Fracking vital for our future

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THIS week’s announcement by the Government is a welcome step forward in the responsible development of natural gas from Lancashire shale.

It will encourage local communities to positively engage with industry and allowing them to benefit from their natural resources through community benefits and the retention of business rates.

As locally-based job and wealth creators, we can see the clear benefits shale development can deliver to the Fylde, including creating jobs, generating economic growth and boosting tax revenues.

In order to do this in the most effective way, we are further encouraged by the announcement by the industry to conduct a supply chain and skills study, which will help tailor the needs and increase the capabilities of local businesses.

In an increasingly competitive global economy, it is vital communities, government and industry work together in securing our future energy needs.

Rob Green, head of enterprise and investment, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company; Sean Lord, director, Lytham Technology; Lee Petts, managing director, Remsol; Frank McLaughlin, retired commercial director

Asbestos warning

The recent floods that have devastated many parts of the UK could have unexpected consequences by increasing the risk of asbestos exposure. I urge readers engaging in the cleanup process to be vigilant against the presence of this killer substance.

Natural disasters mean misery for millions and 150 properties were flooded in Surrey and Kent alone. While asbestos is not normally harmful unless disturbed, flood waters can damage the integrity of buildings, exposing asbestos contaminated flooring, walls and ceilings, breaking down any asbestos present into fine fibres and bringing this dangerous material to the surface.

Some asbestos fibres are waterproof and can sit on the surface of water, risking being inhaled once they dry out and posing a serious health hazard. The advice to homeowners of damaged properties is to use caution when cleaning or searching through debris and if asbestos is suspected, take no chances. Call in a professional contractor trained and qualified in the safe removal of asbestos.

Asbestos related diseases can take 20 years to develop and there is no cure. Over 4,500 people still die every year as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres in the UK and asbestos remains the biggest single cause of work related deaths in the UK. Anyone in doubt can consult the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) website at www.ukata.org.uk or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos for good tips and advice.

Buildings can be rebuilt and repaired but people diagnosed with asbestos related diseases have no such options. Greater asbestos awareness will help ensure the drama of the floods does not become a health crisis in the long term and hopefully a happier New Year for those affected.

David Nichol

Managing director of Nichol Associates and UKATA vice-chairman

Censors have got it wrong

I am deeply concerned that children under 12 years old may soon be freely exposed to obscene language at the cinema following the decision by the British Board of Film Classification to water down current censorship rulings.

Films rated 12a already allow children of any age so long as they are accompanied by an adult and there have been a number of occasions where the BBFC have got their classification wrong with such films containing rather graphic violence or adult themes. We don’t need to compound these problems by adding vulgar language into the mix.

Paul Nuttall

UKIP North West MEP