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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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N-waste: to support or not to support? That is the question

SIR – With last week’s “Villages say no to N-waste” headline and the editorial saying “that’s what consultation was all about” it is evident with yet more parish councils across Cumbria deciding to say no (the list grows daily) to the MRWS process proceeding any further.

Important questions still remain unanswered, ie the highly suspect geology in West Cumbria, the NDA being unable to give any guarantee whether or not any radioactive ‘leaks’ of any nature would put the health of future generations at grave risk and jeopardizing the Lake District National Park potential for World Heritage Status etc etc. There now seems to be more emphasis on bribing the public with what can only be short-term ‘compensation packages’ that, in any case, will probably not be available to either the present or next generation – if at all. Crucially, the deal offered raises a simple ethical question. Is it right to accept any ‘benefit’ when the dis-benefits could be so negative as to place the environmental, economic and social fabric of this county at risk for generations to come?

We are told that a small telephone opinion poll and the results of the MRWS consultation will be the determining factors as to whether or not this county decides to proceed to desk-based studies to have a national nuclear waste repository. That is simply not democratic, only stupid. Why? Because the way in which this decision-making process is currently structured effectively means those who are pre-disposed to having the GDF are set to advise the MRWS partnership thus the nod to proceed will be made by no more than a handful of people who have, or have had, strong past or present ties to the nuclear industry with its inherent difficulty in getting any community in the UK to accept a nuclear waste disposal facility.

In last week’s editorial and again in ‘Have Your Say’ a referendum was mentioned. Now is the time for Cumbrian people who either support or don’t support this process to have their voices heard. Why, because then and only then will we truly know if we are a “volunteer”. The status quo, if allowed to stand will mean a handful of here today, gone tomorrow pro-nuclear councillors will decide the future of this county for generations to come. That cannot be right and goes against all known principles of natural justice.

Cumbria County Council’s website now carries an epetition (available via the ‘Council and Democracy’ entry on its home page) on the GDF question calling for a county-wide referendum on the matter. Why not use it to try to have your say at getting what should have been offered in the first place? If the petition is well supported then perhaps those in power who should understand the basic principles of democracy and should know better, will do better and let Cumbrian people decide for themselves.

Colin WALES

Sedbergh

SIR – This photograph shows what typically greets hospital staff and patients in the morning at just one of the entrances of West Cumberland Hospital.

It is disappointing that some people abuse the privilege of being treated at their local hospital by expecting staff to walk through this mess each morning and to clean up after their dirty habits. It is even more concerning that some patients or visitors cannot read the signs warning them that the hospital is a no smoking zone, possibly because they have already lost their vision as a result of smoking.

Perhaps smokers can show some respect for hospital staff and patients by not smoking outside the hospital entrance as the fumes and smell drift into the wards and clinics where patients are being treated. Smoking outside the maternity and special care baby units is especially objectionable and inconsiderate. If smokers expect to be treated in the NHS for their smoking-related diseases, common decency and respect for NHS staff and other patients would be appreciated.

Mr W SELLAR

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

West Cumberland Hospital

SIR – In reply to J Bradley’s letter (“Campers pitch their support for village’s wind turbine proposal”, The Whitehaven News, April 12), I would like to say that I am sorry they were not amongst the visitors to the area that I did speak to as I would have welcomed the opportunity to listen to a different point of view.

As previously stated I am also very much aware of the need for an alternative form of renewable energy but surely the massive subsidies which the government are putting into the erection of these wind turbines could be better used in investing in a far more efficient way of producing energy.

Would the people who are so keen to erect them be equally as enthusiastic if they were not so heavily subsidised? Is it really the environment they are concerned about? J Bradley is of the opinion that the wind turbine will not impair the local residents’ views but I think that a lot of the local residents would disagree with this.

Has J Bradley considered the possible impact the erection of the wind turbine could have on the health of the people living in the near vicinity? Of course coming from York this would not affect them. And if (as I hope they do) they continue to use the camp site, the short nature of their stay should not cause any problems to their health although the noise may disturb their sleep.

I would also like to pick up on the comments about the low-level waste repository. I, along with the other residents of Drigg, are very much aware of the site and have grave concerns about it but it does not have a great visual impact and does not spoil the beautiful scenery around us. We are all aware that Sellafield is a huge blot on the surrounding countryside but at least both of these bring a lot of much-needed employment to the area. This cannot be said about wind turbines.

Could I also say to the person who wrote in to The Whitehaven News using another person’s name. They should not have done this even though they might have strong objections to the erection of the wind turbine, it could reflect badly on the people who are working hard to put a strong case together to fight this planning application.

S WHITE

Drigg

SIR – David Cameron has been warned that he risks imprisonment unless he upholds EU law.

Having solemnly sworn his parliamentary oath of allegiance to the Queen, the British people and to Britain, he fails to comprehend his much greater risk of imprisonment for contravening British law.

Our constitutional law includes Magna Carta 1215, the 1351 Treason Act, the Act of Supremacy 1559, The Petition of Rights 1628, Habeas Corpus 1679, The Declaration of Rights and the Bill of Rights 1689 and all further Custom and Common Law in Britain not included in these documents.

Under these, Edward Heath’s wilful signing of Britain’s control over to Europe in the pretence of a “common market agreement” (the European Communities Act 1972) was illegal. Official documentary evidence can be found at the website “A Case For Treason/The Evidence Files”.

All subsequent governments’ actions have therefore also been illegal so Britain does not need an EU referendum as we have never actually been part of the European Union. Our membership was always null and void.

Rex POULTON

Salisbury, Wiltshire

SIR – I am writing to ask if any of your readers might be able to help us. We have ambitious plans to restore our beautiful walled kitchen garden to its former glory, as it was at the turn of last century.

Sadly we have no designs or photographs of the original layout. We are hoping that there are people living locally who might have some photographs of the kitchen garden and fruit walls, perhaps tucked away in a shoebox or the attic.

It could really help with our planning.

We are also interested in hearing from anyone whose grandparents might have worked in the garden, those who might have stories to tell about working in it and can tell us how it looked and operated in its original format when providing produce for the castle and its staff.

If you are able to help in any way please contact Jane Welby on 01229 717614 or email janew@muncaster.co.uk.

With grateful thanks.

Jane WELBY

Muncaster Castle

SIR – A massive thank you to Aileen, Norma, Janice, Cath and Irene (landladies of the four pubs involved: The Vine, Wellington, Anchor Vaults and Barra Jacks), for all their support with the Market Revival charity night on April 7 in aid of Give us a Break.

Thanks also to Gavin, Bob, Mike and all the music teams who worked hard in each for free.

Also, I would like to thank my boss, Kenneth, who allowed me to sell wristbands while at work in Kinsella’s.

Special thanks to Trust Inns for their generous donation. And finally to all of you who came or donated to such a fantastic cause, and believed in my idea and supported me throughout.

You all raised £1,911.09

Anne GILMOUR

Whitehaven

SIR – I was glad to see that the Titanic’s engineers are in the spotlight (April 12), not least Joseph Bell of Farlam, east of Brampton, whose tombstone inscription was hidden by thick lichen 12 years ago, as I found when transcribing it (and all others pre 1901.)

As I scraped it off, line by line, I read that he was chief engineer (probably of a tramp steamer, I thought)... of SS Titanic, a surprise indeed. I notified The Cumberland News a while after; they sent a reporter to photograph it.

Margaret Crosby is mistaken in saying in her report “so there is no verbal evidence of the role they played”. It is known that Joseph Bell, on learning of their peril, said “We shall all do our best,” and stayed at his post, keeping the boilers and lighting going. On hearing that the forward bulkheads had burst, he said “My God, we are lost.”

Jeremy GODWIN

Drovers Lane, Penrith

SIR – Passengers aboard the MS Balmoral visiting Titanic’s graveyard have spent a misty-eyed week of re-living and letting go. The cost, around £6,500 each, is a measure of our Western affluence and lifestyle.

In contrast, Titanic’s survivors, now deceased, were the recipients of life’s greatest gift. For the rest of their lives, they would hear every blackbird sing, never again would the stuff of life mean more than life itself.

On May 5, Cockermouth’s Georgian Fayre will give West Cumbrians a moment to reflect on our good fortune. Charity stalls play a large part in these events as they juggle for our attention among local produce and novelties.

We will have an opportunity to give, especially to our local deserving causes.

One cause, not so local, has a Titanic-size disaster to cope with, simply for the lack of a basic commodity – clean water.

Burkina Faso, a land-locked country in West Africa, is one of the most under-developed places on earth, where annually 20,000 children die from water-borne diseases. Sinking a well there, deep enough to overcome the dimensions of drought and desert, will save the lives of children in three identified Burkina Faso villages, where 3,200 people live.

This project is presently on course, £2,600 has already been collected towards a target of £10,000.

Should you make it to see us at the fayre, please pause when you see the Burkina Faso banner, for the children’s sake please give what you can. Alternatively, you can pledge your support by ringing 01900 822437.

Like the Titanic, Burkina Faso will never in the foreseeable future have enough lifeboats to save the dying, but from our plentiful thankful lives we can give the gift of life-saving clean water to some.

Raymond HALL

Isel Road, Cockermouth

SIR – Can anyone tell me the whereabouts of Derek Allen? Derek lived on Bransty and joined the RAF around 1958 as a boy entrant.

I have been trying to find him through Facebook with no luck. I’m an old friend and would just like to say hello. Any help would be appreciated.

We went to school together and were in the air cadets, we have not seen each other for over 50 years. John B GARRAWAY

Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

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