In the ‘media quiet’ days before Christmas, the Government awarded an additional set of Fracking licenses to private companies. Threes of these license blocks cover the Bury area, including one which covers parts of Prestwich.
License areas 70, 80 and 81, which includes a part of Prestwich, Whitefield, Bury, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom, Tottington and and then right across towards Bolton have been awarded to Hutton Energy Ltd for exploration.
Fracking, or ‘Hydraulic Fracturing’ is where underground rock is fractured by the high pressure injection of ‘fracking fluid’ to create cracks underground where natural gas can be released.
Residents will be aware of campaigners in many other parts of the country (e.g. in Lancashire) being very opposed to fracking sites near them.
Many of the areas covered by the Fracking License in our Green Belt – land which has been left as green and recreational land
Many of the areas covered are in former mining areas with old mining shafts and diggings, and areas have suffered from subsidence in the past.
Fracking is a controversial subject – there is more information about the environmental impact that Fracking can have at the Greenpeace website here.
You can help us campaign to Bury Fracking Free by signing our online petition here.
Dangerous proposals by the Government which threaten individual freedoms risk exacerbating racial and religious tensions, Tim Farron has warned.
By linking the practices of ordinary British Muslims with radicalisation the Prime Minister risks alienating large sections of our society.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron said:
“Talk of banning veils and the deportation of women who struggle with English are worrying ideas from a government pushing an increasingly right wing agenda.
“These are hugely worrying times for British values. Of course we need to seriously tackle home grown extremism but isolating vulnerable groups is not the way forward.
“With Islamophobia on the rise, now is the time for an open and serious inter-faith dialogue not headline grabbing policies which do nothing but appeal to the right wing of the Tory base.
“Liberal Democrats will always support an open minded, tolerant United Kingdom which does not cow tow to the politics of fear.”
The Lib Dem team on Council have asked the Council if it will consider using the ‘Camera Car’ currently used to enforce bus lanes, to tackle some of the worst illegal parking outside some of our schools.
Lib Dem councillor Mary D’Albert asked the Council to consider the use of the camera car outside of schools, a practice that happens in many other local authorities, including next door in Manchester.
The Council stated that “The CCTV car is currently utilised during peak and off peak periods to enforce bus lanes”
It went not to say that:
“At some point in the future we may look at investing in fixed CCTV equipment to enforce bus lanes. This would then free up the vehicle to carry out enforcement outside schools. In order to carry out this type of enforcement we will need to apply for a new approved device status for the vehicle from DfT. The current approval would not cover the variation in enforcement.”
Recently Bury Council reviewed the bus lanes going into and out of Bury Town Centre, and has agreed to review bus lane in the south of the Borough. The result of the review so far has been to completely suspect the Rochdale Road bus lane (the Heap Bridge motorway junction to the Town Centre).
Although it is important to make sure that drivers do not abuse bus lanes that are still in force, we believe that there should be some capacity to do this, given the significant problems that there are around some of our schools.
Mental Health proposals fall massively short – Norman Lamb
Commenting on today’s announcement on mental health funding, the Liberal Democrats health spokesperson and former minister for Mental Health, Norman Lamb said:
“I will always welcome extra investment in mental health care. However, on the face of it, the proposals fall massively short of the vision we published in 2014. We said then that the objective for 2020 should be comprehensive maximum waiting time standards in mental health so that there is equality of access between physical and mental health. There’s nothing today which meets that vision.
“It will leave many people with mental ill health still with no right to access treatment on a timely basis. It will leave a disparity between physical health and mental health at the heart of our NHS. That is morally wrong and economically stupid.
“My fear is that the extra investment announced may be, in part, smoke and mirrors. David Cameron must be clear, is this all additional to the £1.25bn announced in the budget in March for children and young people’s mental health – which the Liberal Democrats secured? Is it additional to the £600m announced in the Spending Review?
“If the Prime Minister is being genuine about his desire to help, he must confirm what accounts for new investment. We need absolute clarity.
“Every step to support access to treatment and support is always welcome, but we must recognise that there is much more to be done.”
Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb will today (Wednesday) launch proposals for an unprecedented cross party commission into health and social care.
Norman Lamb, who has received the backing from Conservative and Labour former Health Secretaries Stephen Dorrell and Alan Milburn, believes that only a full non-partisan commission will properly deal with the crisis in health and social care.
They have been joined in this call by NHS survival – a group of 8,000 doctors, patients and and members of the public committed to ensuring the survival of the health service.
The former care minister believes the commission would be a ‘Beveridge Report’ for the 21st Century, and be the first of its kind since the creation of the NHS and welfare state. Its aim is to engage with the public, staff in the NHS and care services and civic society on the massive challenge the NHS and care services face.
To mark his call for the commission Norman Lamb will use a 10 minute rule bill in Parliament, and will call for an investigation into the crisis being faced by the health and social care sectors.
The NHS funding gap is expected to be £30bn
NHS and Foundation Trusts are facing a projected £2.2bn deficit
The Health Foundation has estimated that there will be a £6bn funding gap in Social Care by 2020
Norman Lamb said: “The NHS and social care face an existential crisis. Demand for services continues to rise year on year but funding is failing to keep up. The position in social care is perhaps even more serious.
“Growing pressures on services are so severe that all parties must come together to fundamentally re-think how we can guarantee the future of the NHS and social care services.
“The Government cannot avoid this issue any longer. Establishing this commission will show they are serious about protecting these vital public services.”
Investigations by Lib Dem councillors in Bury have revealed that over 200,000 of Bury’s home care visits in the last year were of a duration of 15 minutes or less.
Lib Dem Councillor Tim Pickstone asked at the last Council meeting about the number and proportion of visits that were less than 15 minutes, and less than 5 minutes in the last year.
On average 549,000 home care visits were provided – 37% were of 15 minutes or under and 4% 5 minutes or under.
Less than a year ago the Labour Party made a pledge to help end 15 minute care visits, yet Bury’s Labour-run Council continues the practice on a massive scale.
Care charities and the public sector Trades Union UNISON have condemned care visits of less than 15 minutes and are campaigning for their end in their ‘Save Care Now’ campaign.
Find out more about UNISON’s Save Care Now campaign here.
Find out more about charity Lennard Cheshire’s campaign to end 15 minute care visits here.