Saturday, 31 July 2010

First Aid Awareness

Sue Killen, CEO of charity St John`s Ambulance is "challenging UK businesses to take action by providing first aid training to as many employees as possible as part of their corporate and social responsibilities or as an employee benefit."

Figures provided by the Office of National Statistics suggest that each year up to 150,000 people die in situations where first aid could have given them a chance to live.

Ms Killen and her charity point out that "many organisations have CSR (Corporate and Social Responsibility)  policies or community initiatives that tackle problems we face as a training more people in first aid they can give staff the ability to make an immediate difference."

The 150,00 figure quoted by SJA is not confined only to deaths in the workplace of course. By chance, the Health and Safety Executive has recently released information on the number of workplace deaths recorded in Britain between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010.

They have provided a regional breakdown - that infornation is available through the Central Office of Information website, though you have to search about a bit (click on the link for `News Distribution Service` and you should find it without too much trouble) -  but that need not detain us here.

Nationally, the good news is that the total figure is a record low of 151, a significant reduction on the previous year`s figure of 178, which was itself a record low at the time. However, we would be wise to heed the words of Yorkshire and Humberside`s top Heath and Safety official, the strangely-named David Snowball ;

"Many of these deaths could have been avoided if simple and sensible precautions had been in place, and if workers were involved in devising the solutions to reduce risks."

Here are some useful links -

St John`s Ambulance -

Health and Safety Executive -

Health and Safety Executive/First Aid -

Institute of Occupational safety and Health -

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents -

Central Office of Information -

Also useful is Hazards Magazine ( . I personally do not always care for the strident tone of Hazards, and I should stress that organisations like St John`s Ambulance probably wouldn`t want to be associated with it, but it remains essential reading for anyone interested in workplace safety.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Waingrove`s Woodland Worries

A community group in Derbyshire is facing the possible loss of a community woodland they have been actively maintaining for the last twelve years.

Waingrove Community Association came into being in 1984 when a local school (Waingrove Village School) was closed. The old school buildings still belong to the local authority but are run by local people as a very traditional community centre, providing craft classes, playgroups etc.

For the last twelve years, the Community Association has leased Waingrove Community Woodland from  the landowners, Hansons Building Products, and has set up it`s own charitable wing, Waingroves Community Woodland Trust to maintain and manage the wood, relying on a combination of local volunteers and support organisations such as Groundwork Derbyshire. Activities have included tree-felling and planting, creating paths, building fences and organising cultural events.

The wood covers the area previously occupied by Waingroves Colliery and some adjacent land. The mine ceased to function during the 1920s, and it appears the wood formed naturally over a period of time. However, one area of the wood lies to the south of the former pit and is rather older, containing a hedgerow  believed to be 150 - 200 years old.   A more detailed description can be found at .

It now seems that Hansons are offering the wood for sale, as part of a package that includes adjacent properties Waingroves Brick Yard, Coppice Farm and land surrounding the farm. The farm is currently advertised as being suitable for residential development. Waingroves Woodland and Strelley Wood are being offered at £5,000 per acre, giving a total of £60,000.

Community Association chair John Stamp has been careful to stress that "Hansons are not undertaking anything improper" but stresses that "there does seem to be...a disregard...for local communities in that woodland trustees had been verbally and in writing assured of the security of community". In an interview with the Derby Telegraph/Ripley Heanor and Alfreton Express, he was perhaps a litte more open about his true feelings, describing the decision to sell as "a smack in the face for the community", particularly since the first indication given to residents that the lease would not be renewed was the appearance of a notice telling them to keep out !

Residents are trying to raise funds to buy the woods outright, which would certainly seem the best solution. Some offers of financial support have been forthcoming, and there are hopes that Hansons will be prepared to negotiate.

The Community group have been very effective in their use of media and the issue has been covered by numerous local newspapers and the BBC, though the quality of reporting by the newspaper groups is  variable.   A letter from the estimable Mr Stamp appeared in Buxton Today / The Buxton Advertiser and can be found on their site (`Worries Over Land Sales` 27 July 2010 at ) and an unsigned article `Residents Pledge £20k to Rescue Woods` can be found at .

The Community Association/Woodland Trust appear to have no online presence, but the community centre is at .

Monday, 26 July 2010

Greensqueeze : New Stanton

Based in Erewash,  Derbyshire, Greensqueeze is an effective community-based pressure group that prides itself on fighting to protect the Erewash countryside.

Their highest profile campaign to date concerns proposals by French company Saint Gobain to build a `super-village`, provisionally named New Stanton, on the site of the former Stanton Iron Works, which closed in May 2007.

Anyone looking for background information might like to seek out two articles of my own, A Tale of Two Ironworks (6 February 2010) and Ironworks Revisited (21 Fenruary 2010), both of which appear online at Bookshelves and Brown Ale.

To give a short recap, campaigner`s concerns have centred around two areas ;

1) The routes to be taken by proposed new roads to service the village (one option considered by the developers was to simply put a major new road straight through the Derbyshire green belt, though it is possible they deliberately included a controversial option to make other routes seem less objectionable).

2) The need to provide a balance between commercial and residential premises on the site. It seems  the developers had intended to favour residential buildings with only token provision of buildings for business use. After a sustained and effective campaign by Greensqueeze the local authority effectively fired a warning shot by indicating publicly that they would require a  balanced approach by planners if permission was to be given.

The public consultation has now taken place, and Greensqueeze are indicating that they feel their major questions remain unanswered. 

Planning officials and councillors are likely to take careful note of the campaign`s concerns, given that it has attracted  support from an unusually wide range of people, including environmentalists, former industrial workers, local residents and farmers.

One proposed route for the road-building has sparked anger in nearby Nottinghamshire. A proposed link road which would pass through Trowell, Notts and link `New Stanton` to the A6007 is bitterly opposed by Liberal Democrat Councillor Ken Rigby, who sits on both Trowell Parish Council and Nottinghamshire County Council. The forthright Mr Rigby feels that Erewash is "dumping it`s rubbish on Trowell", and states that the road will be built "over my dead body". 

Greensqueeze can be found at .

Also interesting is

In addition to A Tale of Two Ironworks and Iroworks revisited, two other articles are interesting ;

Dave Wade - Stanton Road Plan Sparks Village Fury - Ilkeston Advertiser, 1 July 2010
Amy Hirst - Is This the Future of Stanton ? - Ilkeston Today & Ilkeston Advertiser, 10 June 2010

both to be found at .


Thursday, 22 July 2010

Saint Elsewhere

Time for a quick round-up of some health-related issues which may be of interest.

Save Newark Hospital - The campaign against the downgrading of Newark hospital, which is on the Lincolnshire/Nottinghamshire border. The plans involve the closure of the A and E department and one ward, replacing the A and E Dept with a Minor Injuries Unit. Campaigners point out that this would involve re-routing blue light ambulances to either Mansfield or Lincoln.

The campaign unites Dr Ian Campbell MBE, who was the Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the area, and his electoral  opponent, Patrick Mercer MP (Conservative) as well as Town Councillors Laurence Goff and Harry Molyneux. Health Minister Simon Burns claims he is "unable to intervene" and the County Council support the changes.

Referring to the proposed Minor Injuries Unit, Mr Mercer commented "We`ve got to have something better than that". Faced with the lack of support from Simon Burns he is now proposing the provision of an `Urgent Care Centre`in addition to the Minor Injuries Unit, which he argues is consistent with evidence from the public consultation.  Dr Campbell is considering his options, but has indicated that the campaign "is far from over". 

Furtherv details from

AICR -  A number of studies have shown that taking aspirin regularly reduces the chances of getting bowel cancer by 20%. Doctors do not recommend that people should take aspirin or any equivalent or similar medication just for that reason, as that would carry a significan danger of internal bleeding. However, research is taking place to find the reason for this phenomena, some of it funded by the association for International Cancer research - more info at  .

AICR - Scientists have discovered that al of our cells have an inbuilt `bilogical clock` that influences a wide range of cell activities. Loss of this `clock` may be a cause of cancer in some cells. Again, more about this from

Asbestos - I`ve mentioned before the sad death of a friend of mine not so long ago, as a result of his having worked with asbestos.

One problem that affects many people with asbestos-related illness is that in 10% of cases the firm that employed them cannot be traced, and neither can details of their employer liability insurance.

At one time, campaigners were pressing for a government-backed compensation scheme - I think one did exist at one time - but the government of the day didn`t make time for the relevant legislation. A new (more realistic ?) approach is to press for similar fund financed by the insurance industry, though there is still a campaign for more funding into medical research into this type of illness.

Further reading ; 

Asbestos Awareness and `Advocacy` - For Chris - The Graphophone (blog), 19 April 2010.
Asbestos Again - Bookshelves and Brown Ale (blog) , 3 July 2010.

These both provide links for further information for the general reader, and points of contact for anyone affected. All I would say is, if you`re affected by this, or think you could be in the future, make sure you`re well informed.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Irate in Ilkley

In August 2009, Bradford Council refused two planning permission applications by supermarket giant Tesco. The decision followed a well-supported `no` campaign which resulted in a 5,000 strong petition and 2,000 letters of objection.

Tesco have now lodged an appeal and the Planning Inspectorate will hear arguments for both sides from 7 July onwards at Ilkley Playhouse. The appeal is expected to last 8 days.

IRATE (Ilkley Residents Against Tesco Expansion) has so far been funded by the individuals concerned giving their own time and money. For the purposes of the appeal, they will be calling a number of expert witnesses. These are not expecting to be paid, but IRATE feels it should contribute to their expenses, so is asking for donations from any well-wishers who are able to help out.

Further information ;