Galgate flooding, plastic at fracking protests, angry drivers, nuclear industry vulnerability, great work of volunteers, cost of green waste collections and chipping cats

Photo Neil Cross'The floods at Galgate'Workmen clear drains
Photo Neil Cross'The floods at Galgate'Workmen clear drains

Readers’ letters, June 21

To say the city council has paid scant regard to the problems of Galgate is too polite. Ellel Parish Council has pointed out many times that expansion of Lancaster University and house building exacerbate both traffic problems, and the risks of serious flooding.

We understand that Lancashire County Council has been awarded a sum to investigate drainage issues in this and other parts of the district.

This shows, if proof were needed, that there is a recognised problem (even if planners had missed the widespread publicity about those driven from their homes last November, and in previous years).

It has taken all these years, and a change in the political control, for such an obvious measure to take place.

A fairly perfunctory knowledge of local geography tells us that water falling to the east of this village meets a very effective dam, the embanked West Coast Mainline.

This dam is breached in only two places – the watercourses of Condor/Whitley Beck in the centre of Galgate, and Ou Beck to the north.

Both were involved in the destruction and damage of last November.

The water table where Ou Beck passes under the culvert to Shearset Bridge is high even in dry periods.

The conversion of Leach House Farm to residences showed this; septic tanks could not be used to dispose of domestic sewage.

So it is now proposed (article in Lancaster Guardian) to increase the flow by run-off from the Health Campus.

I remember when Ou Beck used to flood, threatening Meadowpark (the estate west of Galgate), neither Lancaster City, Lancashire County Council or Environment Agency would help; it was left to the parish council to use their precept to sort the problems out.

Michael Helm, Hampson Lane, Lancaster

Plastic

A reader expressed concern about a string of 183 empty two litre plastic milk bottles that had been tied to the hedge outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site on Preston New Road. The reader’s concern was understandable.

People are becoming increasingly unhappy about the proliferation of plastic on the planet, choking the oceans and countryside, killing fish and animals and getting into the food chain.

However, it is difficult to attach detailed explanations to a hedge, and so it was not obvious to passers-by about the point being made, namely the strong link between fracking and plastics.

Around 183 plastic milk bottles are used by an average family each year, as these have largely replaced glass.

And 99pc of plastics are made from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels. Many fossil fuel companies own plastic-producing enterprises such as Exxon.

The shale gas boom in the USA a few years ago also led to a massive increase in plastics production.

It has been estimated that an increase in shale gas in other parts of the world, such as the UK, will also increase plastic production by around one third. At the same time as we are all are becoming aware of the damaging effects of plastics and are attempting to reduce their use, our government is forcing us along the road of producing shale gas, one of whose effects is to vastly increase the use of plastics.

That’s the point that the people exhibiting the plastic bottles outside the fracking site were trying to make. I hope this clears up the misunderstanding.

Celia Briar, email address supplied

Driving

This is to the two angry motorists who would not let me cross the road at the Asda roundabout on a recent Sunday.

One was a woman who was waving her hands wildly. I couldn’t see properly as the sun was shining on the windscreen.

The other was a male driver who kept repeatedly pipping his horn. It would not have taken a moment to let me pass. I know I shouldn’t cross the road when there is no crossing, but there isn’t one.

It’s impossible to cross the roads in this area when you are a walker.

I must say that most drivers are wonderful and always let people cross the road. Thank you to them.

Mrs D Graham, Grosvenor Park, Morecambe

nuclear industry

News that parts of the Barrow shipyard and nearby businesses were evacuated by the police for several hours on Tuesday while multiple emergency service vehicles swarmed into the area, in response to a bomb scare, reminds us, yet again, that the presence of nuclear weapons systems manufacture poses extremely grave dangers to our part of the country.

Thankfully, on this occasion, there was no bomb, but that does not alter the fact that nuclear facilities of all kinds present very obvious high risk targets for terrorists of all kinds, and that the results of an explosion involving nuclear material would be catastrophic. We would all be a lot safer if such nuclear targets did not exist.

Philip Gilligan, Cumbria and Lancashire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Rose Hill Grove, Milnthorpe

Volunteers

As chairman of St John County Priory Group for Lancashire, I would like to seize the opportunity following the recent Volunteers Week to thank all of our St John Ambulance volunteers who work tirelessly in local communities, supporting patients and their families through some of their hardest and most vulnerable times. Across the country, the volunteers of our charity give close to 1m hours every year to support the public at events. That’s more than 100 years’ worth of hours given humbly and without expectation of praise.

Many of your readers will, I am certain, have good reason to join me in thanking our volunteers for their medical care. Some will undoubtedly owe their lives to the skills of these everyday heroes.

In addition to our frontline first aid provision, St John’s impact would not be possible without all the teams whose work happens quietly in the background, away from the spotlight.

I would like to take this moment to celebrate those volunteers in support roles across our whole organisation for making it all possible.

I am also grateful to our young people and their leaders, plus other volunteers such as advocates and first responders, along with the teams of managers.

Thank you for all that you do; for your family spirit, kindness and dedication, and for representing the values that have been the very foundation of St John throughout all its distinguished 900 years of history.

My thanks are not just for Volunteers week- but for every week.

Brigadier Iain Robertson OBE, CStJ, TD, DL, chairman, Lancashire St John Priory Group

Green waste collections

As a matter of interest for all gardeners currently paying for their green bin it would appear that Lancaster City Council is one of the few councils in the country to tax the green bin.

Recently, when on holiday, I spoke to many people that I came into contact with about their collections of garden waste.

To name a few: York, Leeds, Southampton, Cheshire, Birkenhead, Kendal, Shrewsbury and Preston do not pay an additional tax.

If some councils can manage to budget accordingly you think Lancaster would.

A Labour council which opposed the original poll tax years ago now think it is okay to tax bins.

Maybe those responsible who voted it in will step down at the next election.

This, hopefully, will then let someone run the council without taxing people unnecessarily. Myself, I am not paying on principle and go to the tip. Again not all people with a green bin can do this and rely on a collection, which they are currently paying an extra contribution for.

T O’Neill, Norton Road, Heysham

Chipping cats

This Microchipping Month, Cats Protection would like to encourage people to get their cats microchipped.

Microchipping cats increases the chances of a reunion because it is a permanent and safe form of identification. Once microchipped, it is important to keep the chip details up to date.

Cats Protection reunited 3,000 cats and kittens in 2017 through our national network of more than 250 volunteer-run branches and 34 adoption.

With a stray cat a key thing to help decide whether a cat needs help is checking for a collar if the cat is approachable.

If there are no signs of ownership, we strongly urge people to take the cat to a local vet to be scanned for a microchip. People can also ask neighbours if they recognise the cat.

Mark Beazley, Cats Protection’s, Director of Operations