Saturday, 28 September 2013

Local Doctor Who fans pen new tribute novel

This November, Obverse Books will be publishing a Doctor Who related novel for the show's 50th Anniversary from two local fans of the show. 

Behind the Sofa, by Chris Newton and Mark Charlesworth is the sequel to last year's excellent and critically praised Life Begins at 40.  

Behind The Sofa continues the story of Pete and Jeff, two thirty-something Doctor Who fans sharing a flat in Blackpool. Out of pocket, out of luck, and clinging to the hope that life begins at 40... Pete is concussed and suffers mild memory loss, resulting in him losing his encyclopedic knowledge of the sci-fi genre. He's even started reading The Guardian.

With his 40th birthday looming, Jeff has a tough decision to make. Will he jeopardise Pete's chance of becoming a functional member of society in order to get his friend back?

Life Begins At 40 is very funny," enthused Vanessa Bishop in Doctor Who Magazine on its release. "In some respects, a touching tale of friendship. On the other hand, an exploration of the worst kind of adolescent blokeyness.”

“Hilarious. A unique brand of black comedy... Life Begins At 40 is curiously difficult to put down” said Ryan Owen Gibson, Lancashire Writing Hub.  

• More info on Obverse Books:  

Buy Life Begins at 40 from  

Buy Life Begins at 40 from

Friday, 27 September 2013

Council tax support consultation begins

Under Government-implemented welfare reform changes Council Tax Benefit was abolished from April 2013 and councils had to develop a Council Tax Support scheme.

Lancaster City Council chose to maintain the same level of support that customers had been receiving for the financial year 2013/14, but this could be for one year only.

From April 2014, the City Council needs to design a scheme to meet the needs of the local area, and has begun to survey local people for their views on this.

The Council says the impact on the most vulnerable claimants needs to be considered and the new scheme should encourage people to work and in particular should not act as a disincentive to working. Pensioners will not be affected by these changes.

The Council says it is committed to providing support to less well off residents and ensuring that the people of the Lancaster district have the opportunity to contribute and influence their decision making. The consultation results will be used to shape the decision for a new scheme.

• Visit to complete the online questionnaire by 14 October 2014

Appeal after cyclist dies in Garstang road traffic collision

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a 25 year old cyclist died after being involved in a collision with a car on the A6 at Garstang last night, Thursday 26th September.

The collision took place around 10.15pm when the cyclist, who has been named as Anthony McDermott from Garstang, rode out of the grounds of the Crofters Hotel when he collided with a Honda Jazz, which was travelling south along Preston Lancaster New Road.

Anthony was taken through to the Royal Preston Hospital with multiple injuries but sadly died this morning.

The 42 year old driver of the Honda Jazz, who is from Lancaster, was treated for shock but she was otherwise uninjured.

Sergeant James Power from the Road Policing Unit said: “I would appeal to anybody that witnessed this collision to contact Lancashire Police on 101.”

The road was closed for over three hours to allow for an investigation to take place.

Walk on the Wild Side of Lancaster!

With a bumper crop of wild fruit for the picking thanks to our fab summer, what better time to try a Wild Food and Herbal Foraging Walk?

Join Julia Russell on a guided foraging walk from the Lancaster Castle Precinct via Vicarage Fields down to the historic St George's Quay to discover the edible and medicinal plants that grow in our area. It's an opportunity to explore plant properties, identification, preparation and look at historical uses and folklore.

Julia is a local herbalist with over 15 years in practice. A fully trained herbalist she also has a background in horticulture and other complementary therapies.

The walks are part of the Lancaster Castle Harvest Festival and will take place at 11.00 am - 12.30 pm and 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm (start and finish in the Lancaster Castle Courtyard).

Costs are £7.50 per adult, £2 for children up to 16.

To book contact or 01772 530650 or book on the day.

One Planet Festival Returns to Lancaster

A Celebration of All Things Sustainable, Lancaster's One Planet Festival returns on 13th October to 3rd November with three weeks of events, workshops and films aimed at celebrating sustainable living and inspiring action on climate change.

This will be the fourth One Planet Festival and there's something for everyone; from a 5k run to do good-green-deeds, to a sustainable Gardener's Question Time event, half term workshops for children, an energy fair, art exhibition, films, talks and a play.

The festival kicks off on Sunday 13th October with the screening of More than Honey (PG) at The Dukes Cinema (5.30pm). This beautifully shot film explores why bee populations around the world are facing extinction and is followed by a 'Buzz about Bees' public meeting to discuss ways to support bees in our local area, organised by Incredible Edible Lancaster. Dr Fred Ayres, Chair of Lancaster Bee Keepers, will be speaking at the meeting that starts at 7.15pm.

The One Planet Art Exhibition, which brings together works by local artists exploring themes of climate change, energy and waste will run in the Dukes Gallery for three weeks. The artwork will challenge visitors to think about how the world is being affected by our actions locally and globally.

The exhibition will open with a public viewing on Monday 14th October at 7.30pm, and runs until 3 November.

Budding gardeners can put questions to a panel of green-fingered experts at the 'One Planet Festival Gardeners' Question Time'. The panel will include BBC Radio Lancashire's expert gardener Bill Blackledge, and in line with the ethos of the festival, questions will concentrate on sustainable gardening and food growing.

This free event takes place on Wednesday 16th October, at 7pm at the Storey Institute.

The festival is also organising Lancaster's first 5km GoodGym run on Saturday 26th October. The GoodGym initiative helps people to get and stay fit, while benefiting their community. The Lancaster event will involve running to Fork to Fork's food growing site next to Lancaster Brewery. Runners will then help to improve access to the site, which is run by Thumbprint, a local organisation supporting people with learning disabilities. After the tasks are completed the runners will return to Dalton Square.

The GoodGym is already a successful project in London, Bristol and Liverpool. (See Festival organiser Liz Horn said: 'We're excited to be bringing the GoodGym idea to Lancaster. It's a great way to get fit and support the local community. Runners should not only be prepared for the 5k run but also digging, lifting and a sense of achievement! We hope this will be the start of a regular GoodGym group run in Lancaster.' Runners should meet at The Cornerstone building, Dalton Square at 9.45am on Saturday 26 October.

An Energy Saving Fair, organised by Transition City Lancaster, will take place at St Thomas' Church Hall, Marton Street, Lancaster on Saturday 19th October from 11am-4pm. Advice on staying warm this winter and reducing energy bills will be available from stallholders and there will be speakers throughout the day.

Finally, during half term week (28th October - 3rd November) the One Planet Festival will take over The Dukes, with daily workshops aimed at helping children understand and get involved in sustainable living. Workshops include learning how to animate fruit and veg, to a Halloween Garlic and Potions making special in what promises to be a magical week.

The week will be rounded off with live performances of Allotment, a dark comedy that is a celebration of all things gardening on Saturday 2nd November at The Dukes.

• To find out more about all One Planet Festival events, venues and times visit or call LESS on 01524 66100 or see our Facebook page

Brief Events Guide

Film screening: More than Honey (PG)
The Dukes Cinema, Moor Lane, Lancaster, 5.30pm

This beautifully shot film explores why bee populations around the world are facing extinction and will be followed by a 'Buzz about Bees' public meeting, to discuss how we can support bees in the local area. Organised by Incredible Edible Lancaster.

The One Planet art exhibition
The Dukes Gallery, Moor Lane, Lancaster
Exhibition opens Monday 14 Oct at 7.30pm and runs until 3 November

Brings together works by local artists exploring the themes of climate change, energy and waste.  The idea is to get visitors to the gallery thinking about how the world is being affected by our actions locally and globally.

Gardeners' Question Time
Wednesday 16 October at 7pm

The Storey Institute, Lecture Theatre, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster
A panel of green fingered experts including Radio Lancashire's expert gardener Bill Blackledge will take questions from the public on sustainable gardening and food growing. 

An Energy Saving Fair, organised by Transition City LancasterSt Thomas' Church Hall, Marton Street, Lancaster.
Saturday 19 October from 11am-4pm

With stallholders and speakers throughout the day, this is an opportunity to find out what local services and support are available to help keep warm this winter and reduce energy bills.

One Planet/ GoodGym 5k Run - Get Fit Doing GoodRunners should meet at The Cornerstone building, Dalton Square at 9.45am on Saturday 26 October.

The guided run will be 5k in total and involve stopping at Fork to Fork's food growing site next to Lancaster Brewery to help with digging and lifting.

Half Term One Planet Takeover The Dukes Venue: The Dukes Theatre, Moor Lane, Lancaster

During half term we will be bringing the outdoors inside by creating a wilderness of fauna, flora and all things sustainable in The Dukes' gallery and café bar. Find yourself surrounded by vegetable patches, recycled art sculptures, mini beasts and a garden shed as you relax outdoors, indoors. Pop into the café bar each day from 11am for yummy food, games, toys, a book corner, crafts, quizzes and competitions. Plus, join us for the following fun creative workshops for children throughout the week:

Animate Your Fruit and VegTuesday 29 October at 1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm

An introduction to animation for 7-10 year olds. Bring your fruit and veg to this workshop and we'll show you how to bring them to life through the magic of stop motion animation. Ideal for ages 7-10.

Recycled ArtWednesday 30 October 11am - 1pm

Get crafty with old junk and recycled materials. Help us make some lovely art to decorate our shed. Bring along some junk ' plastic bottles, old shirts, paper and card. Ideal for all ages.

Garlic And PotionsThursday 31 October 11am - 1pm

Make up your own planter, plant some garlic bulbs and learn how to care for them, then try your hand at making potions from magical plants ' all ready for Halloween. Wear your spookiest costume! Ideal for all ages.

Bug HotelFriday 1 November 11am - 1pm

Learn how to make a bug hotel, to encourage mini-beasts into the garden. We'll work together to make a big bug hotel, and then you can make your own at home. Ideal for all ages.

Live event: Allotment Theatre ProductionThe Dukes Theatre, Gallery
Saturday 2 November 2013, Times: 4pm & 6pm
Venue: The Dukes, Gallery, Tickets: £8/£6

A touching, dark comedy, Allotment follows the complex and quirky relationship between sisters Dora and Maddy as they live out the seasons on their allotment and play out their rivalries among the plants. When the unexpected rocks their uneasy balance, the sisters turn to the soil.

Allotment is a tale of life, death and a celebration of gardening. 

Join Maddy and Dora over a cup of tea and ponder: do flowers matter as much as vegetables'

Winner of a Scotsman Fringe First Award, Allotment is a theatrical breath of fresh air.

Film screening: Project Wild Thing (PG)
Sunday 3 November, 5.30pm (There will be a 10min talk before film)
The Dukes. Tickets £6/ £5
Dir. David Bond (2003, UK, 80 mins)

A funny and revealing look at a complex issue, the increasing connect between children and nature.  David Bond is concerned; his children's waking hours are dominated by marketing and screen dependency. In an attempt to compete with the brands, Bond appoints himself Marketing Director for Nature and sets about selling nature to British families. 

Cuadrilla planning application: Register your views online

Cuadrilla drilling rig at Banks in Lancashire
Controversial fracking company Cuadrilla currently have an application lodged with Lancashire County Council to extend the time allowed for their exploratory testing in the borehole they have drilled in the heart of agricultural land near Singleton from 18 months to 3 years.

You can view their application on the Lancashire County Council website here. There is still time to register your views and at the foot of the page is a link where you can comment on the application, to say if you approve or object. You will need to quote Application Reference Number:  05/12/0003 and the location:  Land south of Grange Road, Singleton

You can also write to the County Council:

Environment Directorate,
Lancashire County Council,
Transport and Environment,
Development Management Group,
County Hall,
PO Box 100,
Preston PR1 0LD

Lancaster and Morecambe are supplied via our local markets with a great deal of vegetable and dairy produce from areas where fracking is now proposed, and where sites are being tested.
If the fracking is allowed, in a few years it will be exhausted and the company will have pulled out and gone. The levels of pollution and environmental damage left behind over a wide area are well-documented.

The process uses millions of gallons of concentrated toxic materials - pumping them into underground  fissures at high pressure and then attempting to extract them again.  Some of this material will inevitably result in water and land pollution.  The geological disruption can result in additional radioactive contamination of the groundwater.  The effect on the produce of the overlying agricultural land - and any land sharing water courses - may be such that, even where contamination  falls within permitted maximum levels, it will not be attractive to family markets.  This is a problem that even our great grandchildren will not see solved. They will have millions of gallons of stored toxic waste solution to look after though.

There are concerns about how we are to keep the lights on. As populations continue to soar and energy consumption per capita continues to rise, this crisis is inevitable. Fracking will not prevent it, but polluting the productive land and water resources that we live off will leave us even more ill-equipped to face it.  We need to face our energy crises by responsibly adapting to more energy-efficient cultures and production methods, rather than consolidating them with climate change, global food shortages and social instability.

It is possible that a future technology may find cleaner and more efficient ways of extracting and using shale gas resources.  It may be that our great-great grandchildren will thank us for leaving it to them to have that benefit.  The opportunity will always be there.  We should try to leave them something that is not a complete disaster.

See also previous report: Fylde fracking site hit by new earthquakes

Thursday, 26 September 2013

More roads being planned behind closed doors?

Not content with the white elephant that is the increasingly costly-looking Heysham Link, local councils could be looking to build even more roads in Lancashire, rather than invest in more sustainable transport schemes.

The Campaign for Better Transport has just completed research into how new ‘Local Transport Bodies’ are distributing funding and the results are really worrying. They have recently published over a billion pounds’ worth of proposals: almost two thirds of these are purely for road building or widening and no dedicated cycling schemes have been prioritised anywhere in the country.

These decisions are also being taken behind closed doors: only twelve out of 38 Local Transport Bodies have done any consultation at all.

"Urgent action is needed," argues CFBT. "There is just a small window of time before these plans gain government approval.

"We’ve set up an action on our website to make it easy for you to contact the Transport Minister asking him to send back any plans from Local Transport Bodies where they haven’t consulted or have just rehashed old road schemes.

•  Write to Transport Minister Norman Baker and help make sure communities across the country get the transport projects they really need, not expensive and damaging road schemes

Lancaster City Council warns: Serious Service Cuts ahead

Council leader Eileen Blamire says Council on "cliff edge"
as it faces further budget cuts
Lancaster City Council is facing a bleak financial future with £3.5million in savings needing to be found over the next two years to balance its books, new figures show.

Following the Government’s announcement that funding for local government will fall by a further 10 per cent, which translates into a further 15.3% reduction for Lancaster District, savings targets have been revised and will be reported to the city council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 8th October.

They show that for 2014/15 the council will have to find recurring savings of £1.2million, with a further £2.3million having to be found for 2015/16.

This is in addition to the savings the council has had to find over the last three years, which has already seen the Government cut 27 per cent of its funding.

Cabinet will be asked to set out an approach to identify the savings needed, which would see up to £1million being made by restructuring, streamlining and ‘cutting corners’.

The remaining £2.5 million can only be made through withdrawing or significantly reducing services.

In the budget report submitted for discussion, the report notes that "Government is proposing fairly fundamental changes to previous funding arrangements and this is of real concern. It does not help promote sound planning and decision-making."

Further funding cuts mean councils nationally will need to draw on their balances and reserves to tackle the challenges ahead.

Councillor Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “As these new figures show the council is closer to the cliff edge than ever before in terms of its budget.

“Although the economy is starting to pick up, the Government seems determined to reduce our funding even further and that can only translate into real cuts to our services.

“Over the coming months, the council will develop its future budget plans further and put in place plans for how we are going to find these savings.

“Although every effort will continue to be made to deliver savings whilst protecting the frontline, it is inevitable that we will have to  make  service cuts to balance our books.  Savings of the size we now face simply cannot be made through efficiencies .

“Many of the decisions will be tough and unpalatable to many but they will have to be made.”

The savings targets have been developed through information from the Government following its Comprehensive Spending Review in the summer and briefings from the Local Government Association.

The final figures for how much the council will receive in funding from the Government will be announced in the Local Government Finance Settlement, which is due in November/December.

The city council will set its final budget for 2014/15 on Wednesday 26th February 2014.

BBC Jazz Award winners featuring Portishead members to play Morecambe

One of the heavyweights of the contemporary jazz world, Get The Blessing, will be playing at More Music’s Morecambe venue the Hothouse on Saturday 12th October from 8.30pm.  The band feature the drummer and bass player from acclaimed trip hop group Portishead, who won the Mercury Music Prize in 1995.

Support comes from Lancaster’s The Initiative, a constantly evolving anti-jazz/rap/funk/rock collective. 

Rarely has a band taken the jazz scene by the scruff of the neck and given it such a good shaking as Get the Blessing. Winners of the BBC Jazz Award 2008 for their debut album "All Is Yes,” Get The Blessing are one of the UK’s most exciting live bands.

Formed in 2000 when bassist Jim Barr and drummer Clive Deamer from Portishead joined forces with the twin horns & electronics of saxophonist Jake McMurchie and trumpeter Pete Judge, GTB have forged a unique signature sound that defies easy classification, yet never loses sight of thumping tunes, monstrously infectious beats, or joyous collective spontaneity.

Their 2012 album OC:DC was released ahead of a tour which took them through 12 European countries and a 15,000 mile, 10 date North American tour. With influences ranging from Ornette Coleman and Tortoise, to Blondie and Samuel Beckett, GTB consistently confound expectation.

Prepare to be teased, beguiled, soothed, spooked, jolted, and ultimately uplifted!

• Advance tickets cost £8  (£5 concessions) and can be bought over the phone on 01524 831 997 or online at

Lancashire Police launches student safety pages

Lancashire Police have launched social media pages on both Facebook and Twitter to help improve the safety of the local universities’ students.

The social media work is part of Lancashire Police’s 2013 Freshers campaign, which aims to educate students on how to take responsible steps so that they are not the victims of crime.

The campaign covers all aspects of a student’s life, giving advice on a various of subjects, such as keeping personal possessions safe, as well as staying safe on nights out when students can be particularly vulnerable.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Constabulary said; “We’ve launched this campaign to help our students do as much as possible to ensure they aren’t a victim of crime.

“In particular, the core message of this year’s campaign is ‘Stick together, stay safe’ as there really is safety in numbers, and encouraging students to stick together will help to dramatically reduce their risk of becoming a victim of crime.

“As part of the campaign, students at Lancaster University, UCLAN and Edge Hill will be able to access crime prevention advice and information tailored specifically for them via Facebook and Twitter pages dedicated to each university.

“Each page will feature regular updates on crime in the local area, crime prevention advice and details of when and where students can meet up with members of their local Neighbourhood Policing Team.”

Furious Faerie captured for new Dukes exhibition

Faerie Tail, one of the photographs currently on exhibition at The Dukes. Image © Adrian Jones
A faerie with attitude is captured on camera at The Dukes gallery in Lancaster this autumn.

The Furious Faerie is an exhibition of photographs by Adrian Jones, who divides his time between Lancaster and London and is a collection of moments from a three-year journey taken with a ‘faerie’ found lost in a French garden.

"The Faerie is a reference to the subject's photography nickname Pixie, which is somewhat of an in-joke amongst photography friends and contacts,” Adrian explained.

“I changed Pixie to Faerie and added Furious because it seemed to capture her inner emotions regarding her interaction with the world outside of art.

The work itself is something of an emotional log, an exploration of one person's character and how they both portray themselves and are portrayed or perceived by others. In the end, we never really know who she is, she remains a mystery."

As well as being a photographer, Adrian is also a composer, experimental film-maker and audio producer. Earlier this year he set up his own production company,Vexations.

The Furious Faerie runs until 13th October 2013 and you can also view images on Adrian's Vexations web site. Prints of all the images featured are available as limited numbered and signed editions (framed and unframed), please enquire via email for pricing and availability. Details also available during the exhibit

• The Dukes gallery is open from 10am to 11pm, Monday to Saturday. Please call the box office on 01524 598500 to check opening times if you’re making a special journey as occasionally the space is closed to the public.

Dukes and Age UK Lancashire 'Journeying Together' project gets new funding

A pioneering project to help people with dementia and their families enjoy films, theatre and the arts in Lancaster has received a funding boost.

Journeying Together is a unique collaboration between Age UK Lancashire and The Dukes which was launched last year.

The pilot programme proved such a success that it will continue thanks to a grant of almost £16,500 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation - funding that will support more films, theatre events and arts activities at The Dukes.

These events are specifically adapted for older people with dementia and their families but are also open to the general public. Age UK Lancashire know of no similar programme elsewhere.

“We aim to generate wide public interest, and work with leisure, public and private organisations to change perceptions of dementia,” explained Age UK Lancashire’s Divisional Manager, Carol Taylor.

Journey Cafes are also part of the initiative, offering advice in the social setting of The Dukes Café Bar.

Pilot events at The Dukes so far have been warmly welcomed with one visitor commenting: “It was lovely meeting people who are not afraid to talk to us. It stops us being isolated at home.”

The forthcoming series of activities will be co-ordinated by new project officer, Angela Norris who has worked in Lancaster for many years as a health promotion specialist and a community engagement officer.

The aim of Journeying Together is to reduce the loneliness and social isolation which people with dementia and their relatives can suffer but the project also plans to create innovative ways of overcoming some of the obstacles to going out by looking at access to transport and having ‘volunteer buddies.’

• If you are interested in finding out more about the project or in volunteering, please contact Age UK Lancashire on 0300 303 1234

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Lancaster Police partners with Blades St Mosque for community footie match

Moghuls FC and Lancaster Police Teams
before the game 
Lancaster Police and the city’s Blade Street Mosque came together last night to play a community football game.

A team of police officers and staff and players from local team Moghuls F.C. representing the mosque played a seven-a-side game against each other at the University of Cumbria’s Lancaster campus, with the Moghuls F.C. players coming out the victors with a 6-0 win.

Sgt John Bond of Lancaster Police’s Community Cohesion Unit said: “All I can say is it’s a good job we had a good goalkeeper, as they could have had ten more otherwise!

“The bruised egos of a few police officers aside, the whole event went really well. All the officers had a great time and really enjoyed the opportunity to engage with a section of our local community in a different way.

“Making sure we are engaging with and building relationships with all the different communities in the area is a vitally important part of our jobs, and plans are already underway to organise another game.

“Clearly, we’ll have to make sure we get some more training sessions done before the next game though!"

You can follow Moghuls FC on twitter at
Lancaster Area Police are on facebook at

DECC online survey - high-level nuclear waste dump under Lake District?

Nuclear waste flasks bound for Sellafield
Last week's news of a derailment on the Manchester - Barrow line of a train carrying flasks contaminated by radioactive waste (but not full, we are told), has come at a bad time for the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) who had just launched their online survey for your views on their proposed nuclear waste dump under the Lake District.

The DECC offers a further public consultation on "the site selection process for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) for higher activity radioactive waste, as part of the 'Managing Radioactive Waste Safely' programme".

A 'Geological Disposal Facility' is another way of saying 'a hole in the ground'. In this case the hole would be under Ennerdale in the Lake District National Park. It would be deeper than Scafell is high, under an area bigger than Carlisle. The containers that go into the hole should be designed to last 300,000 years, although this is not specified in the proposals. Sections of the store would need to be thermostatically monitored and any coolant used would itself become radioactive and require safe storage. The whole installation must be radiation proofed and sealed from leakage into nearby aquifers and the water table, and maintained expertly and safely for 300,000 years.

Plans rejected 
The proposals have already been turned down forcefully by Cumbria County Council, almost every Parish Council in the region,  a Public Inquiry, a Judicial Review and every previous consultation.

This consultation has the aim of gathering views on 'how aspects of the siting process could be revised and improved.' The framing of the consultation asks for your preferences around some of the details of a dump for high level radioactive waste under the Lake District National Park at Ennerdale. It fails to take on board that the regional population have made it abundantly clear, through DECC's many and varied approaches, that they do not want one there at all.

Skewed consultation?
A consultation is said to be 'skewed' when it offers a choice between two or three options which are all basically versions of the same thing, rather than offering choices of rejection, or alternate ideas.   The ensuing results can only show which of the given options is preferred, rather than showing if people would have preferred not to do any of them, but to do something else instead.

A public consultation should not be addressed as if it were a multiple choice quiz. Participants should feel free to outline their own opinions in the fields provided,  and do not have to accept or be limited by the options presented, if these do not accurately represent their views.

Short term economics....
The immediate economics behind the proposal of a High-level Radioactive waste dump require it to attract 'dowried' waste from overseas. Countries that do not want the pollution of their own toxic high-level waste on their own soil would pay to have it taken off their hands,  possibly already in poor quality containment (hence their enthusiasm to pay for its removal).  In the short term this would attract funding, and involve some enormously juicy construction contracts and executive pay-outs, but no government can sign a 300,000 year storage lease.

Ennerdale Water, Lake District National Park
.... endless legacy
As humanity passes through times of austerity, war, accident, climate change or epidemic, eventually, as all things do, the structure of the GDF and the containers within it would age and deteriorate beyond repair or safe maintenance.  Assuming a way could be found to prevent the stored waste overheating,  the time would inevitably come when the GDF doors would be sealed and the area cleared and abandoned to high level contamination.  This would already be penetrating the regional water table and coastal waters, and those who could leave would have done so already.  Our generations inherited a stunningly beautiful and inspirational natural heritage protected as a National Park.  Our legacy would be a toxic wasteland and generations plagued by disease and defects.

The more sustainable solution
Vast quantities of highly toxic and potentially unstable waste should not be concentrated in one area, with overwhelming disaster potential. Given that the sites where the waste is produced are already contaminated for the unforeseeable future, and that transporting hazardous waste is clearly risky and cannot be accepted as a routine exercise, it is safer to build smaller storage facilities for it where it is produced. In this way, as power stations are decommissioned, the workforce would already be there on the ground with the required expertise, local committment and ethos to manage it safely. It would mean that if one had a problem, it could turn to the others for help. New containment technologies could be developed and tried on a smaller and less potentially disasterous scale.

The long-term management of its radioactive waste should be accepted as a component of the decommissioning cost of every nuclear facility. It is not acceptable to dump the problem of the world's nuclear waste on the people of Cumbria, in the National Park of the 'unloved' North West, and ultimately leave them to deal with it.

The DECC consultation follows a Call for Evidence earlier in the year, which ran from May to June. DECC tell us that "The evidence obtained from this, as well as information gathered from direct engagement with stakeholders and international bodies, has informed the proposals in the consultation document." The new proposals do not include any changes or additional safety measures - they offer targeted political sweeteners aimed at buying a wedge of local support with which to prise the proposals through. Those targeted are expected to duly register their appreciation in their consultation responses.

The consultation document can be found at:

This page links on to the online survey at:

The consultation will run for three months, closing on 5 December 2013, and will include a series of deliberative events nationally with members of the public and interested parties until DECC get the answers they want.

See also: Radiation Free Lakeland website.

Lancaster publisher documents history of Blackburn Orphanage

Lancaster-based Fleetfoot Books has just published  James Dixon's Children by Melanie Warren, offering an insight into the origins of Blackburn Orphanage.

James Dixon, born in 1855, was the founder of the Orphanage. A contemporary of Dr Barnardo, during his lifetime he was a well-known local personality and fundraiser and utilised his skills as a marketer, entrepreneur, preacher and businessman to bring about remarkable philanthropic community giving to achieve his vision of a children's home for the vulnerable, poor and needy.

This book tells his story, from his humble beginnings as a Sunday School teacher in Scotland to his greatest achievement, an orphanage that became the foundation of a charity that continues to work with 6,000 children and young people in need every year. This fascinating history uses liberal excerpts from the extensive archives of Blackburn Orphanage which were uncovered in 2010 as part of a Heritage Lottery funded project.

The orphans records themselves provide us with a remarkable picture of the society of the period from 1850. With extracts from Dixon's personal diary, Warren helps the reader to understand the drive and determination of the man, whose achievements were the result of a moral imperative so strong it brooked no argument.

Using archive material, including excerpts from the fund-raising magazine Rags & Rubies and letters from the children themselves, the book describes the social conditions and desperate family situations endured by these children before their admission.

Under the care of James and his wife, Jane, these children would grow to be healthy, Christian, successful adults and their letters 'home' clearly show their gratitude.

James Dixon died, aged 80, in 1936 but his work still continues in the charity now known as Child Action Northwest.

Pedestrian found injured on Morecambe Road

Police are appealing for information after a 23 year old man was found injured on the side of the road in Lancaster.

The man was found on the pavement close to Carlisle Bridge on Morecambe Road at around 4.00am yesterday (24th September).

It would appear that he had various injuries, including leg injuries, but the circumstances surrounding how he came by them are unclear.

Officers are investigating the possibility that he may have been hit by a vehicle which had failed to stop.

The man was taken to Royal Lancaster Infirmary where he remains receiving treatment for his injuries. His condition is described as stable.

PC Peter Black from the Road Policing Unit said: “The circumstances around how this man came by his injuries are very unclear. We are investigating the possibility however, that he could have been hit by a car and so we would be very keen to speak to anyone that witnessed a collision on Morecambe Road between around 3.25am and 3.40am.

“Anyone with any information at all that could assist with our investigation is asked to contact us on 101 quoting log number LC-20130924-0147.”

Police appeal following Moorgate assault

Detectives are appealing for information after an assault in Lancaster earlier this month on Moorgate.

The incident happened at around 6.30pm on Thursday 19th September, at the junction of Moorgate and Ullswater Road, outside Cutting Corners hairdressers.

The male offender approached the victim from behind, jumped on him and proceeded to punch him to the ground, where he then continued to kick the man in his body and head  before walking away.

The victim, a local man in his 50’s, was fortunately only left with cuts and bruises.

DC Paul Donnelly said, “This would appear to be an unprovoked attack, so we are appealing for any witnesses to come forward and contact us if they have any information they think could be of use to the investigation.”

• Anyone with information is asked to call Lancashire Police on 101 quoting log number LC-20130919-1149 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Lancaster man sentenced for burglary

Dominic Blaney, 26, of Sycamore Gardens, Heysham, was sentenced to four years and four months’ imprisonment at Preston Crown Court yesterday, having previously been found guilty of a dwelling burglary.

The offence took place on Saturday 24th August of this year when Dominic entered a property on Willow Lane via an insecure dining room window, took car keys for a vehicle parked outside the house before stealing the vehicle.

PC Sarah Jackson of Lancaster CID said “This was a frightening experience for the occupants, who woke to find an intruder in their home. Dominic then fled the scene and proceeded to drive away in their vehicle.

"It is right he received a lengthy custodial sentence for such an audacious crime, and I hope the sentence acts as a deterrent for others.

“What this offence highlights is the importance of always keeping your property secure, even when you’re at home, as Dominic entered through a small window the occupants had left open overnight. Thieves will exploit every possible opportunity, and so, we all have to do everything we can to make it as difficult as possible for them.”

Residents are urged to:
  • Ensure front and back doors are locked and windows closed when leaving the house, or going to bed
  • If windows are open while you are in during the day, keep them on a secured latch so that they cannot be opened further from outside
  • Keep side gates locked
  • Consider fitting outdoor security lighting
  • Keep an eye on neighbouring properties and if you see anything suspicious contact police

Further crime prevention advice is available by visiting

• Anyone with information or concerns about burglary can contact police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

A Chance To Find Out About Special Constables

Lancashire residents can find out all about the roles of Special Constables in a question and answer session on Twitter on Friday 27 September.

Hosted by Special Constabulary Chief Officer Nigel Walters between 3pm – 4pm, people can tweet @LancsSCCOTeam their questions on everything on how to get involved, what work they do, what commitment is required and application testing.

The question and answer session is the second to be held over the last couple of months after the last one in August was a huge success, with more than 40 questions asked in 60 minutes.

Chief Officer Walters says: “The Q & A's bring the online public closer to communicate with real officers in real time, albeit through a computer. We can demonstrate the professional and human interest side that is often not portrayed in the media, as well as explaining our Special Constabulary application process.”

Lancashire Constabulary has a total of 443 Special Constables. They have full police powers and perform the same duties as regular office. These can range from general patrol to policing of football matches and road traffic incidents.

Last year around 400 Special Constabulary officers contributed over 120,000 hours of volunteering, working alongside their regular police officer colleagues and police community support officers. They wear the same uniform as police officers and are issued with the same equipment.

Aged 18 and above, they work flexible hours with a minimum requirement of four hours per week. Anyone interested in finding out more about the work of the Special Constabulary should call 01772 410392.

Police warning over ‘advance fee frauds’

Officers from Lancashire’s Economic Crime Unit are trying to raise awareness of an emerging fraud involving the offer of loans which require “up- front fees”

Victims who may have been searching the internet for loans, have been contacted by telephone from people purporting to be from a loan company advising the victim that their request for a loan was successful.

They are then told that before the loan funds can be transferred, the “loan company” requires an arrangement fee to be sent to them by money transfer system first. Once this has been done, further high pressure calls are made to victims requesting more money for various reasons. No loan funds are ever received.

There are also instances where, during the process, money has been paid into a victim’s account and they have then been asked to forward them on by a money transfer businesses such as Western Union.

Enquiries have revealed that similar scams are taking place around the country and the victims are normally people who find it difficult to obtain loans. Agreeing to provide a loan to people who find it difficult to get credit is the “hook” that the fraudsters use to draw their victims in.

DC Scott Griffin of Lancashire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit advises that this type of offence is a type of advance fee fraud. He said; “These scammers are targeting desperate and vulnerable people with offers of loans.

“I would advise anyone applying for a loan in these circumstances to stop and think – especially if a company asks you to provide money up front.

“Be especially cautious if asked to send money by Western Union or other money transfer providers or if you receive money into your account and you are asked to transfer it on to a third party. In these circumstances, victims are being used as money mules and forwarding on money that has been scammed from other victims.”

• Anyone who has been the victim of advance fee fraud can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at


Lancashire County Council commended for Making Runaways Safer

Lancashire County Council has been commended by The Children’s Society today in a new report – Making Runaways Safer – for its commitment to improving services for young people who go missing.

The county council's work is highlighted as an example of good practice in the report, launched to coincide with the first anniversary of the children’s charity’s Runaways Charter, alongside a new a tool for local authorities to help them respond better to young people who go missing.

Research from The Children’s Society shows that running away is an indicator something is wrong in a child’s life. While missing many are at serious risk of being sexually exploited or becoming involved in crime or gangs.

County Councillor Chris Henig, lead member for families at Lancashire County Council, said: “Experience shows that young runaways potentially put themselves at high risk of falling into all kinds of trouble. Our work to reduce the number of young people running away from care is aimed at protecting these vulnerable young people.

“This work is based around very strong partnership working focussing on runaways and child sexual exploitation (CSE).

"This has allowed the police, social services and The Children’s Society - which provides frontline CSE and runaways support in the area through its Street Safe project - to develop innovative ways of responding to the different needs of young runaways, including those who aren’t reported as missing.”

Rob Jackson, area director for the Children’s Society in Lancashire, congratulated the authority for its efforts to help improve the outcomes for runaways in their area:

“I’d like to thank Lancashire County Council for its commitment to putting young runaways at the heart of what they do, and taking steps to create a safety net for young people in the area.

“It is still not too late for other local authorities to sign up to the Charter, or for people to champion the needs of young runaways by campaigning with us.”

• Local authorities and members of the public can get involved in making runaways safer at:

• Further information about action in Lancashire at: and search 'children who go missing'.


Police appeal following Lancaster assault

Police have released a CCTV image of a man they wish to speak to following an assault in Lancaster.

The incident happened in the early hours of Friday 23rd August at around 4 .25am outside the Lounge on Penny Street in Lancaster.

The offender, a man, approached the victim and punched them on the left cheek twice causing swelling.

Damage was also caused to a Peugeot 406.

The victim, a 19 year old local man was left shaken following the incident.

PC Claire Phillipson from Lancaster police said, “This appears to be an unprovoked attack on a man who was just enjoying a night out.

“If anyone recognises this man then I would ask them to contact us so we can track him down and speak to him.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Lancashire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at

No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Lancaster Police partners with local mosque for community football event

Lancaster Police and the city’s Blade Street Mosque have come together to organise a community football match tomorrow evening.

A team of police officers and staff and players from local team Moghuls F.C. representing the mosque will play a seven-a-side game against each other at the University of Cumbria’s Lancaster campus on Tuesday 24 September at 7.00pm.
Sergeant John Bond of Lancaster Police’s Community Cohesion Unit said: “A vital part of the job is engaging with the local community during our daily foot patrols and at events like this as well. It’s one of the best parts of the job, and this event should be particularly enjoyable.

“It is particularly important we make sure we are engaging with and building relationships with all the different communities in the area. People of all different races and religions love football, and so, it’s a great bit of common ground for us to use to build relationships with people.

“Also, playing sport with the public helps us to show we are more than just a person in a uniform and break down the barriers some people can have towards the police. For that reason, we would always welcome any community group who would like to play us at any sport."

Winning Waves for Morecambe Bay

Morecambe Bay water sports clubs are celebrating after being awarded major funding from Morecambe Town Council to host a Bay Watersports Festival.

Proposed for Summer 2014, the festival will see an array of water-sporting competitions, demonstrations and taster sessions from Morecambe Bay Kite-Surfing Club, Morecambe & Heysham Yacht Club and Lancaster & District Canoe Club, and will see Morecambe Bay shine as one of the town's most celebrated assets.

“We are truly delighted that the proposal has been received so warmly from Morecambe Town Council," said a spokesperson for the club. "All three clubs run on an entirely voluntary basis and we never anticipated just how well the individual club applications would be received to see a major events proposal emerge.

"The festival presents an exciting opportunity to animate Morecambe Bay and its waters for the town, and we would be delighted if other water and outdoors sporting clubs and operators would like to join us as part of their own independently managed activities, under a single festival banner.”

Following the decision made by Morecambe Town Council on Thursday of last week, early event plans are now being progressed.

Morecambe Bay Kite-Surfing Club covers the whole bay area for the the benefit of local riders, the local community and visitors, flying from The Battery at Morecambe West End. To get general and current information, check their club Facebook page.

The Morecambe & Heysham Yacht Club was started in 1936 by local fishermen who liked to race their boats an these down-to-Earth local beginnings are still reflected today in the character of the club. Their membership is open to everyone with an appropriate interest, has always had a very local base and consists of people with a shared enthusiasm for sailing in the Bay, or an interest in other water-sports such as wind-surfing, sub-aqua diving, power-boating or driving jet-skis. You don’t need to own a boat or be an active sailor to join the club, novices and social members are welcome too.  

Lancaster and District Canoe Club was founded in 1984 by a small group of canoeists who had discovered other Lancaster paddlers whilst exploring nearby rivers. Run on an entirely voluntary basis, the club has over the years introduced the sport to many local people, several of which are now fully qualified instructors.

For further information on any of the clubs please see / /