that their own leader has been discussing the creation of a new centrist, anti-Brexit, party. Looking at our current leaders, it does not bode well for our post-Brexit future, to say the least. I can only hope someone emerges from the current political mess who can change my mind.
Jenny Eaves via email
Immigration and Ireland
Are both sides of the negotiations conveniently ignoring the fact that the absence of a ‘hard’ border will mean that there can be no control over immigration between Northern Ireland and the Republic? I guess the Irish Sea ferry companies ought to be ordering some more ships!