Lunt Meadows – Habitat Creation

 Yesterday I went to a fascinating drop-in session held by the Environment Agency in the Punch Bowl Pub in Sefton Village.

 The event was to update Lunt and Homer Green residents on the Agency’s planned work to tackle ‘over-topping’ of the River Alt and to create a wildlife habitat in the and around the flood storage area.

 This project goes back many years and previously the Environment Agency had been planning for a bigger and more environmentally intrusive solution. However, the experience of the Alt over-topping its bunds in 2010 led to the computer modelling of the consequences of such flooding being scaled back. In other words it now seems that the works do not need to be so intrusive on the landscape.

 Whilst I was at the event, for around half an hour, I spoke to a couple of residents who had turned up to see what the news would be and from my assessment of things it looks like folks are happier with the scaled back works. The habitat creation was also being looked at favourably and I understand that Lancashire Wildlife Trust will manage such things.

 I have lived in Maghull for 43 years so I can claim to be almost a local now! I recall the Alt flooding (and Dovers Brook) over the years and that the area around it was, in my lifetime, either agricultural or tip land. Now the tipping has stopped and the area that took up has been landscaped. Agriculture has also been scaled back and some farm land sold to the Forestry Commission who have planted it and the former tip land with trees, bushes etc. So times move on and land uses change but the Alt, which is the main ‘drain’ for surface water for miles around, still continues to perform that function as it will for many more generations.

 Some years ago I new an elderly gentleman who had been born in Sefton Village and he told me how when the Alt flooded in the winter locals would skate on the frozen fields. I think this activity would have gone on in the early part of the last century.

 So an enjoyable time was had at the drop-in session by me and I have asked the Environment Agency to let me have a note of the comments made by residents throughout the 4 hours they were running the event.

Fracking – Is it safe? – We need to know the facts

My Lib Dem colleague and MP for Southport, Dr. John Pugh, has been asking search questions about about ‘Fracking’ for gas/oil. It is presently taking place in West Lancashire but the activity could well be spreading out and getting closer to more of Sefton’s communities.

Check out my good friend Ian Brodie-Browne’s blog (see my link to Birkdale Focus) for more information. After the earthquake in the Blackpool area which was, we are told, a consequence of ‘Fracking’ strong assurances are clearly required!

Maghull’s Firework Display – Another successful year BUT only just!

For the first year in very many I was not at this year’s display, then again at one point no one was going to be there as the Town Council, under Labour, had threatened that it was not going ahead.

I am told by those attending, whom I have spoken to, that it went very well and I am genuinely glad about that. Yes, Labour made a right old mess of things with their threats about this annual community event not happening in 2011 but thankfully they did a ‘U’ turn.

Yesterday, I ran into a resident in Maghull who came up to me and said ‘thanks for saving the fireworks display; we all know it was the Lib Dems who fought to keep it’. Such comments are both welcome and very interesting in that clearly, despite Labour’s ‘U’  turn and even their denial of their own original statements about the display not going ahead, the message picked up by Joe and Jane Public is one Labour would rather they had not picked up. 

Every year this event happens and every year I think of how it started off as a voluntary community effort organised by the Round Table. Long may their good works in Maghull be remembered and long may Maghull Town Council take the lead in making the display happen as it promised it would when the event got too big for the Round Table to take forward in 1990’s. Please no excuses in 2012, let’s just get on with it and be proud to be doing so.

Public Sector Pensions again – A view on the promised mass industrial action from a different perspective

I got into conversation with a senior manager working in the public sector the other day and they came up with an angle that I had briefly pondered on but then thought no more of.

Their theory is that whilst Government is trying to find ways to persuade the unions not to strike it is actually, from a short term financial perspective, in the Government’s interest for the strike to take place! As all the striking workers are paid out of the public purse the fact that they are in effect going to hand back a day’s wages to their various employers will mean that the employers will be able to use at least some of that money to help balance their books in the present financial year. Yes, in areas where the strike impact means that others have to be paid to cover the work there is no saving but this will only be a small part of the savings made by employers on 30th November.

The question is then, are we trade unionists who will be on strike on 30th November simply electing to pay an extra one day of tax and/or volunteering to help our employer balance their 2011/12 budget. A bit off the usual industrial relations script these thoughts but how many senior managers in the public sector are there who are hoping the strike will go ahead because it will deliver salary savings for their hard pressed organisation?

Taxi, Taxi, Taxi…….!

Our door bell went at about 11.30pm last night and there was a taxi awaiting me. Trouble was I had not ordered it! It went away but then was followed by at least two more in the next half hour.

Looks like someone was playing silly beggars, at least that is what one of the taxi drivers thought, so he put a call into to his Delta controller to stop further visits.

I suppose this amused someone but taxi drivers are trying to make a living and they could do without being sent to addresses where there is no business to be done.

Sefton Central Labour – The gloss is certainly coming off!

Trade unions did everything they could to help Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson get elected at the last General Election and to also get Labour councillors elected. But 18 months on the trade union movement seems to have turned on Mr. Esterson in a row over pension contributions. The Daily Post has the story:-

http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2011/10/18/sefton-mp-bill-esterson-at-centre-of-mp-pensions-row-92534-29612906/

However, when you look a little more widely it looks like the gloss is coming off Sefton Central Labour Party: just look at recent events:-

* The weird claims by Labour to have stopped Lydiate’s (Lydiate is in the Sefton Central constituency) canal marina being built (when Labour councillors on Sefton’s Planning Committee actually voted for it)are in the unbelievable category. Not only that but they have claimed to be backing those who are trying to stop developments in Green Belt – this proposed development was to go on Green Belt land showing that Labour can’t be trust to defend the Green Belt!

*Labour have found themselves on both sides of the argument over whether Formby (also in Sefton Central constituency) should be split in two as part of the Parliamentary boundary review. The MP saying one thing whilst the Regional Labour Party says just about the opposite. So where do Labour stand?

* Labour filled newspapers in the East Parishes part of Sefton with their own spin doctor story about them scrapping Maghull’s fireworks display. But only days later they were doing an embarrassing and swift U turn in the face of strong opposition to their ridiculous and unesessary cutting plan.

Looks to me like Labour are in a right old muddle and that their spin doctors are getting them into trouble as opposed to doing what you would expect them to do i.e. stop them getting into trouble! We are all paying for these spin doctors out of the public purse (which has to be a highly questionable use of scarce public money) but hey whilst they are turning the guns on themselves maybe we are getting something, if not a lot, for our money.