Reader’s letters - Tuesday May 26, 2015

We could learn from our feathered friends in house building, says a correspondent
We could learn from our feathered friends in house building, says a correspondent
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We could learn from birds

We have a camera in our rear porch recording images on our kitchen TV screen.

We erect it each year on the return of the swallows to watch them building their nests, laying their eggs and rearing their young. It’s a sight we never get tired of and look forward to this amazing activity each year.

It occurred to me today, how ironic this is. Us watching them build their homes and them watching us build our homes!

The frantic activity around my house, now the builders are in full flow on Inglewhite Road on the old Ryan site and the car park opposite to this, means my once beautiful countryside view is obscured by an ugly building site.

Looking at the buildings being erected, does not seem to fit the category of ‘affordable homes’ or elderly accommodation which is supposedly ‘needed’, according to politicians and councillors alike.

I wonder how the birds would compare them to the homes they build? Would it be something like the following?

Affordable? Yes, ours is made from locally sourced materials – no mortgage needed.

Economical? Yes, built-in central heating with feathers, sheep’s fleece and leaves – no on-going energy bills.

Compact? Yes, just big enough for the family with no spare rooms.

Ecological? Yes, local materials used means natural fibres have been used, completely recycled.

Essential? Yes, only built when required to exacting standards to fit the occupants and completed in two to four days.

When finished with, either discarded or recycled for the following year.

How different the list would be for our houses.

Funny old world isn’t it? We could learn a lot from our feathered friends.

Sandra Hamer, Halfpenny Lane, Longridge

Time to reform political system

The cry for reform of the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system is not new. Over the years, a number of high level studies have been carried out into the feasibility of the various alternative voting forms. All have foundered.

Anomalies of FPTP are many. For example, Britain’s smallest constituency, the Western Isles, contains 22,000 voters. The largest, the Isle of Wight, contains 110,000. Both returned one MP.

However, those seeking voting reform by their failure to win enough seats should beware what they wish for. Most options, for example the Alternative Vote or the Single Transferable Vote, have drawbacks and are complicated. Proportional Representation is simple, but it deprives citizens of any connection with a constituency MP.

There are other electoral reforms that require urgent attention. The first is a boundary review to address the imbalance in constituency sizes. This is a matter of fairness, not party politics.

Secondly, the number of constituencies should be cut from 650 to 600. We have too many MPs.

Thirdly, the increasingly bloated House of Lords needs a cull. We have the second largest legislature in the world, after China’s. We are over-governed.

Finally, despite its advantages for the elderly and infirm, postal voting must go. It is replete with abuses and fraud. Too often family heads apply pressure on other family members.

Electoral law specialists in the UK are in favour of withdrawing the automatic right to a postal ballot. The system was introduced to encourage engagement and turn-out. It has failed to do this. Far better to extend the voting period, perhaps over a weekend.

Finally, can we destroy a common myth? Despite what you are told, you do not have to mark your ballot paper with a cross. In law, a tick or even a single line is also admissible.

Dr Barry Clayton, via email

Thank you for voting me as MP

I would like to thank the people of the Ribble Valley for placing their trust in me as their Member of Parliament for the sixth time and with the second highest majority of my time.

It was fantastic to meet so many people during the campaign and talk to them about the issues that really matter to people, such as the economy, jobs for local people, education and the protection of local public services.

Housing was a large topic of conversation in some areas, and I pledge that, during the next five years, I will work closely with the local authority and with central government to guarantee that the Ribble Valley is protected as the rural and semi-rural area it presently is.

I will take the concerns of the people of our area to Parliament and ensure that our voice is heard effectively in Westminster.

I would also like to congratulate the local council candidates who won in their contests, and those who stood but were unsuccessful. We need a thriving local democracy and these selfless individuals who give up a large amount of their time for the betterment of the community should be commended.

Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley

Recklessness of fly-tipping

Early on Thursday morning, on May 14, unidentified miscreants discarded 14 five gallon drums of used oil indiscriminately throughout the length of Cabus Nook Lane, from the A6 at the Old Holly to Cockerham Road, a distance of a mile or more.

Not only were the drums full of oil, but they had no caps fitted, so when a drum was, presumably, thrown out of the vehicle, it leaked its contents on the road and grass verge and into drains.

Fortunately, the incident was quickly reported and Wyre council’s street team, under John Bettle, were soon on the spot retrieving the drums, spreading sand on the affected area to absorb the oil. The evidence is still visible.

For sheer stupidity and irresponsibility, this reckless fly-tipping takes some beating.

I offer £100 to anyone for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of this outrageous environmental crime.

Roger Brooks, Winmarleigh Parish councillor