Watching the watchdogs
Members of the public were just informed by the Environment Agency that they “have granted environmental permits that Cuadrilla need to carry out operations safely at their proposed shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, in Lancashire” (LEP January 17).
This puts huge pressure on Lancashire County Council when it is considering Cuadrilla’s planning applications and it may struggle to reject fracking even if it wanted to.
On the December 28 2014 the Independent on Sunday reported on their investigation that proved the Environment Agency’s pension fund invests millions of pounds in controversial industries it then regulates, including fracking.
It is worrying that the agency charged with ensuring the protection of our environment from such a potentially damaging activity as fracking is an investor, however indirectly, in that industry especially at a time when the Infrastructure Bill currently going through the House of Commons makes gas and oil exploration including fracking “anywhere in Britain to be a legal objective”.
Canon Andrea Titterington, Fulwood
Don’t let county become a ‘mug’
We must not let scientific, academic and financial issues of ‘fracking detract, and cloud the realities of dangers which can occur and be very detrimental to our health, ruination of agriculture and tourism.
I’ve yet to see advocates of fracking mention the climate change policy to cut carbon emissions by 41 per cent by 2020 – they remain silent – yet the public are being encouraged to accept rigs in Lancashire and elsewhere spewing out gas emissions, noise and light pollution, diesel fumes, seismic activities etc.
Fracking should be banned as they have done in France, Germany, Luxemburg, Spain, Bulgaria and many other states in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, North and South Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and many states in America, (the home of fracking), and countless British counties.
Despite all the cash handouts, do we value the massive profits to be made over our personal, and our children’s health and safety? The people who are paid to keep us safe should object to this insidious business. Will Lancashire be the mug of Europe?
Mr David Barker, Poulton-le-Fylde
The times are not a changing
As an avid fan of Retro I often not how things may change and yet so often remain the same.
In last week’s Retro (LEP January 14) an architect muses on the benefits of connecting the bus station and railway station in the 1940s, some 20 years before the current bus station was built. I wonder whatever happened to that debate?
The article on the 30th anniversary of the Morecambe Bay gas field was just as fascinating as it showed the promise of so much wealth at the time the field was being developing in the 1980s.
Over the intervening years how much of those riches has stayed here in Lancashire? That’s one to ponder as the debate over fracking rumbles on and what it will mean for us.
M Roberts, Fulwood
Help needed to identify medal
While my wife Margaret was having a once in a millennium clear out she came across this medallion (see photo), bearing the inscription LOVE, HONOUR and TRUTH.
No family member can cast any information about its origins. Perhaps there is a knowledgeable reader out there who can identify its source etc.
Derek Rogerson, via e-mail
Days of taking a dip at Saul St
Re: the photograph of Saul Street baths (Looking Back January 12), I remember going swimming in the late 1950s on Sunday mornings at 7am with friends called Duncan Grimes, Jack Whittle, Ivor Yarker, brothers Terry and Paul and Derek and Ronnie who used to take me for tea and toast in the cafe in the old Ribble bus station.
I used to go on the back of Duncan’s motorbike. We also used to go on Wednesday night too.
I wonder if they are still living in the Preston area and if they remember me. My name is Barbara, but they used to give me the nickname Pebald.
If they do remember and would like to get in touch just to let me know how they are getting on, get in touch with the paper and they will give you my details.
Mrs Barbara Vickers (nee Woolley) Leyland
Paying price of minimum wage
There has been a huge expansion in the number of minimum wage jobs over the past four years. Many of those paid the minimum wage can only manage because they receive a variety of benefits. The Government rightly judges they will need extra to be able to cope.
Because the companies have therefore been able to develop these large low paid work forces they have been enabled to build their profits in part at the expense of the taxpayer who is required to finance the benefits which make it possible.
The sums of money involved are considerable. As the number of minimum wage jobs has increased the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that an extra £900m will be required for tax credits alone above the sums already budgeted.
Approximately 0.7 per cent of the money spent on benefits is claimed through fraud. I wonder what percentage of profits is generated when necessary benefit payments subsidise low paid work?
However it is improbable that Mr Miliband’s five year plan for increases in the minimum wage will bring it to the level of the Living Wage likely to be necessary in 2019/20.
Meanwhile, Mr Cameron has not taken the opportunity while in Government to introduce the Living Wage of which he says he approves.
Fine words butter no parsnips, gentlemen.
Nick Morgan, Lancaster