Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 11, 2018

French Fishing Fleet Invasion

Who is in charge of UK fishing waters, apart from M Macron that is? Not the UK, that’s for sure.

A fishing expert claims a French fishing fleet has invaded British waters around Cornwall this morning. Ian Lott, who runs Maritime Media Services and advanced fleet monitoring services from Plymouth, said“I can see this turning into a conflict, the French fishing fleet has invaded our shorelines and British waters.

“The AIS satellite monitoring system has picked up more French boats than I’ve ever seen in Cornish waters . I woke up this morning, turned on my computer and couldn’t believe what I was seeing, all these French vessels have taken advantage of the bad weather overnight. They’ve been able to see that our fleet in Fowey, Falmouth, Mevagissey, and Plymouth are moored up because of high winds.”

Mr Lott, who said this was the worst ‘invasion’ he’d ever seen by what he thinks are bass fishermen, added “They knew there wouldn’t be any of our boats out there and so there wouldn’t be any confrontation. One or two tend to ‘run the line, slip in and out of our waters, but this is a nightmare situation.”

He had spoken to fishermen around Cornwall who “are not happy at all”. “We’re worried about our jobs now and the uncertainties around fishing in Brexit don’t help”. Mr Lott who tweeted a map showing eight French trawlers in Cornish waters, with a similar number approaching, added that he was “livid” at the flagrant disregard for the law.

“There will be a conflict,” he said. “This is now becoming a joke. Rubbing our noses in it.”Cornwall Live attempted to contact harbourmasters in Fowey where one French boat is offshore as well as in Falmouth and Penzance to no avail. Falmouth Coastguards said they hadn’t received reports of trouble or incidents. In September French trawlers were accused of fuelling a sudden rise in hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage to Cornish fishing gear.

The Government will table an amendment to the Fisheries Bill which will enshrine its commitment to secure a fairer share of fishing opportunities for UK fishermen. The amendment would place a legal obligation on the Secretary of State, when negotiating a fisheries agreement with the EU, to pursue a fairer share of fishing opportunities than the UK currently receives under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) .

This would overhaul the current system where UK fishermen have received a poor deal that is based on fishing patterns from the 1970s. On average between 2012 and 2016 other EU Member States’ vessels landed in the region of 760,000 tonnes of fish (£540 million revenue) annually caught in UK waters; whereas UK vessels  landed approximately 90,000 tonnes of fish (£110 million revenue) caught in other Member States’ waters per year in the same time period.

As well as strengthening the law, the Environment Secretary announced £37.2 million of extra funding to boost the UK fishing industry during the Implementation Period.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 11, 2018

Skelmersdale Rail Station?

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper  has finally received some projected dates for the Skelmersdale Rail Station project, which residents have been waiting for, for many years. Concerned by the continued silence over the project, MP Rosie contacted West Lancashire Borough Council, Lancashire County Council and Merseytravel, who are all involved in the project.

It has been clearly set out by the authorities that the feasibility study will be completed by mid-2019. Should this prove acceptable then Network Rail will move to a detailed design stage which will run through to late 2021/22 with the potential to start construction between 2022 and 2023 and with a train service possibly coming into operation by late 2023/24.

While completion is still some years off, it is clear that progress is being made in the right direction towards delivery of a train station for Skelmersdale . “Residents have waited decades for adequate transport links and I have been campaigning for a train station for Skelmersdale since being elected here in 2005.

“This latest correspondence confirms that the agencies involved have a clear timeline to follow in order to deliver this major project. However, the project will only proceed to the final development stages if funding is made available by the Secretary of State for Transport.

“I will continue to lobby the Department for Transport and this Secretary of State or the next, to ensure they prioritise Skelmersdale Railway as a significant infrastructure project deserving of DfT investment.

“Having launched the campaign for a railway station with local residents when we were standing collecting signatures on petitions in the shopping centre of a weekend to demonstrate the support for this scheme, to speaking in Parliament on the subject and taking every opportunity to press the transformation a railway station would bring to Skelmersdale, we have come a long way in our aim of securing a railway station in the town.

“I have consistently said that a railway station in the heart of Skelmersdale will open up a world of economic and social opportunities for the town and its residents”.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 11, 2018

Brexit And The Valerie Vaz MP Version Of Democracy

During my lifetime I have generally been under the impression that my country was a democracy, a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. It is, I thought, a system of parliamentary democracy, and included the rule of law, respect and tolerance, and individual liberty. My faith in it was seriously damaged by Edward Heath.

In enacting the European Communities Bill through an ordinary vote in the House of Commons , Heath’s Government breached the constitutional convention which requires a prior consultation of the people (either by a general election or a referendum) on any measure involving constitutional change. The general election or referendum must take place before any related parliamentary debate. (Britain has no straightforward written constitution. But, the signing of the Common Market entrance documents was, without a doubt, a breach of the spirit of our constitution).

Just weeks before the 1970 general election which made him Prime Minister, Heath declared that it would be wrong if any Government contemplating membership of the European Community were to take this step without “the full hearted consent of Parliament and people”.

However, when it came to it Heath didn’t have a referendum because opinion polls at the time (1972) showed that the British people were hugely opposed (by a margin of two to one) against joining the Common Market. Instead, Heath merely signed the documents that took us into what became the European Union on the basis that Parliament alone had passed the European Communities Bill of 1972.

In 1972, when Heath decided to take Britain into the Common Market, he used Parliament’s legal sovereignty to deny and permanently limit the political sovereignty of the electorate. Heath and Parliament changed the basic rules and they did not have the right (legal or moral) to do that. The 1972 European Communities Bill wasn’t just another Act of Parliament. Heath’s Bill used Parliament’s legal sovereignty, and status as representative of the electorate, to deny the fundamental rights of the electorate.

Heath told the electorate that signing the Treaty of Rome  would lead to no essential loss of National Sovereignty but later admitted that this was a lie. Astonishingly, Heath said he lied because he knew that the British would not approve of him signing the Treaty if they knew the truth. Heath told voters that the EEC was merely a free trade association. But he was lying through his teeth. He knew that the original members of the EEC had a long-standing commitment to political union and the step by step creation of a European superstate.

My recollection, confirmed by official records, was that Heath received a substantial financial reward for taking Britain into the EU when he was Prime Minister. The reward of £35,000, paid personally to Heath and at the time a substantial sum of money, was handed over to him (in the guise of The Charlemagne Prize) for signing the Treaty of Rome.

As we all know, the UK is divided into constituencies. During an election everyone eligible to cast a vote in a constituency selects one candidate to be their MP. The candidate who gets the most votes becomes the MP for that area until the next election. A referendum is a vote on a single issue. We make one choice between 2 options. Votes are counted for the whole of the UK, not by constituency.

Vaz , the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, campaigned to remain in the European Union, voted for Article 50, and spoke last evening, saying “The public will look at the behaviour of the Government and how they treat their democratically elected representatives and despair, the Government are [is] denying the vote because they are going to lose”.

The irony of Vaz and her concern for her fellow “democratically elected representatives” while blandly ignoring the same democratic rights of 17,410,742 electors in a turnout of 72.2% now being opposed says it all.

And to round it all off, as reported, “The chamber was also treated to this astute observation from veteran left-winger Dennis Skinner yesterday afternoon “Does the Prime Minister realise that she has handed over power not to people in this House, but to the people she is going to negotiate with over there in Europe? She looks very weak, and she is. They want to be able to demonstrate their power to every other country that might be thinking about getting out of the EU, and she has handed them that power by demonstrating what Britain is doing. The British Prime Minister does not know whether she is on this earth or Fuller’s because of the actions she has taken. Mrs Thatcher had a word for what she has done today. F-R-I-T — she’s frit ..”

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 9, 2018

SPIDs And Dragons Teeth In Aughton?

The assiduous and tenacious five year campaign by residents, and particularly Colin Draper, of Long Lane in Aughton to insist on traffic speed controls on what is now known as “Wacky Races Lane” appears to be on the cusp of bearing fruit. Aughton Parish Council  minutes “Provision of Speed Indicator Devices (SPIDs) to confirm the Working Group Meeting had been held on Wednesday, 18 July 2018 to report on the bid for partnership funding towards the provision of Solar Powered Speed Indicator Devices.

“The successful bid was NOTED, ie £6,000, percentage grant rate 50% (£3,000 APC £3,000 WLBC) and it was AGREED to approve the Capital Grant Agreement (document executed as a deed) to be signed by the Clerk/Proper Officer. ii) to consider a Working Group. It was AGREED to set up a Working Group to consider the most appropriate locations for the Speed Indicator Devices (SPIDs), liaison with Lancashire County Council Highways, arrange site visits, etc. Additionally, consideration would be given to the use of CIL monies for SPIDs if the location(s) met the specific criteria”.

As we all know, the Aughton Parish Council likes its treasure chest containing public precepts [March 2018 £117,857] and CIL income [£7,356 + £13,642.51 (development on land at Aughton Chase, Springfield Road)] to be kept locked tight!

But now Colin Draper has been told by LCC “Further to your telephone call from earlier this week regarding the provision of SPID signs in Aughton please find as promised an update of where this project is up to.

“The locations put forward by Aughton Parish Council (APC) were assessed earlier this week and the parish council has been informed of the approved locations for the installation of a moveable SPID sign. A location has also been approved for a permanent sign at the 30mph gateway on Long Lane. We will look to progress this project as soon as we can when we have heard back from the parish council. In addition we (LCC) also have funding available to install additional road markings at the 30mph gateway on Long Lane, namely a 30mph road roundel and dragons teeth , to bring this site in line with the road markings at other 30mph gateways in Aughton”.

How many SPIDs? Locals have memories of the APC suggesting we would have a permanent SPID on Long Lane and we could have three more SPIDs for moving around Aughton. Depends on that locked chest pouring out the cash that road safety in Aughton demands!

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 9, 2018

No Local Plan Benefits For Skem?

Tanhouse Labour Cllr Ron Cooper is “spending more energy in playing party politics than he does in setting out the benefits of the Local Plan for his constituents, according to a “New Skelmersdale Resident” in Champion Letters .

“It’s because there are none…as it appears the “Proposed Garden Villages” will deliver executive homes and Labour will line the pockets of developers, [which used to be the job of the Tories] at the expense of the rural landscape that all can enjoy”.

So NSR “encourages Cllr Cooper to explain to his electorate how the Local Plan will directly benefit Skelmersdale residents. NSR mentions Lidl and B&M stores, and the prophecy of a new railway station. But it certainly won’t benefit from more than 7,000 extra houses on its doorstep and only the prospect of a warehouse job to provide a living wage. That is what his, Cllr Cooper’s, council is offering the people of Tanhouse and Skelmersdale”.

Elsewhere the claim of the Local Plan contributing nothing to the regeneration of Skelmersdale is offered in a long letter to the Champion . Chris Dixon of Lathom is scathing of plans that will increase housing by 35% against a forecast of 6% needed, by the Office of National Statistics. The plan would build 6,000 houses in green belt land between Skelmersdale and Ormskirk in an area that does not have the infrastructure to support them. As Chris Dixon writes “Come on the people of Skelmersdale, demand of your councillors the developments which will contribute to the regeneration of Skelmersdale and the provision of affordable housing in the town”.

 

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 9, 2018

Should Older People Be Switched Off?

Save Free TV for Older People. For over a million of our oldest citizens the TV is their constant companion and window on the world. And now it’s under threat, as a campaign by the  shows.

The BBC, you know them as the Brexit Bashing Clowns, the Trustees nobody trusts with public money, is considering removing free TV licences from the over-75s. But, to be fair to the BBC, oh, go on then, this is really the Government’s doing. They have pushed the scheme onto the BBC without asking any of us what we think or providing the funding to sustain it.

The BBC is rife with extravagance. For many years the free TV licence has been part of the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) remit, and quite rightly has been seen as part of government’s wider welfare role in tackling social isolation among the older generation.

Successive governments have avoided improving the state pension, and instead have offered older people individual concessions, such as the free TV licence for the over 75s. According to the OECD, the UK state pension is the least adequate in the developed world. Removing this concession, without addressing the value of the state pension is therefore grossly unfair.
In any democracy, access to information is crucial to enable citizens the opportunity to be informed and make decisions.

Loneliness among older people is now regarded as a growing problem. 1 in 4 pensioners view the TV as their main form of companionship. The provision of such a concession should therefore be seen as playing a vital role in tackling this problem. However, the BBC has no such obligation or responsibility to tackle such issues. This is the responsibility of government.

As such, the concession is clearly funded from general taxation by society as a whole. This correctly reflects the obligations that we all have – including tax paying pensioners – to make a contribution towards benefits and services which we deem to be worthy.

Around 6.5m older people have an income of less than £11,800 a year. The TV licence – as a proportion of income, therefore represents quite a considerable amount, and I have no doubt that if the concession were to be removed, many would simply be unable to pay. Means-testing a benefit costs ten times as much as is being paid universally, and experience shows that those who need it most, tend to be the ones who don’t claim.

The BBC also needs to look at its other areas of expenditure, such as the salaries paid to some of its top employees and on screen talent! before it makes a decision to cut this concession.

We want you to participate. The consultation document from the BBC is now live and will last for 12 weeks. However, the document does not include in its options for the current scheme to remain – it only gives a range of alternatives that mean pensioners will pay something towards their licence fee.

The NPC have joined together with Age UK  and 9 other older people’s organisations in a campaign to restore the responsibility for the free TV licence back to the government. It should never have been given to the BBC in the first place.

The BBC should be copying the current concession. Copying the current concession means that all households with someone over 75 would get a free TV licence. But to allow for the cost of this, we believe the BBC would have to make a large number of cuts to current programmes and services. Not to mention the huge salaries that make auto-cue news and events reading “personalities” rich. Or the ex sports personalities, the massive teams sent out to big events around the world, the huge expense claims by Trustees.

The BBC should be sold off if it can’t live within its means. Let it compete with ITV and others.

Readers can help. It’s very easy, all you need to do is click this link – http://www.ageuk.org.uk/tvpetition – and follow the steps. Thank you.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 7, 2018

Misuse Of Party Funds? Surely Not!

On Tuesday, on Conservative Home it was reported that Conservative activists across the country are flatly refusing to deliver the CCHQ-supplied stock of leaflets and postcards aimed at encouraging voters to lobby Tory MPs in favour of the Prime Minister’s EU deal, on grounds of concern at the harm done by attempts to deploy the Party’s resources on an issue where the majority of members are at odds with the leadership.

It seems that a letter, signed by 32 senior Conservative activists, which urges an “immediate” end to what it terms “this misuse of Party funds” in support of “what amounts to a propaganda campaign to get MPs to back the proposed deal”. The letter is addressed to Andrew Sharpe, the Chairman of the National Conservative Convention – the representative body of the voluntary Conservative Party, which will hold its next meeting tomorrow.

Echoing the site’s warning that the current approach threatens to undermine fundraising efforts and harm grassroots morale, the letter reminds Sharpe that “We know that you understand how vital party funds are. Every quiz, every lunch, every race night brings precious contributions which members are happy to give to help our Party succeed in elections. These funds should not be used on divisive issues where the majority of members strongly object to a flawed agenda”.

The list of signatories includes 29 Conservative Association chairmen, and features officers elected by grassroots members in constituencies across the country. Among those who have put their names to it are the chairman of the Croydon Federation, encompassing the former constituency of Gavin Barwell, currently the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, and the chairmen of several target and marginal seats, including Carlisle, City of Chester, Peterborough, Halifax and Workington.

It is very unusual for senior activists such as Association chairmen to take such a step, and the presence of these 32 names on the below letter hints at a much wider level of discontent among the rank and file of the voluntary Party. Such concern among those charged with leading the front line effort to defend and gain crucial seats at the next election ought to ring alarm bells at CCHQ.

Here is the full text of the letter “Dear Andrew, we are appalled that Associations have recently been receiving promotional literature for distribution to members of the public urging them to lobby MPs to back the Prime Minister’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. You will be well aware how controversial this proposed agreement is. Polls show Conservative MPs, Party members and the British public strongly opposed.

“Many people are concerned that the UK will pay £39 billion without any legally binding guarantees that a UK/EU trade deal will be secured. Trade deals with global partners will extremely difficult if not impossible to negotiate.

“Under the backstop, the UK will be unable to leave the customs union without EU agreement and will be forced to accept EU laws and regulations over which we will have no say, and which may not be in our best interests. This ‘backstop’ arrangement will be used as leverage to extract a future trade deal that benefits the EU not the UK, with the EU27 able to utilise their vetoes to extract more and more concessions.

“These concessions are likely to involve key areas such as access to our coastal waters and fishing quotas, Gibraltar and immigration. We will effectively be held to ransom. Given these widespread concerns I am sure you understand why it is questionable at best that Party Members’ funds are now being used to front what amounts to a propaganda campaign to get MPs to back the proposed deal.

“We know that you understand how vital party funds are. Every quiz, every lunch, every race night brings precious contributions which members are happy to give to help our Party succeed in elections. These funds should not be used on divisive issues where the majority of members strongly object to a flawed agenda.

“Whether we voted Leave or Remain, or agree with the Prime Minister’s deal or disagree, never should Party funds or Party-funded CCHQ staff be used to lobby against our duly elected Members of Parliament.

“We urge you to make representations at the highest level to convey members concern at this misuse of Party funds and to ensure this activity is stopped with immediate effect and that there will be no future repetition”.
Yours sincerely,

Includes locals Rob Bailey – Chairman of City of Chester Conservative Association [Former West Lancashire Cllr]; Harry Bliss – President of Southport Conservative Association; Cllr Susie Charles – Chairman of Lancaster and Fleetwood Conservative Association

Where’s Wally ? No West Lancashire Conservative Association input? Letter not signed? No concern over local funds being misused? Perhaps they haven’t got any? Time to have fish and chips again at Briars Hall!

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 7, 2018

Dear John In West Lancs, We Love Your Land, From Stuart In Sefton

We stumbled upon this letter, below, dated 12th December 2017, and it follows the post 2030 Sefton Plan period. The letter mentions they have sufficient green and brownfield land in their published Local Plan inclusive and beyond 2030, but then almost out of the blue they don’t think they have any after the 15 year period and are discussing this in a meeting with WLBC a couple of months after their local plan is adopted and implemented. 

“Dear John [Harrison]

“West Lancashire Local Plan Review

“Thank you for the note of the meeting and for coming over to Sefton to discuss our concerns with you in July. I would like to apologise for our delay in getting back to you with our formal comments. We have now had the opportunity to discuss our thoughts with our Cabinet Member.

“Further to Sefton’s comments on the Issues and Options paper, I would reiterate that in the post 2030 period covered by the recently adopted Sefton Local Plan, there is likely to be a need for West Lancashire BC to meet a considerable proportion of Sefton’s future housing and employment needs. To quote the Local Plan Inspector, “the [Local Plan] examination has identified tensions relating to Southport’s development needs which may have cross-boundary implications going forward” (paragraph 16). However, it is not only Southport that may not be able to meet its future needs in the longer term – Formby and Maghull/Lydiate are already developed close to the West Lancashire boundary, whilst Bootle has no Green Belt or other undeveloped into which to expand. So, it is possible that we will be looking for West Lancashire to meet more of Sefton’s employment and housing needs in the future.

“Without any assessment of what this might be, we can only continue to project our housing needs forward form the Local Plan, which takes account of the most recent (2014-base household projections). This would give a requirement of about 576 dwellings a year (Local Plan Inspector’s OAN) – 594 (SHELMA OAN), of which potentially at least 50% would have to be located in the Green Belt in Sefton or West Lancashire.

“The issue of where any unmet need should be located is difficult. Ideally, this should be located as close as possible to the areas in Sefton where the need arises, particularly in the case of affordable housing. A robust assessment of potentially suitable land close to the Sefton boundary would be needed, as we remain of the view that our needs should be met as close as possible to where they arise. Furthermore, if it were to be the case that any future unmet Sefton housing need could be met in West Lancashire, it would need to be transparently demonstrated how this could be accommodated. Simply allocating sites generally in West Lancashire, without demonstrating exactly how they could accommodate such unmet need, would not be sufficient and would not pass any test of local plan soundness in our view.

“For future employment needs, this is much more difficult to calculate, but it is probable that as our brownfield supply is already included in the period to 2030, any future provision to meet both local needs and a need for strategic B8 logistics uses that may arise through the SHELMA would have to be developed on land currently in the Green Belt, and potentially in West Lancashire. As the SHELMA does not calculate requirements in the same way as the Local Plan, it is difficult to estimate what our future need might be, although our current Local Plan is based on an employment land OAN, excluding any port-related needs, of about 78ha.

“With regard to accommodating port related logistics need, this has to be looked at on a sub-regional basis, and will need to be informed by the final SHELMA study (and any future sub regional commissioned work on accommodating any unmet sub regional need/demand).

“I appreciate that no work has been carried out yet on infrastructure improvements related to future development in West Lancashire. Given the proposed Local Plan Review’s end date of 2050, we would urge West Lancashire BC to consider seeking the reinstatement of the Burscough Curves  to improve the accessibility of Southport to Ormskirk and the national rail network, and also commission a study that assesses the impact of future development in West Lancashire on Sefton’s roads, notably links into eastern Southport, and along the A59 corridor, which are already operating at over capacity.

“Contributions will be required from any development in West Lancashire to support and expand physical, social and environmental infrastructure in Sefton. [Well, that will  be a bloody miracle!] The method for achieving this will need to formalised and agreed. I hope this is of assistance”.

Yours sincerely

Stuart Barnes

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 7, 2018

WLBC Job Opportunity Procurement Executive Salary £41,846 to £44,697

An exciting job [WLBC jobs are always exciting] opportunity arose on 22nd November to undertake a lead role with West Lancashire Borough Council  as Procurement Executive. The Council is ambitious for our Economy and Environment and the Health and Wellbeing of local people and we strive to deliver the best possible services for all our residents and stakeholders, other than the Beacon Park Golf Club Senior members!

West Lancashire has a diverse economy with market towns, small villages and thriving commercial areas nestled alongside rural countryside [but WLBC policy is for there to be much less rural countryside]. The Borough offers a wide contrast between open farmland [but WLBC policy is for there to be less farmland] and small picturesque villages together with the larger vibrant market towns of Burscough and Ormskirk. Our largest town Skelmersdale is a hive of urban activity with a number of thriving employment estates, busy shopping centres and exciting plans for the Town Centre.

As an experienced procurement expert, with degree level qualifications and a relevant professional qualification, you will lead the development of the Council’s approach to procurement and provide sound advice on contract and procurement matters. You will be the key contact on legislation and best practice and conduct complex procurement exercises. Excellent drafting skills and the ability to prepare specifications and contract documents are essential. You will also have excellent negotiation and communication skills. This is a crucial senior role, operating corporately within the Council. It will involve liaison at all levels within the Council and with external organisations.

Apply by midnight 10 December.

Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 6, 2018

Don’t Believe All, Or Much, Of What You Are Told

Whatever happened to Burscough’s New Lane Wastewater Treatment Works? A Report by Burscough Flooding Group.

“New Lane Wastewater Treatment Works was the only significant infrastructure project promised for Burscough during the 2012 local plan consultation and it was significant because it could have reduced Burscough’s current sewer flooding problems  and prevented them increasing further due to the massive amount of housing being built in Burscough.

“Perversely the Council (WLBC) cited Burscough’s flooding problems as a positive for development in the 2012 Local Plan and some Councillors promoted the massive Yew Tree Farm (YTF) site by saying things like, “it was essential that YTF is built to trigger funding to fix the flooding problems in Burscough”.

“Because of the public’s concern about flooding  the Borough Solicitor wrote to Burscough Action Group (BAG) stating that building would only take place once existing problems with infrastructure were resolved and this same message was widely advertised to the public by WLBC (at taxpayers’ expense).

“United Utilities (UU) who work in partnership with WLBC, appeared to be equally concerned for residents welfare and the 2012 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) contained the following information about Burscough, “UU are aware of the situation regarding surface water flooding issues and are currently reviewing their assets in the Borough in order to identify possible future funding requirements. Given this [Yew Tree Farm] site is a strategic development site this presents an opportunity to address the issue of surface water flooding on the entire site, the adjacent industrial area and possibly areas in the rest of the settlement by alleviating pressures within the drainage system in general.”

“During the 2012 Local Plan examination in public, UU presented a clear message to the planning inspector that they would get funding in 2015 to enlarge or replace the treatment works. In 2015 UU failed to get funding.

UU’s concern about Burscough flooding problems  continued and in March 2018 its email to Burscough Parish Council (BPC) contained, the following, “there is a bottleneck in the system as the sewer narrows beneath the railway line [at New Lane]. During intense rainfall the combined sewer network is unable to move the foul and surface water runoff through the network quickly enough leading to flooding of both surface and foul water. (UU email to BPC Burscough neighbourhood plan 23/3/2018).

“Unfortunately, in April 2018 UU stopped caring about Burscough’s flooding problems and emailed BPC with the bad news, “it was determined that the historical values obtained were skewed by missing data and by the inclusion, double counting, of return flows related to the carrier water for the Kalic dosing arrangement. The double counted return flows have been measured at 856 m3/d. Disregarding skewed data and adjusting to exclude double counted flows the works flow. . . In summary, there is sufficient headroom (capacity) to meet future development needs.” (UU email to BPC Burscough neighbourhood planning 17/4/2018).

“In 2018 UU personally let the public know that it doesn’t care anymore,  by saying, “Our previous calculations contained an error and the Treatment Works has no capacity issues.” (paraphrase of UU’s comments to the public June 5th 2018 UU at Briars Hall Lathom).

“Unfortunately for residents, despite UU’s calculations, Burscough has continued to suffer from widespread sewer flooding in storms. The New Lane Treatment Works has flooding problems going back at least twenty years; because the sewage pumping station feeding the treatment works has flooded the main road, the rail crossing risking derailment of trains and nearby acres of farmland. A local resident said that a farmer built the current dyke running alongside the footpath to try and direct the flow of sewage away from farmland and that UU have now bolted down the manholes fitted between the SPS and the WWTW (presumably to reduce the risk of a derailment).

“So, there we have it, despite the false promises of Councillors and UU, the total spending on Burscough waste water infrastructure from 2012 to 2018 was £25. Made up of eight M10 bolts at £20, one pair of rubber gloves £4 and one bottle of bleach £1.

“Gavin Rattray – Secretary Burscough Flooding Group. PS, I made all of the last paragraph up but couldn’t make the rest up!”

So, do you really believe all you are told by UU and WLBC, or some, or bugger all, like me!

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