Readers’ letters - January 5

A  public footpath sign in St Michaels points across a newly formed lake. See letters
A public footpath sign in St Michaels points across a newly formed lake. See letters
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Time for major re-think

The recent severe flooding disasters, in mainly the northern areas of the UK, can be partly attributed to a little remembered instruction, issued by the EU in approximately 2000, where all EU members were advised that it was no longer necessary to dredge river beds.

We in the UK, as always being active law-abiding citizens, took this instruction literally and that annual practice was subsequently dropped. So that, after nearly 15 years of raised river beds, these must inevitably be a substantial contributional cause of environmental flooding.(The previous year’s Somerset Levels flooding was also due to similar problems).

Of course other combined factors, such as the removal of adjacent trees and forests, have increased the run-off into rivers, and the lack of wildlife, such as beavers who naturally build river dams to slow down the speed of water flows, have no doubt all added to this problem.

No one is doubting there are, and will continue to be, unprecedented amounts of rainfall which is the root cause of this problem. This may be due to man’s intervention with burning fossil fuels, or not, depending on your viewpoint. The main point here is that these regularly practised natural solutions are considerably cheaper than the concrete defences, erected at great expense to provide protection to our towns and villages and which have lately proved to be totally inadequate.

More worrying is Chancellor Osbourne’s recent avowal for the government to provide a tremendous increase in new housing, (which will hopefully avoid flood plains) but local authorities’ planning departments must be properly consulted before anything is finalised.

The previously accepted design reasoning that major flooding only occurred once every 40 years is now proving to be wrong and therefore has worrying implications for the adequacy of our present storm and foul water drainage installations.

Also rising sea levels must be exercising the minds of the engineers who designed the Thames Barrier and its future adequacy to protect London from flooding.

It is obvious that the usual five year solutions proposed by each successive elected government are no longer acceptable and should be superseded by a permanent UK Environmental Organisation, well-funded and able to provide adequate solutions to these increasing future climatic problems. The question remains, will our present Government have sufficient ‘bottle’ to propose and fund such a permanent body beyond political manipulation?

E J Tilley, Chorley

EU worsening flooding issue

We all know about the recent devastating floods but not everyone is aware of some of the reasons behind them. These include the European Water Framework Directive, which came into UK law in 2000. This has meant that dredging has virtually halted.

While not banned, the circumstances in which it may be authorised are limited and involve a lengthy assessment process. Any sediment removed from the river bed, which may have been used to raise the river banks, is now classed as hazardous waste and must be disposed of. This restriction has had a devastating impact.

The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy has led to widespread chopping down of trees to meet farm subsidy requirements. But chopping down trees increases the risk of flooding as water sinks into the soil 67 times faster under trees than it does under grass.

The situation has also been aggravated by house building being allowed on flood plains.

The Environment Agency may consider that adequate protection is in place but the recent “unprecedented” floods may become the norm, meaning problems are being stored up for tomorrow.

The increasing need for more housing would not be such an issue but for uncontrolled immigration. So another problem created by our EU membership. The answer is simple – we leave the EU.

Paul Nuttall, UKIP North West MEP and deputy party leader

Mystery shirt bought for 50p

A mystery un-named Lancashire Amateur League football shirt – depicting the Red Rose emblem from 78 years ago – has been unearthed.

The collar, navy blue, sky blue and white striped shirt has the inscription LAL NS Second Division 1938-39 badge.

Following research, I’ve tracked down the shirt’s history.

The shirt belonged to a team from the Lancashire Amateur League, Northern Section, Second Division in the 1938-39 season – but which team?

The Lancashire Amateur League was formed in 1899, with just seven teams.

In the 1901-02 season, a reserve division of five clubs was formed.

Today the Lancashire Amateur League has 35 clubs, with 84 teams, in seven divisions.

The shirt was bought

at Preston boot market for 50p.

It may be of historical interest to the club it belonged to – nearly 80 years after it was worn, in the 1938-39 season.

Andrew Atkinson

Penwortham

Please bring our ‘Big Lamp’ back

It’s good to see how well the ‘Shared Space’ system on Market Street, Chorley, is now working.

One of the benefits of this is the removal of all signs, which were found to create confusion.

Now, without them, traffic and pedestrians carry on with greater care and no problems.

That is until reaching the traffic lights at the junction

with Pall Mall and on towards Asda!

At this point, the traffic once again descends into chaos.

The ridiculous angles of the junction, coupled with the proliferation of arrows on the roads and traffic lights, which never seem to be in phase with the volume of those trying to cross, cause utter confusion!

The roundabout, which was there before, never caused such problems.

Complete, of course, with the ‘Big Lamp’, always such an important feature of this

area.

Please can we have our roundabout and ‘Big Lamp’ back where they belong?

Happy New Year to all.

Graham Archer

Chorley