Saturday, 18 July 2009

Road Campaigners Remount Campaign

With Lancashire County Council spending a fortune of taxpayers money promoting the latest stage of the proposed northern bypass in local papers this week, campaigners against the plans are urging people to write to new councillors asking that the scheme be abandonned.

Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe, which is resolutely opposed to the scheme, is asking people to email new county councillors, and ask them to make their mark by stopping the monster road, and starting new initiatives to get the congested traffic moving again.

TSLM suggest writing to the Council's new Cabinet, all the Conservatives, who are the new controlling group, and all councillors for the Lancaster area (their details are here on the campaign web site, Word format document).

"Please take this opportunity to tell the new councillors that Labour's old link plan is too expensive, destructive and overblown and that cheaper and more effective plans for the district already exist," urges TSLM's co-ordinator David Gate. "We don't want a debt mountain or an environmental nightmare, we just want to get the traffic moving again."

The County Council argues it has promoted the new link between Heysham and the M6 as part of its undertaking to improve the inter-urban road network, and to provide for further development within the District of Lancaster, particularly in Morecambe and Heysham, and for expansion of the Port of Heysham.

• Lancashire County Council's own web site has all the County Councillors' details, including email addresses here.

• TSLM web site: http://heyshamm6link.info


County Council's M6 Link Page

(NB if this link does not work - the County Council seem to love to change the structure of their web site - go to their home page and use the "A-Z" to find "Heysham M6 Link"

Birds and Bikes at Leighton Moss

What better way to travel to experience the sights and sounds of your local nature reserve at Leighton Moss than by bike.

For those who fancy being at one with nature all the way, Lancaster City Council’s Cycling Demonstration Town Team are taking riders on a leisurely ride to the RSPB reserve along Lancaster Canal and quiet rural roads.

The 13 mile ride kicks off from the Millennium Bridge, Lancaster at 11am on Sunday 26 July.

Once you arrive at Leighton Moss which boasts the largest remaining reed bed in the north west of England, you can join a short guided walk and enjoy the wildlife.

If you don’t fancy riding back you can catch the train at Silverdale station - only two minutes walk from the reserve. Train times can be found at www.northernrail.org.

If you intend to visit the reserve’s award winning tearooms before you return why not pick up this year‘s Events and Rides brochure which includes a 10% discount voucher for all refreshments. Free copies are available from customer service centres at Lancaster and Morecambe Town Halls.

For more information about the reserve visit www.rspb.org.uk.

Cumbrians Set To Gather for Steam Event

For more than thirty-five years, The Cumbria Steam & Vintage Vehicle Society has been bringing together vintage and steam vehicles from across the world, to Flookburgh, for one massive summer event.

This year the organisers are promising the 2009 Cumbria Steam Gathering, which takes place next weekend (25 - 26th July 2009) on Cark Airfield, Flookburgh, will be as huge as ever - with more than 1,200 catalogued classic exhibits, a traditional fair, displays, specialist caterers and crafts.

The Gathering is a colourful and noisy weekend event that has a whole host of entertainment, with majestic steam engines and commercial vehicles of a by gone era, as well as hundreds of classic transport favourites like cars, motorcycles, bicycles, agricultural and industrial tractors, farm equipment and stationary engines.

This family day out also has plenty to keep the children entertained with magic shows, miniature remote controlled car racing and the traditional fairground, boasting vintage rides and attractions that are nearly 100 years old.

Popular highlights are the arena displays where a constant parade of vintage treasures can be seen as well as ploughing demonstrations, chain saw carving exhibitions, kite-flying displays and wrestling bouts from the Cumberland and Westmorland Academy. There's also the opportunity to drive a traction engine and have a ride in a helicopter.

This year's headlining entertainment is the Portsmouth Area Volunteer Cadet Corps, two teams of cadets ranging from 9 to 16 years old. These young cadets compete to beat the clock, assembling their military equipment and racing over the challenging obstacle course.

Elsewhere, Richard Savory introduces a fun, entertaining and educational sheep show, including shearing demonstrations as well as “The Sheep Show Shuffle” – dancing sheep!

Tim Holt from Hutton Roof near Carnforth was one of the club’s founding members. He was chief steward at the very first Cumbria Steam Gathering and is now the event’s main organiser heading a team of 10 which themselves lead almost 500 volunteers.

“My enthusiasm for this wonderful event has never waned, even after all these years," Tim enthuses. "This year’s show promises to be a fantastic weekend with marquees full of working models, fascinating automobilia and enthusiasts who are happy to share their collections with other enthusiasts. We always have some wonderful refreshments including a fully licensed bar and various cuisines from around the world.”

To help reunite lost toddlers and young children, the Cumbria Steam Society provides free wristbands throughout the event. There is also wheel chair accessible toilets and ample and free parking for blue badge holders.

• Cumbria Steam Gathering takes place from 9.00am – 6pm on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July 2009, at Cark Airfield, Flookburgh. Car parking is free.

• Admission prices are: Adults £10, Senior Citizens £7, accompanied children under 16 are free. There are discounts available for coach parties. For further information call 015242 71584. Web link: www.steamgathering.org.uk

Friday, 17 July 2009

Get Set To Love Your Park

Ashton Memorial, Williamson Park, LancasterA full range of activities including encounters with mini beasts, brass bands and a personal survival course has been arranged to celebrate this year’s Love Parks Week starting at the end of this month in the Lancaster and Morecambe area.

Running from Saturday 25th July to Sunday 2nd August, the aim of Love Parks Week week is to raise awareness of the importance of parks and Lancaster City Council is celebrating with a number of events aimed at people of all ages.

Events are taking place across the area's parks and include Wilsden Brass Band concert in Happy Mount Park, Morecambe, personal survival at Lancaster's Williamson Park, den building at Ryelands Park and much more.

If you don’t fancy taking part in one of the formal activities, you could simply just pop along with a picnic and enjoy some (hopefully!) good weather instead. As an added incentive, visitors to the Williamson Park cafĂ© between 10.00 am and 11am during the week will receive a special early bird discount of 20%.

For more information on Love Parks Week, including details of events happening within local parks, visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/loveparksweek or telephone Morecambe or Lancaster Visitor Information Centres on 01524 582808 / 582394.

Activities taking place include:

Saturday July 25


• Panto In the Park “Beauty and The Beast”, Happy Mount Park, 6.30pm to 8.45pm. Adults £7.50, £4.50 concessions, £20 for a family.

Sunday July 26


• Picnic in the Park at Regent Park, Morecambe, 12pm to 4, free entry.

• Wilsden Brass Band concert at Happy Mount Park, 2.30pm to 4.30pm. Free entry.

Monday July 27


• Personal Survival course at Williamson Park, 1pm to 4pm, £7.50 per person.
Learn the basics of survival, how to build shelters, fires and cook in the wild. To book a place telephone Salt Ayre Sports Centre on 01524 847540.

• Tree Trail, Williamson Park,1.30pm to 2.30pm, £3 per person.

Spend an hour with the head gardener on a walk and talk around the park.

Tuesday July 28


• Den Building, Ryelands Park 10am to 12pm and Regent Park and 1pm to 3pm. Free entry. To book a place call Mel on 01524 582641.

• Animal Tracking, Williamson Park, 11am to 12pm, £5 per person.

Join the Junior Rangers to identify animal tracks and make a cast to take home.

Wednesday July 29


• Water Day, Williamson Park 10am to 12pm and Poulton Park 1pm to 3pm, free.
Join the Play Rangers for a water filled fun day with water slides and themed activities. To book a place call Mel on: 01524 582641.

• Fitness in the Park, Happy Mount Park, 2pm to 3pm, free.

Join the Active Health Team for an hour of circuit training in the park.

• Fenham Carr Discovery Tour, Williamson Park, 2pm to 3pm, £3.

Get to know all your native mini-beasts on a family friendly guided walk in the woodlands.

• Butterfly Conservation Talk, Williamson Park, 11am to 2pm, free.

Come and meet an expert for advice on what plants to grow in your garden to encourage butterflies.

Thursday July 30


• Arts and Crafts, Douglas Park, 10am to 12pm, free. To book a place call Mel on 01524 582641.

• Fitness in the Park, Williamson Park, 2pm to 3pm, free.

Join the Active Health Team for an hour of circuit training in the park.

Friday July 31


• Play Day Preparation, Happy Mount Park 10am to 12pm and Williamson Park 1pm to 3pm.

Design your own t-shirts and banners for the play day event on August 5. To book a place call Mel on 01524 582641.

• Meet the Volunteers, Happy Mount Park, 5pm to 7pm.

Find out more about how to volunteer in Happy Mount Park.

• Nocturnal Walk, Happy Mount Park, 9pm to 10pm, £5.

Visit Happy Mount after closing time and see what nocturnal animals you can find. Meet at the Green Kiosk. To book a place call Salt Ayre Sports Centre on 01524 847540.

Saturday August 1


• Meet the Mini-Beasts, Williamson Park, 2pm to 3pm, free (with price of admission ticket).

Sunday August 2


• Meet the Mini-Beasts, Williamson Park, 2pm to 3pm, free (with price of admission ticket).

• Morecambe Band, Happy Mount Park, 2.30pm to 4.30pm, free entry.

Veteran Lancaster Club Celebrates Youthful 80th Birthday!

Lancaster Boys and Girls Club are holding their 80th birthday celebrations over the weekend 24-26th July.

Friday evening starts with a Talent Competition open to anyone aged 12-18 and runs from 7.00pm. Anyone interested in entering should contact Steven Naylor, the Club Leader on 01524 32020 or email stevennaylor@ceep.org.uk. All are welcome to come along and watch.

Saturday sees a Family Fete from 1pm to 5pm there will be stalls, games, competitions, a range of authentic food and exhibitions. From 5pm there will be a mini disco and live performances including the winner of Friday’s talent competition.

Sunday rounds off with a junior five-a-side competition open to groups between 8 and 12, and 12 to 18. If your club, school or organisation would like to enter a team contact the club. Entrance is just £2 per team.

All events will take place at Lancaster Boys and Girls Club on Dallas Road, Lancaster.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Local Friends of the Earth Get Serious about C02

North Lancashire Friends of the Earth has signed up to the environmental group's national campaign "Get Serious about CO2", which aims to get local councils to commit to an emissions reduction target of 40% by 2020 and set out a plan of action for achieving these targets.

As we previously reported, it's estimated that if Lancaster City Council insulated buildings and fitted green energy in the Lancaster area, it could create 64 jobs as well as slashing climate-changing emissions.

To promote the Climate Change Campaign group will be in Lancaster's Market Square this Saturday (18th July) from 10.00am - 3.00pm.

The campaigners will be asking the public to sign postcards calling on their local councillor to demand of and support the council in setting these targets.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Council backs new Litter Campaign

car_litter_front_banner_1184.jpg

Lancaster City Council has joined nearly 100 other councils that are backing a new campaign to tackle motorists who use our streets as rubbish bins.

Every year, the council spends hundreds of thousands of pounds cleaning litter from the district’s streets – and an increasing amount comes from car drivers and their passengers.

Now, the council has announced it is working closely with Keep Britain Tidy, the national charity dedicated to keeping Britain's streets clean, to launch a new campaign to encourage people to report litter dropped from vehicles.

More than 700,000 bags of litter are collected each year from England’s roads -- at huge cost to the public and risk to maintenance staff. Much of it is hurled from cars, vans and lorries and ends up stuck in hedges or piled high at traffic lights.

Car LitterThrowing litter from a car not only turns roadsides into a dumping ground for fast food litter, cigarette stubs, drinks cartons and apple cores but can also be very dangerous for other road users, particularly cyclists and motorcyclists who can be distracted or hit by the items thrown from cars.

Shockingly, nearly a quarter of people (23%) admit to dropping litter from their vehicle, according to latest Keep Britain Tidy research.

Despite the increasing problem, prosecuting offenders has, so far, not always been easy. While any passenger or driver can be fined for dropping litter, often it’s difficult to identify the litter-throwing occupant, especially if the vehicle is going at speed.

To make it easier to prosecute offenders, Keep Britain Tidy argues it’s time that the owner of the vehicle should be fined and receive points on their driving licence – unless they provide details of the culprit.

In London, people caught throwing litter from motor vehicles are facing fines of £100 thanks to new penalties agreed by London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee.

Keep Britain Tidy's proposals have, of course, met with the usual howls of protest from car users, complaining they are being victimized (see reaction to The Times coverage of the story).

Lancaster City Council has not announced specific fines for car litter, but Coun Jon Barry, Cabinet member with responsibility for City Council (Direct) Services, says he very much supports the campaign.

"An increasing amount of litter is being thrown out of car windows and it is something we need to stop," he says.

"Apart from anything else, it is costing the council and local tax payers to clean it up."

People can report incidents of littering from vehicles on the Keep Britain Tidy website at www.keepbritaintidy.org. They will be recorded on a database and used to analyse trends in littering from vehicles.

As well as our own, nearly 100 other councils in England will be working with Keep Britain Tidy to gather evidence on when and where car litter offences occur and will also be campaigning to raise awareness of the problem.

Last year, the national Guardian reported that according to the government, councils spend nearly £500m a year on litter collection and have hugely increased the number of on-the-spot fines and prosecutions. In 2007 there were 700 court cases, and 17,000 £80 on-the-spot penalties, a 30% increase on 2006.

Keep Britain Tidy Car Litter Campaign

• Car Bin Makers: www.tidi.ie and EziNClean: www.ezinklean.com/ezi/

Tap Water Not Meeting Standards, say Inspectors

Tap water in the North has further to go to fully meet European standards according to the independent drinking water quality regulator’s report which is being presented today at a seminar hosted by the Consumer Council for Water’s Northern committee.

“In England we enjoy clean safe tap water but regional variations in quality, whilst only small, continued in 2008,” said Professor Colbourne, Chief Inspector of Drinking Water.

Britain's best tap water quality can be found in the Thames region (99.98%) closely followed by the Central and Eastern regions (99.97%). The lowest figures were reported in the Northern (99.93%) and Southern regions (99.95%). The Western region achieved the industry average figure of 99.96%.

“There is now compelling evidence from consumers to show the benefits of investment in cleaning and renovating the water network with one fifth fewer complaints of dirty water," the professor added.

Areas for water industry improvement flagged in the report are timely diagnosis and remedial action to problems at water treatment works to prevent recurrent problems; improved risk assessment ahead of planned works on water mains to prevent incidents; and Continued focus on preventative maintenance of water supply assets.

• The Drinking Water Inspectorate’s report ‘Drinking Water 2008’ comprising six regional reports for England and a report for Wales and the Chief Inspector’s Letters to Ministers is can be found on the Drinking Water Inspectorate’s Website at www.dwi.gov.uk

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Spotlight at The Storey: Poetry, Comedy and More

Lancaster's Spotlight Club is back at the Storey on Friday, with an eclectic, vibrant mix of performers of both the written word and song...

Iain ColleyPoet Iain Colley is no stranger to Spotlight, having appeared at the first ever event back in December 1995 and a number of gigs since. He's a prizewinning poet and short story writer and author of monographs on US cinema.
"I'm looking forward to appearing Spotlight again," says Iain. "I hope to read, among other light verse, Apocalypse Blues."

Ann Wilson is a wonderful writer and performing poet based in South Cumbria, and a regular compere at Brewery Arts Centre Spoken word open mic and festivals and events. Her poetry features on The Resting Bench which is free to download from Earth Monkey Productions at www.earthmp.com. Her work is often humorous and she has a terrific stage style that always entertains.

Poet Bernard AlvarezPoet Bernard Alvarez made his first appeaance at Spotlight back in April 2007. He came late to writing, he admits. "I've only been writing since about 2001, I write poems, often inspired by natural themes, sometimes by people.
"I don't write often, but sometimes I may wake up in the night or very early morning and the idea comes to my imagination; at its best if it works, I hardly have to alter it. I find if I spend a lot of time on a piece, I inevitably scrap it. I am unpublished, words are my joy and I like to communicate with others."

Funny man Lewis Charlesworth, whose style is a mix of gags and observations in a high energy physical style, made his Spotlight debut at the Open Mic last month. "I studied English with writing and performance at the University of York," he says. "I took a break of 18 months to get a job and work out how to function in the real world until I fully prepared myself to embark on a career in stand up comedy.
I've been gigging regularly since last May, have reached the quarter finals of a couple of national comedy competitions, gigged all over Britain, from Glasgow to York to Manchester to Cardiff to Bristol to London."

Musician Nate ConnellyNate Connelly is a songwriter/performer and composer/producer, who's attracted critical praise from the likes of Another Late Night Magazine, who said of his work, "the blues run through his lyrics while beats grind and strings soar, a breath of fresh air in such an ego driven industry."
"From acoustic songwriting and live performance to orchestral and electronic filmscores, my work is very diverse," Nate adds. Check out his music at www.myspace.com/nateconnelly.

The night rounds off with a late addition to the line-up, musician Steve Lewis.

• The Spotlight Club is at The Storey, Meeting House Lane. Lancaster on Friday 17th July. Doors will be open from 8.15pm, admission £4 / £2 (conc.). The event will be compered by John Freeman.

• Spotlight Club web site: www.spotlightlancaster.co.uk