Readers' letters - January 15

Arguments don't hold water

Flowers left at a mural of musician David Bowie, in Brixton, south London, who died this week. See letter on page 17
Flowers left at a mural of musician David Bowie, in Brixton, south London, who died this week. See letter on page 17

I write in response to Paul Nuttall (letters January 5). There are many factors which have contributed to the recent floods, but the EU has little to do with it.

The Water Framework Directive has been the primary driver for the restoration of our streams, rivers and lakes for the past 15 years.

Far from causing flooding, this legislation has enabled the protection of hundreds of miles of riverbanks from livestock and the creation of riparian buffer strips and woodland. This reduces sediment inputs and slows the rate of water runoff into rivers.

Similar work is also facilitated by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), through Countryside Stewardship schemes. Though the CAP is far from perfect, it is false to say it has resulted in the chopping down of trees. In fact the opposite is true: thousands of hectares of new native woodland have been created through incentives such as the English Woodland Grant Scheme.

Dredging is seen by some as a panacea and the solution to flooding in the UK.

Used properly and in the right places, dredging can help reduce water levels on a local scale and prevent frequent low-level flooding in key locations.

However widespread, unregulated dredging would certainly do more harm than good, speeding up flows, mobilising sediment, increasing flood risk elsewhere, not to mention its ecological consequences.

Furthermore, dredging would have little effect on peak water levels during exceptional flood events such as the recent Boxing Day floods.

Where I can agree with Mr Nuttall is that the building of new houses on floodplains is a short-sighted strategy which will cost us all dearly in the long-term.

As far as I am aware though, the EU does not tell us where to build our houses.

It may be convenient to scapegoat the EU for a crisis such as this, particularly with a referendum looming, but this time the arguments just don’t hold water.

Adam Walmsley, Garstang

Now let’s get the dredgers going

While I applaud Mr Graham Bowcock’s article (LEP January 12), I cannot believe more pressure is being put on farmers regarding the flooding.

The simple reason why this problem occurred is because of neglect from the Environment Agency for over 30 years.

There was less and less 
maintenance of the outlets.

Dredging is the simple answer, but seems to be low down on the list of priorities.

What are they going to do when the housing reaches the top of the hill, as we progress with the policy of providing accommodation for the people with no jobs?

The farmers have been broken by this stupidity. The time will come when there will be no farmers around to mop up the failings of the agency, then who will they blame? Get the dredgers going and pull the plug out so the water can drain. It’s not rocket science.

Alan Buck via email

Name choice for link road

While many of the proposed names for the new link (M6 to Morecambe Road) are well intentioned, surely we should consider how the chosen name will stand up in the future?

Eric Morecambe has been dead for more than 30 years so his name means nothing to anyone under 50-years-old today.

The name of the local TT champion has limited popular appeal and will be largely forgotten in time. How many of the public remember Geoff Duke?

I am very positive about the prosperity and environmental benefits to our area which will follow within 10 years of the opening of the M6 link road.

My suggestion is Lancaster and Morecambe Freeway.

Ian R White, Bare

Bowie at the Public Hall

It wasn’t the Guild Hall where David Bowie first performed in Preston, as my friend and I went to see him at the old Public Hall in Lune Street (LEP January 12).

To say he was amazing is an understatement and he and his group (I think The Spiders from Mars) were playing to a half full hall and in fact we had complimentary tickets for it.

Their appearances were so colourful with the bright hair and costumes and so unlike anything we’d seen before.

They also commanded the stage, walking and strutting over every inch of it.

He also lamented the passing of the Public Hall which was second to none in acoustics, atmosphere and character as, when I next saw him in concert at the Guild Hall, Bowie actually asked where the old hall had gone where he played in Preston last and that he much preferred it.

Name and address supplied

Meters don’t seem so smart

Some strange things happen within British Gas.

As my suppliers, about a year ago, at their instigation (and at their expense), I agreed to have ‘smart’ meters installed for my gas and electricity.

These, I was told, would transmit readings to the supplier every 30 minutes.

I marvelled that they could need so much data but, if that was what they wanted, so be it.

I have therefore been surprised that my subsequent statements have been peppered with ‘Estimated Readings.’ Significantly these occur at time of tariff change.

But that isn’t all. Recently a man has called to read the smart meters. This seemed so improbable that I telephoned British Gas to check his authenticity out but they were able to assure me that it was a routine visit. We don’t trust technology, do we?

Neil Inkley, Walton­-Le-­Dale

Corbyn’s MPs ‘a line of Muppets’

When Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party I thought the change might be a good thing, but now it seems I was wrong, for the Corbyn Chorus look like a line of Muppets with no more chance of winning the next election than Nigel Farage.

Joseph G Dawson, Chorley