Thursday, 30 August 2012

Pollution at Nook Lane Chemical Site

I have written to the Environment Agency following a video that has been posited online and sent to my office. (WARNING: The language is not pleasant.)

I have posted the response below form the EA and also discussed the matter with Hyndburn Council who are doing an excellent job. Things are moving forward and the two authorities should be thanked as this is a very problematic site.

I will continue to work hard for the residents of Oswaldtwistle on this issue and have already visited the site with the various agencies.

There have been queries about Lancashire County Council but they have had less to do with this as it is pollution and contamination issue at the moment; waste is the owners responsibility and the effects of it, flies etc... and Environmental Health issue (HBC). HBC are the lead agency as it falls within the Borough and contamination is an issue for the EA.

If you live in Oswaldtwsitle your County Councillor is most likely to be Peter Britcliffe.

Below is the response to the video that I have received;
28 August 2012 15:11

Thanks Graham

Although Blackley’s Waste has now been removed from the site, sadly it’s not the end of the Environment Agency’s or other regulatory organisations involvement here at Nook lane. The site remains a former chemical works and represents a hazard to both the environment and people. The video shows contaminated surface water associated with the historic use of the site and a number of more recent excavated areas. Information we are aware of following our inspections. I’ve looked through the video and there are an number of points to pick up and clarify. Most importantly, although the waste has been cleared the site is a formal chemical works, it remains hazardous and we would not wish that residents to be encouraged to enter for their own interest. The landowner may consider that this could be trespass also.

Thwaites Road Bus Service gets second wind

Pilkington Buses have today applied to the North West Traffic Commissioner to operate a bus service covering the sections of the Hyndburn Circular that Transdev are withdrawing.

If this application is granted the service will commence on the 17th September 2012.

This will give the residents in the Thwaites Road and Windsor road districts a regular all day bus service linking with Accrington and Blackburn.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Selective Licensing of Private Landlords in Hyndburn

It's been a campaign that has lasted 7 long years. Before the ink had dried on the 2004 Housing Act allowing local authorities to selectively licence private landlords, I and residents in Woodnook and Peel began to campaign for change.

To establish some form of system where not just the bad landlords had to conform to some form public justice but where minimum standards were in place to protect tenants and to begin a dialogue whereby landlords could be assisted into improving their housing.

The reality is many homes are not fit to live in. A hidden crises unless you are unfortunately affected. Where to often profits come before people.

Case closed without interview

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Illegal Money Lending in Lancashire - Trading Standards

With the recent issue of legal loan sharks (and bookmakers with fixed odds betting terminals FOBT) I have asked LCC trading standards to provide a note on illegal money lending and what LCC is in the fight against these despicable people who use violence and intimidation to fleece the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.


Money lending is a regulated activity and is governed by the Consumer Credit Act 1974. The purpose of the Act is to ensure that individuals engaged in this activity are fit and proper (no convictions for fraud etc) and can comply with the rules. They are issued a licence to operate by The Office of Fair Trading who administer the licensing regime and have the power to refuse applications or revoke licences.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Eastgate Retail Park latest on ticket refunds

A spokesperson for Vehicle Control Services said: Vehicle Control Services have not done anything other than to perform their contractual obligations for managing car parking arrangements at the Eastgate Retail Park providing a 1.5 (one and a half) hour maximum stay car parking arrangement.

We understand that following the involvement of the local Council and the Town Centre Manager, we were requested to increase the maximum stay period to 3 hours, on a temporary basis, with effect from 9th July 2012 until further discussions took place between the client and ourselves. Additionally, upon the request of our client all Parking Charge Notices relating to contraventions on or before 8th July 2012 were placed on hold.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Jobs or Flowers? A letter to the Accrington Observer

I would like the opportunity to respond to the letter by Councillor Terry Hurn (Tory, Baxenden) last week suggesting that the MP was doing nothing for businesses in Hyndburn.

Long before I was elected as MP jobs, growth and businesses had been the local Labour Party's number one priority. In fact I helped Mr Hurn's own business providing state-of-the-art neighbourhood CCTV cameras and liaison with the police when the family business was under threat from vandals. I believe the family indicated the business may close unless something was done.

My parliamentary caseload includes a vast number of examples of intervention to help local businesses, including challenging unfair government subsidies that would lead to potential job losses on the floor of the House of Commons and liaising with the Department of Business to support exports to developing countries. I have helped with regulations and stepped in to facilitate recruitment and redeployment following closure and redundancy. I have acted to tackle anti-competitive practices of a major business and made the UK government give an official response. When the Government threatened to increase tax on skip hire companies, my office spoke to every skip company in the constituency in order to build a case to bring to the Government.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Olympics legacy - Why not join in a sport here in Hyndburn?

Following the Olympics there is bound to be an increased interest in Sport; we have a golden opportunity to capture the increased enthusiasm for sport and use it to get more people active and involved with their local sports clubs.

This weekend (18th and 19th August) the charity Join In are encouraging people to head down to local sports clubs and get involved.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for clubs to get more members, supporters and volunteers and to attract local people who may never have been to their local sports club before.

You can find out what events are going on in Hyndburn by visiting

If you are able to, please try and visit one of the events, promote Join In by displaying the attached posters and encouraging sports clubs in your area to open their doors this weekend and get more people active.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Nook Lane update from the EA

"Waste continues to be removed by Blakeley's waste management limited from the site at Nook Lane in Oswaldtwistle. Environment Agency officers continue to be at the site in Nook Lane and at the facility where the waste is going to.

Last week, Blakeley’s Waste management limited, moved waste to Pilsworth in Bury.

On Monday 7 August, a decision was taken by Blakeley's Waste Management Limited to begin moving the waste to Whinney Hill Landfill instead of Pilsworth Landfill. The Environment Agency has no influence over this decision which we understand to have been made purely on commercial, rather than environmental reasons. We would like to make it clear that we did not observe any environmental impacts from the waste at Pilsworth which has caused it to be taken to Whinney Hill instead.

Activities for the kids at Spring Hill Community Centre

Eastgate Retail Park - Latest

Two people visited my constituency office concerning what appears to be an oversight on behalf of EXCEL car parking enforcement and Aston Rose, the letting agent in which the two received £100 final demand notices despite being reassured they would not have to pay.

On behalf of residents I have contacted Mr James Coulling at Aston Rose who will ensure that these names are removed if they were issued tickets between the 2nd June and the 8th July.

I raised with Mr Coulling the issue of refunds for those who had paid and he has reassured me those that have paid will receive a refund. I'd like to thank James at Aston Rose for his honesty and for his concern and I hope this will be the end of the matter.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Dedicated website and helpline supporting FM victims is launched

I thought I'd post this press release by Jan Trust which offers help to victims of forced marriages.

Also before reading the article anyone with concerns may also want to visit the foreign office website that helps tackle forced marriages.

JAN Trust ( is a London based women’s charity providing a range of services and activities for disadvantaged grass roots women. Their work includes raising awareness and preventing forced marriages, domestic violence and honour based violence.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Making progress on pre-payment meters

Consumer Focus has published a report, ‘Making Progress’ detailing the significant changes the main six suppliers have made to their policies and practice to meet the five key principles. In particular, identify and engaging PPM customers, with the aim of removing or minimising consumer detriment. The report can be found here.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Latest Update - Oswaldtwistle

An Environment Agency spokesperson said, "The Environment Agency were contacted early this morning by Lancashire Fire and Rescue service in relation to a fire on Nook Lane in Oswaldtwistle.

Thanks to our officers quick action, fire water was prevented from entering the local brook.

The Environment Agency is working very closely with the Fire and Rescue Service and has deployed officers out on site to provide advice and guidance to ensure damage to the surrounding environment is minimised as much as possible.

We share the local communities concerns and we would like to re-assure them that we are taking this situation very seriously. We will be supporting Lancashire Fire and Rescue service with their investigations into the cause of this fire. "

Nipa Chemicals site - overnight update on fire

Yesterday 10 lorry loads of 30 bales, 300 bales in total were removed from the site to landfill in Bury. However overnight, around 3am around 50 bales were damaged by fire. The fire and rescue teams called out consulted with the EA over the use of water to minimise the spread of any contamination. It is believed the fire was caused by suspicious circumstances.

Waste is continuing to be removed this morning and fire breaks as part of the clearance to help prevent a larger fire taking hold.

Yesterday the EA put out a statement regarding waste clearance and contamination of Lottice Brook

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Illegal waste at former NIPA chemical site, Oswaldtwistle

I have been made aware of concerns raised by residents and subsequently reported in the the Lancashire Evening Telegraph in relation to illegal waste activity and associated nuisance from alleged illegal activity at the former NIPA site at Nook Lane, Oswaldtwistle. A site now owned by Arthur Moreton I believe in a number of companies registered in the Isle of Man.

18 photographs on Flickr

Yesterday I visited the site with the Environment Agency and Steve Molyneux who is leading the investigation to access the scale.of the problem. Some 4,000-5,000 bales of waste has been transferred to the site without the necessary authority to do so on this site both in terms of waste disposal and lack planning approval. There is approximately 1.5 tonnes in a bale. It appears to be non-recyclable household residual waste, nappies etc.. and it has allowed a swarm of flies to breed.

From my enquiries I have been assured that the infestation which has caused swarms of flies to descend on nearby households is being treated twice a day with an insecticide to kill flies it comes into contact with. However it will not control the breeding within the waste.

The Environment Agency have been liaising on a regular basis with Hyndburn Council (planning authority) and County Council Planning officers (waste sites authority) to consider remediation options for the existing contamination at the site.

The leader of the Council Miles Parkinson visited the site and explained that through the planning department at the Council, an agreement had been reached for the movement of contaminated material with Blakeys, the originator of the waste and to begin transferring it to Whinney Hill this morning. Lockside, the owners of the site had shown some resistance to access for removal but that appears to have been overcome. The waste is dumped in three areas of the concrete site above the contaminated land and by my estimation it will take some 150 lorry loads to remove it.

There is a deep landfill hole that has been excavated at the bottom of the site and this has been filled partially with some of the waste and covered with top soil. The issue here is that this degraded waste also contains chemically contamination soil from the former works and will require a far more detailed careful removal. The site has by and large a concrete membrane covering it to prevent rainwater channels developing and the chemical contamination seeping into the local waterways particularly Lottice Brook. The incident of flies is minimal here as the top soil prevents breeding.

I believe that early tests from Lottice Brook point to minimal contamination caused by the earth disturbance but it is clear that swift removal of the waste would help reduce the risk of greater levels of contamination.

The Environment Agency are currently investigating these reports of illegal waste deposits at this site and may in light of evidence begin criminal proceedings.

The Council and Council Leader have worked tremendously hard behind the scenes to ensure this situation is not only resolved and the waste removed, but that the site is looked at to see what preventative measures can be taken to prevent future abuses of the site. I now wish to see a thorough investigation into illegal waste dumping and have been informed that the Environment Agency are looking at the evidence.