Readers’ letters - November 17

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Motorists, use some common sense

I’m a motorist and the one thing that annoys me more than anything is the driver in front who refuses to use his or her handbrake.

They sit with his or her right foot firmly clamped on the brake pedal.

You have to sit there and be sometimes dazzled with the intense brightness which some of these brake lights give out!

But what I find really strange is 99 per cent of motorists are either totally deluded or haven’t got one ounce of common sense and I will stick with the latter.

Because as you drive, there are miles upon miles of completely flat roads, but drive along, day or night, and 99 per cent of motorists will come to a stop at the many sets of traffic lights and just hold the car or van just using the foot brake!

But why I ask?

Because if the road is flat, the car or van will remain in a stationary position, which means it won’t roll backwards or forwards.

But it’s like the getting stuck in the middle lane of a motorway.

Motorists use their brakes to stop, but once stopped they can’t seem to be able to take their right foot of the brake pedal.

And they sit there in their own little world.

One day when I was driving, I passed a set of traffic lights and I counted 11 cars waiting for the lights to change and guess what?

Every one was holding the car in a stationary position, with their foot again just glued to the brake pedal.

Surely if the roads flat, then I can’t think of any reason why your foot needs to be anywhere near the brake pedal.

So come on you motorists, try and use a bit of common sense for once!

C Shirley

via email

ENERGY

Perils of burning fossil fuels

Re: No Such Thing As Clean Energy (LP Letters, November 9). I will explain at the outset that I am opposed to shale gas and in favour of renewable energy. I am a member of the Central Lancashire Friends of the Earth Group. The author of the letter, Lee Petts, is a steering group member of Lancashire for Shale and formerly the interim chief executive of the Onshore Energy Services Group.

I share his concern about the environmental standards across the world within the extraction industries. It should be a matter of grave concern to all of us. Each one of us relies on extraction of minerals in the less developed world to create our mobile phones and our computers… not forgetting the import of cheap clothing which relies in much the same way upon the exploitation of growers and workers.

Mr Petts concentrates his criticism upon the extraction industries related to renewable energy. He makes no mention however of the human and environmental cost of extracting oil and gas.

Mr Petts states that “all energy is dirty, destructive and disruptive” ….but then goes on to say, “ at least with shale gas, it is happening in a country with high standards of environmental protection and workplace safety”.

So, at least he concedes that shale gas is a dirty business. But please can we see the evidence of the high standards of environmental protection? The Environment Agency and Health and Safety departments are unlikely to have sufficient staff to safeguard fracking sites. Perhaps one single fracking site could be adequately covered… but the next 10, 20, 30, 40 and more fracking pads?

Research from the University of Stirling states: “The evidence from peer-reviewed papers suggests fracking in the UK will not be effectively regulated. It is likely regulatory agencies may lack the staffing and resources necessary to monitor and enforce effective regulation.” None of this has even begun to consider the disastrous effects on climate change if we continue to burn fossil fuels. Will the UK be better placed to deal with the effects? None of us can be sure. What we do know is, in the less developed world, the effects will be devastating. We hear that Fiji must spend an amount equivalent to its entire yearly GDP over the next 10 years to defend itself against rising seas. We cannot extract and burn any more fossil fuels if we are to have any hope of survival.

Dorothy Kelk

New Longton

nostalgia

Can you identify WW1 woman?

I am an independent researcher exploring the role of the Army Pay Services during the First World War.

Two large army pay offices were established at Preston, which employed thousands of staff, both military and civilian. Women were recruited as civilian temporary clerks and were supervised by female superintendents.

Both the Number 1 and Number 2 Army Pay offices at Preston administered the personal accounts of soldiers recruited into infantry regiments from the North West.

The Looking Back photos are an enlargement of a small section from group regimental photographs held in the Adjutant General’s Corps Museum at Winchester. The photograph represents the directing staff of the No 2 Army Pay Office, and the two lady superintendents are recognised as they are wearing hats (a badge of rank for civilian women holding superior rank). I am interested in identifying the black lady superintendent. She could be the wife of at least a middle ranking British Army officer. If anyone can identify others in the photograph, this too would be useful.

I am attempting to improve our history related to gender and ethnic origin in Britain during the First World War. I have already discovered that there was another black female superintendent employed at the Army Pay Office No 1 at Woolwich. I am writing a book on the Army Pay Services during the First World War and would like to trace this lady. Incidentally, the elderly colonel to the left of the photograph is Colonel F Hamley. He was born in New Zealand and lived as a boy in South Australia, his father being the general in charge of the British garrisons in Australia. He served as a paymaster for 35 years and was decorated for bravery during the Relief of Ladysmith in the Boer war of 1900.

Dr John Black

2 St Margaret’s Drive

Henleaze, BRISTOL BS9 4LW

Email: – drjohnblack@blueyonder.co.uk