Readers' letters - January 4
It makes sense to help flood victims
I am a vice chairman of Churchtown Flood Action Group. It is a small village near Garstang, Lancashire.
Several villages nearby were severely flooded on November 22. Many people suffered the misery of being out of their homes over Christmas and beyond.
After Storm Desmond, the Government instigated the Bellwin Scheme. This enabled flood victims to apply for £500 cash and become eligible to apply for a further grant of £5,000.
The grant was specifically to install flood resilience in their homes. It is not based upon numbers but awarded at the discretion of the Government. The fund is paid to the councils who then distribute it to the victims. Amongst other things, it enabled councils to allow a cessation of council tax.
Without it, flood victims may be paying council tax in both their ruined home and their temporary accommodation.
In my opinion, a fund should be set up for flooding victims to apply for, just in the same way as the Government runs schemes to insulate your home.
It also makes economic sense to help victims of flooding, to build resilience into their homes and prevent it happening to them again.
Flooding costs the country such an enormous amount of money, both in terms of damage to infrastructure but in terms of mental health.
Due to the November floods, there are a few hundred people out of their homes in Lancashire and they will receive very little help or no help to recover.
In the North West, Cumbria and Lancashire are two of the counties in the UK with the highest rainfall.
The small villages and communities will inevitably flood again and again. Is it fair that they should be penalised because they are small in number? I feel sure if someone could provide the statistics, there is somewhere in the North West that floods every year and it is not going to improve.
The pain and distress caused by one person flooding is the same pain as caused to 6,000. It seems ridiculous to discriminate on the grounds of size.
Shame on the MP who supported the non-payment of the Bellwin scheme, although Cat Smith MP and Ben Wallace MP (their constituents were flooded) requested that it be paid.
Vice Chairman of Churchtown Flood Action Group
2018 message for motorists
All over Lancashire, there are road signs requesting drivers to ‘Pass Safely’ and leave a clear 1.5 metre gap between the nearside of their vehicle and cyclists. They were installed by the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership and Lancashire Constabulary several months ago. But the gap is only advisory. Not so in 28 American states, and significant parts of Europe, Australia, South Africa and Canada, where it’s law.
As UK law stands, if the driver of a 40 tonne truck doesn’t want to slow down for oncoming traffic, or can’t use an overtaking lane because of faster moving traffic, he/she can leave any gap they see fit, which could be 1.5 centimetres or less. And, if the speed limit is 50mph, they can pass at 50mph, even in treacherous driving conditions. When time is money, it means a significant number of drivers might terrify cyclists or horse riders. To try and avoid such circumstances, my cycling club does its best to avoid busy roads. The downside is that many roads are potholed.
Cyclists in the UK are condemned for riding two abreast. If ten riders ride single file, at two seconds apart, (a second for thinking, and a second for braking), at 20mph, they could be the length of two articulated wagons. On winding roads, they would be impossible to ‘Pass Safely’.
If they ride two abreast, 30cm apart, and 30cm between handlebars, they discourage dangerous passing. They also take up less room than two 4x4s at the roadside. When cyclists have to pass parked cars, they are advised by the Department for Transport to “ride a door’s width from parked vehicles”. Invariably, this means riding in the middle of the road. Also, when they ride in country lanes, the DfT advises: “Ride centrally in narrow lanes”. This also applies to narrow city/town centre lanes.
Parked vehicles do more to cause gridlock than cyclists.
Accordingly, Theresa May’s New Year message for drivers should be: “Stop blaming cyclists for the world’s problems and blame over-sized vehicles travelling at inappropriate speeds for damaging our roads and polluting our planet”.
Major won election
Much like the word ‘selfie’, I’d never heard of ‘youthquake’ until it was inducted into the current dictionary (as I write, both are underlined in red by the spell-check facility). Neither will become part of my daily vocabulary.
However, I’d like to remind your correspondent Alan ‘The Quill’ Vincent (LP Letters, December 30) that, after the fall of Margaret Thatcher as PM, the reins of the Conservative Government passed to John Major.
Under his leadership, the ‘poll tax’ (community charge, a levy per capita) was dismantled to become the council tax, relative to the value of property, in 1992. It had nowt to do with David Cameron’s Government. Oh, and John Major did win the next general election, after Mrs Thatcher resigned, in 1992.
Kit ‘Scenic in the Mist’
Upset at theft of grave flowers
On December 21, I went to take a Xmas wreath to Preston Cemetery for my beautiful mum. Someone had stolen her silk flowers which were on her grave, they even stole the pot. How can somebody stoop so low to do that? They have no compassion. No words can describe how I feel towards that person.
Mature Lady via email
What do you think of the House of Lords? Visit our previous letters page at: https://www.lep.co.uk/news/your-say/readers-letters-january-3-1-8940463