Letters, Wednesday, January 22, 2014

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Downpours spark asbestos fears

IN the North East we have been largely spared the floods that have devastated Surrey and Kent, but the Tyne bursting its banks on December 5 last year showed we are not immune.

 As the head of a company specialising in asbestos removal based in Hebburn, I would like warn people to be aware of the risk of asbestos exposure that can come when natural disasters like floods strike.

 Natural disasters mean misery for millions and while asbestos is not normally harmful unless disturbed, flood waters can damage the integrity of buildings, exposing asbestos contaminated flooring, walls and ceilings, breaking down any asbestos present into fine fibres and bringing this dangerous material to the surface.

 Some asbestos fibres are waterproof and can sit on the surface of water, risking being inhaled once they dry out. The advice to homeowners of damaged properties is to use caution when cleaning or searching through debris and if asbestos is suspected, take no chances.

 Call in a professional contractor trained and qualified in the safe removal of asbestos.

 Asbestos-related diseases can take 20 years to develop and there is no cure. More than 4,500 people still die every year as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres in the UK, and asbestos remains the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK.

 Anyone in doubt can consult the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) website at www.ukata.org.uk or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos for tips and advice.

 Buildings can be rebuilt and repaired but people diagnosed with asbestos related diseases have no such options. Greater asbestos awareness will help ensure the drama of the floods does not become a health crisis in the long term.

David Nichol, managing director of Nichol Associates and UKATA vice-chairman

It’s absolute drivel

THE BBC succeeded in confusing many, and angering me, with Nick Robinson’s version of The Truth About Immigration. He began with the typical BBC smokescreen, suggesting that a frank debate on the subject was long overdue, completely ignoring the fact that the BBC has virtually banned the subject since Blair opened our doors to his worldwide adoring public, so much so that during one Question Time, Michael Howard was heckled when he dared to use the “I” word.

 The heckler was later reported to have been a BBC “plant”.

 Having opened with a smokescreen, Nick closed with a downright deception. He confided in us, with his usual air of pseudo confidentiality, referring to it as an all or nothing issue. He ventured to say that we may not like immigration but if we wanted to keep our cars and washing machines, we would have to put up with it – or words to that effect.

 What absolute drivel.

 Immigration may be good for us but so is aspirin – one a day, more can be fatal to some. 

 It is not those of us who advocate strictly controlled immigration who are guilty of dangerous rhetoric, it is those who doggedly apply the come one, come all principle and use immigration as a source of economic expediency, who endanger our very survival.

 Simply apply some logic to the subject. Already the UK ranks as one of the most densely populated countries on the planet.

 A nation’s wealth can be measured by dividing the GDP by the population and by this criteria, the UK is ranked 21st in the world with a factor of £21,000.

 If unlimited immigration is used to foster growth sooner or later, and I believe it will be sooner, a tipping point will be reached – but there is more than economics at stake here.

 Why must modern politicians always seek a quick, easy fix to a problem?

 For example: Fred won’t pick the fruit so send for Olaf.

 Rubbish

Denis Gillon