Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Motorcyclist, 53, hurt in Lancaster collision

 A 53-year-old man has suffered a serious foot injury following a collision in Lancaster.

Police were called by the Ambulance Service around 5.30pm yesterday (24th October) following reports of an accident on Little Fell Lane.

A Volkswagen Polo travelling towards Lancaster was involved in a collision with a Honda motorbike.

The motorcyclist, a 53-year-old man from Lancaster, suffered significant injuries to his right foot and was taken by paramedics to Royal Preston Hospital for treatment.

The driver of the Volkswagen, a 55-year-old woman, also from Lancaster, was uninjured. The road was closed for three hours while accident investigators attended the scene.

Police are appealing for information following the incident.

Sgt Tracey Ward, of Lancashire Roads Policing Unit, said: “We are continuing to investigate the circumstances around a road traffic collision in Lancaster.
“If you saw either the Volkswagen or Honda before the collision, or witnessed the incident, please contact us.”

• Anyone with information can call police on 101 quoting log reference 1014 of 24th October 2016

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Protests over Barclay's ownership of fracking company

Lancaster anti-fracking campaigners are so angry that Barclay's Bank is financing fracking in Yorkshire through its subsidiary company Third Energy that they joined with visiting activist group Reclaim the Power on Friday lunchtime to protest peacefully (if somewhat noisily) outside Barclay's Lancaster branch with banners, leaflets and a mobile sound system to draw attention to the bank's climate-destructive activities.

Barclay's-owned Third Energy has recently obtained permission to carry out extreme shale gas fracking in the agricultural heart of the Vale of Pickering in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. Both Third Energy and Lancashire would-be-fracking company Cuadrilla are majority owned through paperwork based in the Cayman Islands offshore tax haven.

The protest was the precursor to a national week of protest to run from 24 - 29 October, against Barclay's investment in extreme fossil fuel extraction. The protest week is planned by Friends of the Earth, People & Planet, Frack Free Ryedale, SumOfUs and 350.org. You can find out more about it at www.foe.co.uk/blog/why-im-taking-action-october.

Voted worst current account provider
They want customers of Barclay's to switch banks to a different company. And not just because last year Barclays was ranked as the UK’s worst current account provider for the third time in a row.

Barclays was one of the three major banks named in a 2016 banktracking analysis report as the world's leading financiers for extreme oil and gas projects described as economically disastrous and having inflicted severe damage on communities, ecosystems, and the climate.

It's not the first time the bank has faced trouble for its antisocial activities. In 2012 it was sentenced to fines totalling $450 million for fraudulently colluding in rigging the Libor rates over 9 years. The banks involved earned hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, in wrongful profits as a result of artificially inflating Libor rates on the first day of each month during the complaint period.

It was estimated in the US that at least 100,000 people lost thousands of dollars due to the banks' unlawful activity, with many people holding sub-prime mortgages losing their homes. Losses to municipalities through this manipulation of the rates were estimated at $4billion.

Crying on the way to the bank?
While members of the Lancaster public were broadly supportive of the protest group's aims, in particular County Councillor for Morecambe South Darren Clifford, who was passing and stopped to offer encouragement, bank staff appeared to be less so, with one customer reporting that the leaflet handed to her on the way in had been snatched out of her hand by a member of staff once inside.

Another customer said 'At the end of the day, they're just too big and we're too small'. But not everyone is crying on the way to the bank.

National Gathering in Lancaster
Reclaim the Power are holding their National Gathering in Lancaster  tomorrow (Saturday) at the Marsh Community Centre. High on their agenda will be planning, training and development of co-ordinated campaign infrastructure to make it impossible for companies such as Third Energy and Cuadrilla to carry out their work.

They are looking at developing resistance across the board; not only at preventing work from being carried out at the sites but also by targeting suppliers and contractors involved with the fracking companies and their associates.

Other wings of the campaign will be supporting electoral candidates who are realistic about climate change and committed to developing sustainable energy resources,  raising awareness of the processes and consequences involved in extreme shale gas extraction, promoting artistic and creative events and activities and more.

United Against Fracking National Rally on 12 November in Manchester

Supported by the TUC, the United Against Fracking national rally will consist of a march, guest speakers, music and much more.  Coaches are being arranged from a variety of destinations and more details on speakers, sponsors and organisations taking part will emerge daily, To find out more, visit the event facebook page or http://frackfreelancashire.org/events/.

People interested in learning more about the campaign can contact Frack Free Lancashire and Frack Free Ryedale online through facebook or via their websites.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

13-yearold boy assaulted on Lancaster bridge

Police are appealing for information after a teenager was attacked by a man in Lancaster.

Sometime between 1.30pm and 1.40pm on Sunday (16th October 2016), the victim, a 13-year-old boy, was cycling on Lune Street towards the Millennium Bridge.

As he continued across the bridge he fell from his bike and shouted an expletive. While stood by his bike, a man walking with a young girl approached the teenager and grabbed him by the throat, telling him not to swear.

The suspect then walked off towards the St George's Quay area. He is described as in his early 40s with short dark hair and was wearing a navy blue jacket.

The young girl appeared to be under 10-years-old.

A member of the public witnessed the incident and helped the victim before calling police.

Police are appealing for witnesses and are asking anyone who can assist with their enquiries to come forward.

PC Adam Jussub, of Lancashire Police, said: “This assault was an unprovoked attack on a 13-year-old boy.

“The suspect was with a young girl and the fact she was a witness to this violent attack is quite worrying.

“From CCTV enquiries there appear to be several people walking around on the bridge at the time of the incident and we believe would have seen the offender.

“If you recognise the man described or saw the assault, please get in touch with police.”

  • Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting crime reference WB1608422
  • Alternatively, the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Sanctuary: Yoga Festival planned to raise money for refugees

Sara Bailey & Rebecca Ellis

A wide-ranging yoga festival aiming to raise cash for refugees will take place at Halton Mill on Saturday 19th November from 9.30am until 4.30pm.

Leading yoga, tai chi and meditation teachers from the area have got together to offer alternative and therapeutic sessions throughout the day long festival which has been called Sanctuary.

Sara Bailey, the event’s organiser, first had the idea for Sanctuary while feeling frustrated at the plight of the Syrian refugees.

She said, “I was feeling upset about those poor people. I was wondering what I and my community could do to possibly help and immediately thought of yoga.

“I love yoga, it helps me enormously and Lancaster’s yoga community is full of compassionate individuals. As it turned out, I was enormously moved by the amount of people that came forward and donated their time and skills”

She added, “We have got a really fantastic venue right on the river Lune thanks to Rebecca Ellis from Halton Mill. Some of Lancaster's best yoga and meditation teachers will be there donating their time to make this a real quality event.”

Sanctuary offers a full timetable of activities to try, including beginners, intermediate and lower back strengthening yoga. Also tai chi and sound sanctuary sessions, including singing bowls, mantra, meditation and music.

Tickets cost £30 and include a one hour yoga or tai chi class, a 30 minute sound session, lunch, a hot beverage and cake. Tickets can be booked on www.eventbrite.co.uk where you can also find more information about the range of sessions on offer.

Rebecca Ellis, a yoga teacher from Halton Mill, said, “I’m really excited about what the day will bring. The yoga will be amazing and I'm really happy to be opening the space up for such a great cause.”

The fundraising is in aid of local refugees in the Lancaster and Morecambe area. All money raised will go to City of Sanctuary, helping refugees.

For event enquiries call Sara Bailey on 0793 241 8648 or email saramia9@yahoo.co.uk. To book tickets go to www.eventbrite.co.uk and search for Sanctuary on the search option box.

You can find out more about Lancaster & Morecambe City of Sanctuary at
and on facebook.

Friday, 14 October 2016

HS2 Route threatens ancient woodlands

Photo: WTML
As if the much-despised plans to frack Lancashire weren't bad enough in the government's bid to industrialise our countryside, the ridiculously-expensive HS2 train line looks to threaten the future of some of the North West's ancient and much-loved woodlands, quite apart from the disruption it threatens to communities along the planned, contested route.

The Woodland Trust have several long term campaigns they’ve been working on for a number of years. High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) is one such case and it consistently goes back and forth. Committees, hearing of evidence, petitioning, discussions, meetings and it goes on.

"Whilst generally supportive of green transport measures we are yet to be convinced that this proposed rail route by the Government is as green as it claims," say the Trust, who are heavily involved in lobbying to ensure the best possible deal for ancient woodland but with 98 ancient woods under threat, it’s an uphill battle.

"We echo many people's concerns over HS2's potential environmental impact. Our primary worry is the high level of damage to ancient woodland along the route."

36 ancient woodlands will be affected by Phase One of HS2 alone. Image: Woodland Trust

Phase one of HS2 intends to link London and Birmingham. 36 ancient woods will be directly affected with a further 27 at risk of secondary effects such as disturbance, noise and pollution.

Phase two will form a 'Y', running from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester. The initial proposal incorporated a stop at Meadowhall outside Sheffield. With this proposal 14 ancient woods would face the threat of destruction with a further 21 exposed to secondary effects.

The latest development is a new consultation on the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for Phase 2a of the HS2 project. This phase stretches from Fradley in the West Midlands to Crewe which is around 60km (37 miles) of train line. Just like Phase 1 it has become apparent that this line will have direct impacts on ancient woodland.

The Woodland Trust campaign team is currently looking through the consultation to see exactly what the impacts are. The consultation closes on 7th November 2016 and the final EIA report is expected November 2017 (which will also be open to consultation).

An announcement on the preferred route of Phase 2b, which is the remainder of the Y-shaped route, is expected in late autumn.

The Trust are still waiting for the publication of the Natural England review of HS2 Ltd.'s 'no net loss of biodiversity' calculations. It was expected at the end of July.

"We plan to give evidence before the House of Lords select committee on this," say the Trust. "However, this is impossible until we see this report, as the inclusion on ancient woodland in this calculation is one of our major objections to the proposed scheme. We’re lobbying hard to see this report published."

More about the work of the Woodland Trust