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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Campers pitch their support for village’s wind turbine proposal

SIR – I would like to respond to the letter, about the proposed erection of a wind turbine in Drigg (The Whitehaven News, April 5).

We have just returned from our third visit to the Shepherds’ Farm campsite. The Shepherds were open and showed us the proposed site. I don’t think it will impair the view, for the local residents and many wind turbines are visible from the National Park.

Wind turbines have the benefit of converting 40 per cent renewable energy into electricity. We are all aware that fossil fuels won’t last forever, and therefore, we have to make provision for the future before it is too late.

The person, who wrote last week, was also concerned about the effect on local tourism and had, apparently, asked the views of many visitors. Having spent a week in the area we frequently used local shops, pubs etc and spent time walking in the local area and never once encountered anyone seeking the opinion of visitors.

I would say that the campsite itself allowing 79 camping units and three holiday cottages boosts the immediate local economy, particularly in the height of the season.

I don’t believe that a wind turbine is going to deter people from coming to the area. I have yet to see on any cottage or campsite website, a filter to deselect properties in the vicinity of a wind turbine.

People may say that the wind turbine does not worry us, because we don’t live in the area, but it is quite the opposite. It is an area we like to visit and therefore, we want it to stay an area of beauty.

I understand that the Low Level Waste repository has just opened Vault 9, offering a further 100,000 cubic metres of waste capacity, with a rolling programme to increase future capacity. I would propose that if people are not already deterred from visiting the area, by the LLWR and Sellafield, then a wind turbine won’t put them off either. It will certainly not stop us, or many other people who would like to escape urban life, from returning.

J. BRADLEY

York

SIR – I would like it to be known that the letter written and printed in the April 5 issue of The Whitehaven News with regards to the wind turbine at Drigg, was not written by Mrs Pamela Lawson, High Boonwood, Gosforth.

It is neither professional nor businesslike to write a letter and sign someone else’s name. I am confused as to why anyone would have an opinion and not stand by it by using their own name.

I can only conclude it is nothing but cowardly!

Mrs P LAWSON

High Boonwood

Gosforth, Seascale

SIR – I refer to the two letters in last week’s Whitehaven News about the litter on St Bees beach.

The winter storms bring a large amount of debris ashore, and for this reason litter picking of the tideline and the grassed area fronting the caravan site do not normally start too early in the season, because the work can be undone by a late storm. However, this year the burst of unseasonable sunshine and summer temperatures brought large numbers of visitors to the beach much earlier than normal.

The St Bees Parish Beach Regeneration Committee was aware of the problem and actions were being planned in co-ordination with Copeland Council. Before the bank holiday weekend, Copeland Council cleared its grassed area fronting the caravan site and along the tide line within the groynes, and a small group of volunteers cleared the Rottington beck area and the tide line to the north.

Copeland Council disposed of all the rubbish and our thanks go to both them and the parish volunteers in getting those areas tidy for Easter.

St Bees Parish Council has historically co-ordinated various groups of sponsored litter pickers, in order to prevent duplication and to direct them to the areas needing attention (this includes the whole beach from Seacote to Seamill), and these groups have done a splendid job for many years. However enquiries from such groups seem to have dropped off. Likewise, the parish council has organised its own beach-cleaning parties, but it has been difficult to get volunteers recently.

We do need the help of the public in this. Groups wishing to undertake their own beach clean, or individuals who want to take part in a parish council organised beach clean, are urged to get in touch with the parish clerk (01946 822560 or pc_clerk@stbees.org.uk) or give their name and contact details to any parish councillor (see http://www.stbees.org.uk/council/councillors/index.htm). These will be passed to our beach cleaning co-ordinator.

It is quite right for your correspondents to point out that these areas should have been cleaned before large numbers of visitors arrive, and we will be ready for any March heatwave next year! But this is only the start; because of the large number of beach users, sadly, littering continues through the season. Beach users are responsible for their own litter and we would ask that they minimise the clean up task by disposing of it appropriately.

It may be of interest for beach users to note that St Bees Parish Council is working with Copeland Council in looking at ways of improving the beach area, and any comments or suggestions from the public are welcome – again to the contact details above.

Doug SIM

Chair, St Bees Beach Regeneration Committee

SIR – Sellafield has commenced the installation of new security fences to safeguard West Cumbria from the ever growing terrorist threat. It will soon resemble Alcatraz.

We also now have the guarding of the gates managed by Mitie as opposed to the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. It has to be said that this is far more professional and they actually take the time to check the pass photograph with the face as opposed to the CNC’s preference to inspect from 20yards. All are welcome improvements.

However, as a Sellafield worker, it is bemusing to identify that the number of vehicles entering through the gates has barely been reduced. For each car that passes through the gates it is a security risk to the whole of West Cumbria.

Sellafield Directorate claims to have reviewed the issuing of the Single Vehicle Passes (SoVAs)to resrict the number of personnel able to access as a single driver. You cannot get a parking place on the Sellafield Site and at the last count there were 4,000 cars accessing the site daily. That is 4,000 risks too many!

Sellafield could build as many fences as it wishes, it could build the Great Wall of China, yet allow 4,000 cars to drive through the gates? Come on Sellafield, keep the site and West Cumbria safe by at least removing single occupancy drivers or better still all vehicles.

Grow a backbone for once and address the real issues before it is too late.

Name and address supplied

A SPOKESMAN replies: Sellafield Ltd keeps security arrangements under continuous review to ensure existing arrangements are robust and effective now and in the future.

“We are currently making some changes to our security arrangements, which include physical security along with operational changes. These changes demonstrate our commitment to continuous improvement designed to protect our workforce, business and the wider community.

“This work builds on existing key work programmes which have been introduced over the past years including security enhancements to our site gates and personnel access turnstiles.

“A key workstream will involve reducing vehicle access on the site, in line with arrangements at most other UK nuclear installations. To help achieve this we are developing plans to improve the public transport infrastructure around Sellafield, providing additional off site car parks and moving a number of employees to off-site locations in line with our socio-economic objectives to help boost the local economy. This work is ongoing and includes engagement with internal and external stakeholders including unions, local authorities and supply chain.

“A further change will see the CNC increasing the number of Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) it deploys on the Sellafield site together with a new control room facility. The CNC operating model will focus on armed policing and security of the Sellafield site, whilst Sellafield Ltd has appointed a Security Guard Force to undertake personnel access checking on entry to the site.

“There will continue to be both guard force personnel and CNC AFOs deployed at all gates. Additional fencing is also being installed.

“These changes are designed to enhance our existing security arrangements and in no way suggest that the security level or requirements at any of our sites has changed.”

SIR – We recently had that time of year again when our local authorities look for ways to get rid of what we must assume is excess money by spending it on unnecessary minor works.

This exercise seems to take place at the same time each year, presumably just as the financial year end approaches, and is usually most obvious in a whole series of pointless expenses on the roads involving traffic signs, footpaths, reflective posts etc.

At the bottom of Clintz Brow, Egremont, the island between the lay-by and the A595 has had a coating applied in a fetching shade of green and a row of very cheerful coloured markers erected down its centre. There has been a telephone box in the lay-by on the A595 between Oaklands and Blackbeck for many years. Suddenly, it needs a dropped kerb, presumably to allow access for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The road here is quite busy, extremely so at many times of the day, and there is no footpath to the lay-by in either direction. No sensible person would risk using a wheelchair or pushchair on that stretch of road and I have never seen either near the phone kiosk. It would also, of course, be impossible to access the phone from a wheelchair anyway. We await the double yellow ‘No Parking’ lines.

Same lay-by near Oaklands, around 20 yards after the exit southbound, a Give Way sign has been erected. Presumably this is intended to supplement the perfectly clear, recently re-painted markings on the road surface. Does anyone really expect to exit a lay-by without giving way to traffic on the road? Apart from being totally unnecessary, the sign has been positioned in such a way that it appears to be intended to warn traffic on the A595 of a non-existent major road junction ahead. The concrete supporting the post has hardly had time to set before the contractors have returned, seemingly to dig yet another hole and erect another post, possibly to re-site this unnecessary sign. You couldn’t make this up!

A row of pointless reflective posts has also been erected here, in the island between the lay-by and the main road.

If scarce financial resources have been so carefully husbanded that there is a surplus at the financial year end, the individuals responsible should be congratulated, but perhaps it could simply be used to help reduce our council tax bill next year.

Alternatively it could be put to much better use repairing the many very poor road surfaces locally, or even handed over to other departments to spend elsewhere – education, policing, care for the elderly etc. All of these options would however, require a little imagination!

We have to accept, however grudgingly, that councils must spend our money. We are entitled to expect that they spend it wisely.

John GRAHAM

Lowrey Close, Beckermet

SIR – I would like to take this opportunity to say a special thank you, to the staff on the Ophthalmology Unit, at the West Cumberland Hospital.

Recently I was admitted as a patient for major eye surgery. When in the waiting area, I was accompanied by three other male patients, of similar age. We quickly engaged into conversation.

Regressing to our military service days, we recalled the good, bad and indifferent, endured in various parts of Europe, when serving Queen and country. The time passed as fast as an express train with no passenger stops.

The remarkable staff made my stay as comfortable and relaxed as possible, explaining all in detail, as they worked diligently, and with profound professionalism.

An enormous thank you to all staff on the Ophthalmology Unit.

Frank FOWLER

Grant Drive, Whitehaven

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