Thursday, 13 November 2014

There's a wind brewing - literally - at Lancaster Uni

The perfect time for a cuppa… when the wind blows.
From left: Dr Pete Newman, Dr Maria Angela Ferrario and Dr Will Simm

Researchers at Lancaster University have just designed a new piece of kit which determines the optimum time to brew up a cuppa in terms of impact on the environment. Windy Brew, as it is affectionately known, does what it says on the tin. It only allows the kettle to boil when the University’s own wind turbine is producing electricity.

Simple but very effective, the Windy Brew uses a cost effective, credit card sized, single board computer (a Raspberry Pi) and an off-the-shelf, radio controlled plug socket. It is the brainchild of Dr Will Simm, Dr Peter Newman, Dr Maria Angela Ferrario and Dr Stephen Forshaw.

Windy Brew has been inspired by a possible vision of the future where we can’t just use energy whenever and wherever we like, but have to synchronise our consumption to the availability of renewable energy sources rather than burning fossil fuels,” explains Senior Research Associate Dr Will Simm, from the University’s School of Computing and Communications.

“We thought about the tasks that we do here in the office and we do like our brews. What if were able to sync the times we make our brew with our renewable energy sources? Would it allow us to develop a sensitivity for renewable energy, which is not always available?"

The University’s Information Systems Services unit provided a live feed of data from the turbine direct to the research team giving a second by second report of energy outputs.

When the University turbine is generating power, the Raspberry Pi activates the radio controlled plug socket which, in turn, switches on the kettle and sends a tweet when it boils – the perfect ‘green’ brew.

This equipment, unlike others, is not about sourcing a cost effective energy supply,” said Dr Peter Newman. “It’s not about reducing energy consumption but it is about using energy more intelligently when it is more renewable. Reduced costs are a by-product benefit.”

The team have also worked on producing a night-time mobile phone charger using the same technology but which, if the turbine has also been dormant, kicks in to power-up the phone an hour before rise and shine time.

What we want to do now is look at more things on campus and see what we can add,” said Dr Newman. Future plans may well include a similar test drive project at the University’s laundry.

Windy Brew is one of a series of prototypes developed as part of the OnSupply project, which focuses on the remote island of Tiree, the outermost of the Scottish Inner Hebrides. The team work with the community  there to uncover the role of renewables and to support a community in making the best use of their renewable energy when it is available.

On Supply is part of the Catalyst Project, a community-led research initiative aimed at next generation digital technologies for social innovation and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

You can find out more about the University's wind turbine here.  The turbine is designed to stop automatically when it is sunny, in order to prevent or minimise 'shadow flicker' at properties within 700m.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Wake up, David Morris! Heysham displays house to house opposition to NHS sell-off

When Morecambe & Lunesdale MP David Morris scoffed that the 'No Health Selloff at Morecambe Bay' campaign didn't exist - and so didn't count - he really, seriously insulted its hundreds of local supporters. With hundreds of signs now going up outside houses in his constituency, he's going to have some difficulty pretending they don't exist now.

Households across 19 roads in Heysham South (so far) are taking a collective stand against the irreversible sell-off of their health services to America by raising 'Cameron & Hunt Estate Agency' boards with the clear message to ‘stop the sale’ and to veto the inclusion of the NHS in the EU-US trade deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

By removing regulatory standards the TTIP legislation would force open the UK healthcare market (and most other markets) to US companies with considerably lower standards.

More signs going up - pictures online
You can see more pictures of households displaying their signs going up all the time on the 'No Health Selloff at Morecambe Bay' campaign facebook page.

Delivering a clear message
Heysham south resident Jean Withers told us:

“Hundreds of households across Heysham South are delivering a clear message by raising ‘stop the sale signs’ in protest over the sell-off of their health services and David Cameron’s refusal to veto the NHS from the dangerous trade deal called TTIP.

“Not only is the government selling off the NHS they are putting it at risk of irreversible privatisation because of TTIP. We expect our local MP to call on Cameron to ensure he uses his veto in Europe to protect the NHS.

"David Morris never told us on the campaign trail in 2010 that his party was going to embark on the mass privatisation of the NHS. The government had no mandate to sell-off the NHS. This is a clear message to our MP and to the government that it’s time to take the 'for sale' sign down from our hospitals and GP services and put our cherished NHS back into public hands.”

Collective action
The collective action is the beginning of a nationwide movement by the People’s NHS national campaign across hundreds of neighbourhoods in England, Scotland and Wales. You can find out more about it at

The campaigners are angry that the UK’s entire health system is now up for sale because of the coalition government’s Health and Social Care Act. Since 2012 almost 70 per cent of NHS contracts put up for sale have gone to the private sector.

Tax breaks for private bids
One reason for this, the campaigners have discovered, is that private bidders are exempt from VAT - while NHS organisations bidding to continue providing services, such as hospital pharmacies, must include VAT costs in their bids, making real competition impossible and cheating the taxpayer.

The function of TTIP is to remove regulatory safeguards that obstruct profiteering (see our previous story on TTIP).  TTIP would make the sell-off irreversible. By removing regulatory standards it would force open the UK healthcare market to US companies with considerably lower standards. Local residents are protesting that David Cameron and our local MPs David Morris and Eric Ollerenshaw did not mention these plans when they were out campaigning during the 2010 general election campaign.

Locations so far
The actions are currently taking place across 19 streets in Heysham South including  Tomlinson Road,  Yewdale Avenue, Warton Avenue, Banks Crescent, Mortimer Grove, Kingsway, Headlands, School Road, Crime Well Lane, Carr Lane, Lee Court, Kingsmuir Close, Combermere Road, Fulmar Crescent, Redshank Drive, Tern Grove, Douglas Avenue, Seymour Grove, and Longlands Crescent.

See the 'No Health Selloff at Morecambe Bay' campaign facebook page.

Dukes seeks new Board Members

Robin Hood, just one of many successful Dukes shows in recent years. Photo: The Dukes

The Dukes, Lancaster is seeking new independent directors to help plan the next phase of its development.

The Dukes is a producing theatre, independent cinema and creativity centre and an essential part of Lancashire and Lancaster life.  Now, after six years of audience growth and increased creative output, the theatre needs new independent directors to join its board. 

Two vacancies have arisen which need to be filled and a third position will become vacant in May 2015.

As with the majority of publicly supported arts organisations, The Dukes is managed by a voluntary, unpaid board of directors. 

The company is looking for candidates with a broad background who are willing to offer their skills to enable The Dukes to achieve its ambitious goals.  It is particularly keen to recruit people who have experience of fundraising and in capital development.

• To request an application pack, contact Jacqui Wilson, theatre secretary, on 01524 598506; email or complete an information request form at the Box Office. The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 3rd December 2014.

Eric Morecambe Madness planned for March 2015

Photo courtesy Lancaster City Council

Eric Morecambe’s family have been officially invited to oversee reinstatement of his home town’s famous tribute following repair work.

On Thursday 11th December the Eric Morecambe statue will return to its rightful place on the promenade - but the event, and Eric's connection with the town, will be celebrated in style next March, to help kick start the new tourist season early.

The date has been set by the foundry making the repairs to the statue and also working around the commitments of the sculptor, Graham Ibbeson. It also marks the date Eric married his wife, Joan, and the family have been invited to see for themselves the reinstatement work.

The focus on the day will be the practical work of embedding the supporting structure for the statue, with an informal opportunity for the family to see the work taking place.

So, rather than try to organise a formal event on the day itself, Lancaster City Council can announce that it will be organising a special celebration next March.

“Naturally everyone will be very excited to see the statue back in its rightful place – Morecambe hasn’t felt quite the same," notes Councillor Ron Sands, cabinet member with responsibility for tourism.

“There has obviously been a lot of interest in celebrating the return and we’re keen to put on an official event.

“We want to celebrate the statue’s return by holding an event on a weekend that celebrates what the statue, and Eric Morecambe’s legacy, bring to the town but also kick starts the tourist season.

“Next March will be the ideal time because it will help kick-start the tourist season and hopefully the weather will be warmer – if someone can bring us sunshine!

“Over the coming months we’ll be speaking to everyone who has an interest in getting involved so we can put together a proper event that celebrates the statue’s return.”

Local Cinema Round-Up for 12th to 20th November 2014 by Peter Clarke

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

 We have five new releases during this period. There is biographical drama with Mr Turner (15) and an examination of the life of computer genius Alan Turing in The Imitation Game (12A). In addition there is the crime drama The Drop (15), comedy with Nativity 3: Dude where's my Donkey (U) and action fantasy with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (12A).

Unfortunately we have lost the film Love, Rosie. In addition, it looks like the movies Fury, Nightcrawler, Horns, Gone Girl, Dracula Untold and Annabelle will soon come to an end of their screening. However we do see the return of The Boxtrolls and The Hundred Foot Journey.

Special events during this period include the ever popular Film Quiz at the Dukes on Sunday. Also, to prepare for the latest Hunger Games, the Vue is screening a hunger games triple bill on the 19th. The Vue is also continuing with its season of Disney films, showing Frozen sing-a-long and Fantasia. Finally an event of note is Stage and Staged four short films by award winning artists being screened at the Dukes.


Director: John R Leonetti
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard
The film is set in California in the 1960's where a young couple move into their new home. The wife Mia (Wallis) is pregnant and has a hobby of collecting dolls. The husband John (Horton) is a medical student and he gives a creepy pigtailed doll to Mia to add to her collection. Yet the doll is possessed and with its acquisition comes a series of disturbances including slamming doors and the malfunctions of an elevator. Mia gives birth and the newborn is also threatened by these disturbances. The film is the prequel to 'The Conjuring' but was shot with limited budget. It borrows heavily from other horror movies and comes complete with cookie neighbour and helpful priest. However despite a rather stilted dialogue and lack of originality, it successfully builds suspense to become quite an effective horror movie.

Director: Chris Buck
Certificate PG
Cast Includes Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad,Alan Tudyk, Jonathan Groff
This Disney musical animation is loosely based on the fairy tale 'The Snow Queen' who has condemned a kingdom to eternal winter. It is up to Anna (sister to the snow queen) and a loner Kristoff to undertake an epic journey to find the Snow Queen and convince her to lift the icy spell. This is a magical movie destined to become a classic. It will appeal to families and children of all ages.

Director: David Ayer
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Brad Pitt, Scott Eastwood, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf
The film was written and directed by David Ayer following extensive research, and much of the filming took place in the UK. Set towards the end of the second world war, it tells the story of Sargent Dan 'Wardaddy' Collier (Pitt) and his crew of a Sherman tank as they undertake a mission behind enemy lines. One of the tank crew was recently killed in action and they are joined by a new recruit Norman Ellison (Lerman). The film shows war thought the eyes of Ellison as he becomes brutalized as a result of his experiences. All the actors give a stunning performance in this loud and intense portrayal of the violence and ugliness of war. An authentic and memorable war film.

Gone Girl
Director: David Fincher
Certificate: 18
Cast Includes: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike
The film is based on, and is pretty much true to, the best selling book by Gillan Flynn. It is the fifth wedding anniversary of the Dunne's. Nick Dunne (Affleck) goes for a drive, and returns to find his wife Amy (Pike) is gone and the house ransacked. He reports her as missing to the police and initially he is treated with sympathy. However as time passes he becomes a prime suspect. The film is told in a broken time-line and we see in flashbacks that the marriage had started to fail. However is Nick guilty of murdering his wife? The film is a psychological thriller with the plot taking a sharp turn in the latter half of the film. This is an excellent, must see, movie.

Director: Alexandre Aja
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Kelli Garner, James Remar
Ignatius (Ig) Perrish (Radcliffe) is a small town DJ whose girlfriend and childhood sweetheart Merrin (Temple) is murdered. Ig finds himself the prime suspect with the town locals turning on him. He wakes one morning to find horns starting to grow from his temples and these confer powers. He finds people confess to him their sins and he can easily persuade others to act on their base impulses. With these powers Ig is able to seek his sweetheart's murderer and to exact a revenge. The movie is based on the novel by Joe Hill and it uses flashbacks to develop the relationship between Ig and Merrin. This is a film that breaks new ground and is difficult to categorize, being part murder mystery part religious satire but mainly a dark comedy. It is not destined to be a classic supernatural film but worth seeing. for its originality.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Matthew McConaughey, Casey Affleck, Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine.
The earth is facing environmental disaster. Dust storms are common and crops are failing. Cooper (McConaughey) a farmer, but formerly a top pilot, is recruited by Professor Brand (Caine), to fly a final mission taking a team of specialists through a newly discovered wormhole to find a planet in a far solar system that could be a new home for humanity. This is a big budget very grandiose film full of action and spectacular scenery as the crew search to see if there is a future for mankind. It is however a little low on humour and at times requires some suspension of disbelief but in all it is a great movie.

Mr Turner
Director: Mike Leigh
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Timothy Spall, Marion Bailey
A biographical dramatization of the life of English painter J. M. W Turner. The film starts when Turner is aged 51 and working in his London studio. It follows Turner through depressions following his father's death up until the painters own death in 1851 when he was living in Chelsea with his mistress Sophie Booth (Bailey). Spall gives a great performance as Turner, bringing out his humanity and eccentricity. A very enjoyable movie.

Director: Dan Gilroy
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ann Cusak, Rene Russo
Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) is a petty thief with no family and few morals. One night he comes across film crew, filming an accident. He realizes there is money to be made in free-lance journalism, filming victims of accidents and crime and then selling the footage to news stations for broadcast. Lou gets a camcorder, a radio to listen to police broadcasts, and throws himself with enthusiasm into making this his career. His first scoop is bought by journalist Nina (Russo) and so a partnership forms. Lou never has qualms about his new profession and as the film develops he increasingly adopts an attitude of anything is permissible for the best footage. The film is set in contemporary LA and most of the action takes place at night. This is a riveting, disturbing and very original movie, providing a satire on modern journalism.

Director: Stiles White
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Olivia Cooke, Douglas Smith, Daren Kagasoff, Shelly Hennig
Debbie (Hennig) confesses to playing with an Ouija board but she is murdered. Her friend Laine (Cooke) decides to investigate her death by using the Ouija board to contact Debbie's spirit and to this end she enlists the help of a group of friends. They hold a seance in Debbie's house. However, they inadvertently connect with a murderous spirit which starts to attack them. The whole is a competent horror film complete with ghosts, unexpected noises and frights for the viewer. Given the film was released just before Halloween, it merits a visit to the cinema.

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Certificate: PG
Cast Includes: Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Om Puri, Charlotte Le Bon
A Walt Disney adaptation of the 2010 novel by Richard C Morais. The Kadam's are an Indian family that were displaced due to political rioting. They arrive at a quaint but rather conservative French Village and decide to open an Indian Restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. However just across the road is a classical, Michelin starred restaurant Le Saule Pleureur run by Madame Mallory (Mirren). This leads to fall-outs and ultimately sabotage between the two institutions. Meanwhile Hassan (Dayal) the master cook of the Indian restaurant begins a flirtation with Marguerite (Le Bon), the sous chef of Mme Mallory's restaurant. This is a well acted and endearing movie with plenty of laughs. Entertaining but lacking suspense.

The Maze Runner
Director: Wes Ball, Douglas Cumming
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Kaya Scodelario, Dylan O'Brien
Thomas (O' Brien) awakes with no memory to find himself trapped with dozens of other boys inside an enclosure with towering walls. He subsequently discovers this to be a gigantic maze. He integrates in the society of boys, becoming one of the runners, a sub group who try to map the maze and find a way out. Attacking the boys are Grievers which are giant spider like creatures who also inhabit the maze. Thomas has dreams about an organisation called W.C.K.D. and he must uncover his purpose and find a way to escape. The movie is a decent adaption of the best selling novel by James Dashner, the first in a trilogy. The acting is strong and the depiction of the maze and its grandeur is very impressive. The movie is aimed at young adults but it contains some violence and the whole has a rather joyless atmosphere. The ending was somewhat complicated, designed perhaps to pave the way for the forthcoming sequel.

Beatlemania celebrates the Fab Four at The Platform

A mesmerising and inspirational show for all fans of the Fab Four comes to The Platform this weekend, with an authentic performance that celebrates possibly the most successful and endearing act in the history of popular music.

The Beatles played Morecambe twice, on 29th August 1962 and 18th January 1963, at The Floral Hall - a venue that is now but a memory, but which, in its heyday, saw live bands playing on seven mornings and seven nights a week in summer, and four in winter.

The Beatles at The Floral Hall in January 1963. Photo via Bonhams

Very little seems to be remembered about The Beatles' performances today, although rare pictures of one of their appearances have been sold at London auction house Bonhams.

Beatlemania is a show captures the passion, energy and excitement of those early shows with a band regarded as one of the world’s foremost Beatles’ tribute acts.
Beatlemania recreates the legendary live performances of The Beatles from their ‘moptop’ roots, through the psychedelia of Sergeant Pepper then on to the final years of Abbey Road and Let It Be.

Beatlemania consists of Paul McDonough as John Lennon, David Peterson as Paul McCartney, Rich Jevons as George Harrison and Dave Gee as Ringo Starr, and the band has performed for stars such as David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Richard Branson and Madonna.

This line-up, with more than 20 years international experience, has firmly established Beatlemania as the band for Beatles fans to witness,performing to thousands of people each year.

This unique and captivating show presents an opportunity to experience the phenomenon of Beatlemania in a town where The Beatles first started to gain popular acclaim.

• Beatlemania takes place at The Platform Theatre, Marine Road Central, Morecambe, LA4 4DB, on Friday 14th November at 7.30pm. Tickets can be purchased online from or by calling 01524 582394

The Duo to play George and Dragon for Lancaster PubFest

The Duo – from folk to Floyd will be playing at The George and Dragon (St George’s Quay, Lancaster) this Saturday, 15th November 2014. They’ll start, as usual, at about 9.00pm and perform two sets of songs and tunes, ending at some little time after 11.00pm.

The pub is under new management and serves some very fine ale.

"This gig is part of the Lancaster PubFest and it’s been yonks and yonks since The Duo played here." says Tony Cooke, "So it would be completely ace to see some of our friends there smilin’ singin’ and avinabeer!"

Running until Sunday 16th November, the Lancaster PubFest , which starts today, is a five day celebration of the City’s unique and vibrant Pub and Cask Ale heritage. 29 Cask Ale Pubs of all varieties and styles offer a choice of beers from 160 hand pumps - all less than half a mile’s stroll from the Market Square in the heart of the city. (The full list of events is here)

(The next Duo public gig is 27th December in the Golden Lion - more about that  soon.

• The Duo – from folk to Floyd:

Local visitor information centres nominated for national tourism award

Morecambe and Lancaster Visitor Information Centres (VICs) have been nominated for a prestigious national tourism award in the Visit England Awards for Excellence 2015.

Having been the highest performing VICs shortlisted in the Customer Service Award category of the recent Lancashire Tourism awards, judges decided to nominate the centres to represent Lancashire in the Visitor Information Provider category of the national Visit England awards, which showcase the very best England has to offer.

Councillor Ron Sands, Cabinet member with responsibility for tourism and leisure, said:  “This nomination to represent Lancashire in such a prestigious national competition, is testament to the hard work and dedication of our VIC staff and recognises the city council’s commitment to tourism, which remains a vitally important industry to our area.”

Morecambe and Lancaster VICs are run by Lancaster City Council, in partnership with Lancashire County Council and based in the Platform buildings in Morecambe and the Storey building in Lancaster.

• For more information about tourism in the Lancaster district visit  

Frontierland developer approved - gold rush stampede invited!

How Opus North see the new Frontierland development

On Monday Lancaster City Council approved Opus North’s planning application for Frontierland, the 10 acre 'Polo Tower' site, formerly an amusement park, on Morecambe's Marine Drive.

The proposed scheme will deliver around 7,870 sq.m of   retail area plus 3,935 sq.m of retail mezzanine area. It will also include eateries, a family pub / restaurant, a 62 bed hotel, associated car parking, landscaping and public art and you can read more about the proposals by clicking here.

Permission is conditional on referral to the Secretary of State, but it's unlikely to be turned down now. Coun Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for Regeneration and Planning laid down a challenge for the developers saying:

“Now the city council’s planning committee has approved the plans it’s down to Opus to be true to their word by implementing the planning permission and attracting top quality retailers.

More than 10 years ago the site gained approval for a ‘Freeport’ style development which was never implemented because the retailers could not be found. We certainly don’t want that to happen again and all the talk is that this development will help to lead the renaissance of Morecambe.

“We need top quality retailers to do that but cannot regulate the quality and identity of particular retailers who will take the first tenancies.

“Opus have convinced the people of Morecambe that the development will attract top quality retailers, but so far we have had no indication from the developer as to the names of any that have expressed a specific interest in the scheme. 

“The city council has supported the developer’s vision.  The ball is now with Opus and it’s down to them to make this development one which will make Morecambe proud and not to saddle us with yet another forlorn hope.” 

So, no pressure there then.

British Land, who hope, eventually, to come up with a viable plan for their site at Lancaster's Canal Corridor (no they do, really), and Morecambe's Arndale Centre (the only shopping centre I ever saw with no loos) both seem more optimistic about the new development's potential - and opposed it - worrying that the competition might be harmful to their own business prospects.

It's time everybody upped their game. We can only hope that the new Frontierland really does push back some boundaries and offers something more interesting than the endless racks of crippling shoes, floppy viscose tops, sausage skin lycra and scratchy undies that continue to infest the high street on a stale and predictable journey from sweatshop to landfill. That's the real developer's challenge.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Fracking poses risk to public health says County Council assessment

Toxic seepage:
Cuadrilla's original drilling site at Preece Hall Farm
(photo taken before site was shut down)
Last Thursday Lancashire County Council considered the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on Lancashire’s two fracking site applications (Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood) from Cuadrilla.

The HIA makes it clear that the current level of regulatory safeguards governing this new industry is not sufficient to protect public health. You can view the document by clicking here.

The council has until New Year's Eve to decide whether to grant the applications, or whether to keep the gas in the ground and save it (and the surrounding environment) as a potential resource for a future generation and future technology.

In the same week Private Eye posted an update on Cuadrilla's leaking drillshaft at Preece Hall Farm, (pictured) lying about 5 miles this side of Blackpool. They report that the pipe casing supposed to seal the abandoned shaft has buckled. Pressure readings indicate that  gas or heavily toxic and radioactive fracking waste fluids are seeping up.  Unfortunately Cuadrilla have no log for the cement-bond work that should seal in the casing, because the Health & Safety Executive, perhaps following David Cameron's frack-friendly policy, told them early on they needn't bother keeping one. Cuadrilla is now seeking permission to grass over and leave the site, formerly farmland, now potentially a hazardous toxic wasteland, as it is, as they move onto new pastures.

Similar problems have also been reported at the Rathlin Energy test drilling site at West Newton in Yorkshire. These casing leaks are thought to be caused by the seismic instability triggered by the fracking process, in which high pressure fluids are used to force open subterranean rock fissures, resulting in unpredictable fault line slippage and earth tremors.

On Saturday the Lancashire Association of Local Councils (LALC) at its AGM overwhelmingly approved a resolution that:

"LALC and NALC urge individual Parish & Town Councils to oppose applications for fracking in their areas, in recognition that the potential damage to the environment is irreversible and no payment from fracking companies can compensate for any such damage.’

Gina Dowding, Lancashire’s Green County Councillor said:

“The Health Impact Assessment raises far more questions about the health impacts of Fracking than it answers. The report is unable to specifically say that the industry is safe, and recommends that a number of safeguards are needed to protect against the risks. The report also says that many of these should be in place before any activity goes ahead by the industry. I think the public should be aware of  this report before Fracking takes root in our County:

“Firstly the chemicals used in the Fracking process in the USA have been linked to cancer and low birth weight in infants. Respected organizations like Breast Cancer UK - whose sole aim is to prevent breast cancer- are so concerned that they are calling for a moratorium on all exploration and licensing due to their concerns about the potentially adverse health effects of increased exposure to harmful chemicals.

"The industry should be required to prove beyond doubt before it starts drilling that it will not damage people's health - now or in the future. The suggestion in the report that a baseline study of the long term health impacts is needed is not going to be much use to anyone who develops cancer in a few years time as a result of the Fracking industry.

“Secondly the report acknowledges that the current regulations in place in the UK which are there to protect the public’s health are inadequate to properly regulate the Fracking industry.

"One of its 45 recommendations (R37) is that the Department of Energy and Climate Change should consider bringing the relevant regulations into a single onshore oil and gas specific regulatory framework to enable a safer and sustainable development of the industry.

“Lancashire County Council has already called for an industry-specific regulatory body to be set up and the Government has refused to do this. Until we have this, Lancashire’s residents cannot be sure that their health and environment will be properly protected.

 “There is actually very little substantial evidence of economic benefit to the local community, but it appears that Lancashire’s residents are being asked to bear the cost of all of the risks involved.”

Woman, 22, missing from home in Lancaster

Updated at 6.14pm: Lancashire Police report that Ms Wilson has been found in Glasgow and they have cancelled their appeal.

Police are appealing for information about a young woman who is missing from her home in Lancaster.

Cassandra Wilson, 22, normally speaks to her parents daily but they have not heard from her since 9.00pm on Sunday (9th November) and so officers are growing increasingly concerned for her welfare.

She is described as a white, 4ft 11ins, slim build with long red hair. She speaks with a southern accent.

PC Mark Finch from Lancaster Police said: “I would appeal to anyone who may have seen Cassandra or knows where she is to get in contact.

“Similarly, I would appeal to Cassandra herself if she is seeing this appeal to come forward and to let us know she is okay.”

• Anybody with any information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at

Police appeal following fail to stop road collision in Lancaster

Police are appealing for information after a car was damaged following a fail to stop collision in Lancaster on Monday 3rd November.

 The collision happened at around 5.30pm on Aldcliffe Road and involved a silver Mercedes. The other vehicle failed to stop at the scene and officers are appealing to trace it.

 PC John Stephenson of the West Road Policing Unit said: “I am appealing to anyone who witnessed the collision, or who saw any other cars which were damaged in the surrounding areas of Blade Street or Dallas Road to contact us on 101.”

• Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting log reference LC-20141103-1044. Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.