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Coronavirus Information – reliable sources and the CRAP test.

Links to reliable sources of information are provided at the end of this article.

It is important during the coronavirus pandemic that we keep ourselves well-informed. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation circulating, particularly online and in social media. Some of this will have been posted with malicious intent but for the most part it will be the result of genuine misunderstanding or wanting to be first with the latest rumour. It is also important to remember that even genuine information will quickly change as the situation rapidly evolves.

Information must therefore be approached with common sense, certainly apply the adage “if it sounds too good to be true it usually is”. Also consider the CRAP test in evaluating information (Currency, Reliability, Authority, Purpose). The test was developed for academics and students to assess online information but can be adapted to this situation.

Currency:

How current is the information? When was it posted? Has it been recently updated? Even genuine information from the most reliable sources can quickly become dated in rapidly evolving circumstances. For example, the modelling exercises on which government decisions are based involve uncertainties and assumptions. The advice changes as more becomes known.

Reliability:

Is the information based on someone’s personal opinion? If it is opinion is it balanced or one-sided? Does the author offer hard evidence which can be independently confirmed? Does the author stand to profit or gain in any way (not just financially)?

Authority:

Who is the author? What are his/her credentials? What do you know about the author? Is the author reputable? Is the site sponsored (including advertisers), if so by whom? We British have a healthy scepticism of people in authority and during the Brexit debate experts were often vilified. However, now is the time to take notice. These are likely to be the most reliable sources of information, your hairdresser probably isn’t. Information that comes directly from central government (.gov.uk), local government (.gov.uk), NHS (.nhs.uk), and police (.police.uk), is likely to be the most reliable. There is some good advice from charities/non-profit organisations but they should be mainstream organisations with names you recognise. Some links are included below.

Purpose/Point of View:

Is the author trying to push an agenda or particular side? Are the arguments obviously biased? Is it an attempt to sell you something? Are you being asked for money or bank details?

Finally, before passing on information it is important to take a step back. Consider the reason for having been sent something and the possible consequences of passing it on. Before passing on any online rumour, take the time to verify it. This can be done by checking how recently an account has been created, keeping a close eye on information from your local authorities, and searching key words to find another source.

Sources of information (click on the links below):

Government guidance on social distancing and protecting the vulnerable.

Coronavirus advice from the NHS.

Check if you have coronavirus symptoms.

Coronavirus – Lancashire County Council response.

Coronavirus – West Lancashire Borough Council response.

Number of coronavirus cases and risk in the UK.

Coronavirus and heart or circulatory disease.

Coronavirus and lung disease.

Coronavirus and diabetes.

Coronavirus and the elderly.

Lancashire Constabulary – Coronavirus – Stay in the Know.

 

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Coronavirus – important information from Scarisbrick Parish Council

IF YOU LIVE IN THE PARISH OF SCARISBRICK, ARE SELF-ISOLATING, AND FIND YOURSELF IN SERIOUS AND IMMEDIATE NEED THEN PLEASE READ THIS ARTICLE AND FILL IN THE FORM BELOW. 

Scarisbrick Parish Council is actively looking at ways that the vulnerable in the parish can be supported and will make funding available as appropriate. Something that is causing a significant problem at the moment is the growing number of coronavirus scams that are appearing – we want to be as sure as possible that we don’t unwittingly expose elderly residents to harm. We are working on it.

The best way anyone can help at the moment is to keep in touch with each other’s immediate neighbours. This is particularly the case if they are elderly, have pre-existing medical conditions, and are self-isolating. You will know them and, more importantly, they will know you. This immediately creates trust and ensures that they are not relying on people they may never have seen before (no matter how well-intentioned they may be). This is far better than any scheme we can devise and it can get off the ground with immediate effect.

We advise all residents not to hand over money to anyone they do not recognise (and trust) on the promise of having shopping done for them. This is, unfortunately, a scam that is gaining pace. Unscrupulous individuals are doing this whilst pretending to represent Parish Councils.

If you live within the parish, are self-isolating, and find yourself in serious and immediate need then please get in touch with the council and we will do what we can to resolve the problem. At the moment we will only be able to help with serious and immediate problems such as having run out of food or medication. Contact us by completing the form below. Give us your telephone number and a password (memorable word) of your choice. We will call you back and return the password so you know it is us. Our telephone number (mobile) is 07577240928, please only use this if absolutely necessary – we are a small parish council with limited resources.

We are not qualified to give medical advice. If you need this advice – and it’s not an emergency – you should dial the 111 telephone number.

We are starting to ramp up a flow of information on our website and Twitter accounts (@scarisbrick2day) but please bear with us – our resources are relatively small.

STAY HOME – PROTECT THE NHS – SAVE LIVES

 

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Community Infrastructure Levy 2018-19

The Community Infrastructure Levy is a levy paid by developers to improve the infrastructure within the area of their developments.

Parish Councils receive a percentage of the levy to use within the Parish. Between 2015 and 2019 the Council received £5900.83 to improve the local infrastructure.

During 2019-2020 the Council allocated the levy to improve access to local transport support and to repairs at the Village Hall

The statutory report can be downloaded here:

CIL2018-19Scarisbrick

Smithy Lane (October 2019)

Scarisbrick Parish Council – Flooding Questionnaire

The questionnaire appears in the Winter 2019 edition of Scarisbrick Village Matters (SVM). An electronic version is available for download here. This can be completed on your computer, saved, and emailed as an attachment to scarisbrickpc@outlook.com

The SVM article is reproduced below.

FLOODING: REASONS, RISKS, AND RESPONSIBILITIES

News programmes have recently been as depressing as the weather. Flooding in Northwich saw the Environment Agency (EA) and United Utilities bickering about responsibility. The gloomy point was made that any flood defence would eventually be overwhelmed – a fight with nature has only one winner. Climate change apparently increases likelihood that Southport will become an island. The article ignored that this involves large areas of Scarisbrick being submerged. Then there was the potato farm in Lancashire that flooding had turned into a jet-ski resort!

How much do we know about personal flood risk, what influences it, and who is responsible for managing it? The Parish Council wants your thoughts on flooding in Scarisbrick and asks that you complete the questionnaire in this edition.

Climate change debate is controversial but Met Office records for 2019 demonstrate extremes. Unprecedented temperatures were recorded in February followed by Storms Freya and Gareth. A sunny Easter preceded Storm Hannah. A new UK maximum temperature on 25th July was followed by twice the average rainfall in many areas. Winters of 2013/14 and 2015/16 were the wettest on record with widespread impacts. Intense rainfall plays a major part in flooding and can’t be controlled, but we can influence how rainfall is managed once it hits the ground. Land use, extent of local development, drain and watercourse maintenance all play a part.

Heatons Bridge-culvert under canal overwhelmed

Heatons Bridge – culvert under canal overwhelmed with overflow into canal.

Flood classification is useful when determining areas of responsibility. Coastal and groundwater flooding are unlikely in Scarisbrick whereas surface water (pluvial) and watercourse (fluvial) flooding are commonest. Backflow from sewers is a potential cause of flooded property and in Scarisbrick is the responsibility of United Utilities.

Pluvial flooding occurs anywhere at any time. Heavy and sudden rainfall causes rapid flooding which usually subsides quickly once rain stops. In extreme cases “flash flooding” is fast-moving and dangerous. Pluvial flooding is minimised by good drainage but is commonly seen where drains are blocked or overwhelmed – flooding of roads is an example. Run-off from flooded roads and inconsiderate driving can cause flooding of gardens and inside property. Lancashire County Council (LCC) maintains roadside drains whereas West Lancashire Borough Council (WLBC) clears gutters.

Run-off from fields

Run-off from fields.

Run-off from adjacent land can be significant if the ground is hardened by compaction (agricultural practices play a role) or prolonged hot spells. Road drains are designed to take water from roads and can silt-up or are overwhelmed in these circumstances. Overdevelopment increasingly causes absorbent ground to be lost. WLBC is responsible for planning but this isn’t simply about new development – we install patios or additional car parking on our properties which contribute to the problem. In rural areas road drains discharge into ditches that may themselves be full, this brings us to another problem.

Fluvial flooding occurs when watercourses overflow. Scarisbrick has many watercourses of various sizes because we live in an agricultural area where ditches drain land, but we also lie between Ormskirk and the sea. Hurlston and Sandy Brooks run through the parish and take the surface drainage of Ormskirk from Scarth Hill downwards. This is a particular concern because 100 year floods are now considered to be 30 year floods.

Fluvial flooding from Sandy Brook (right)

Fluvial flooding from Sandy Brook.

Responsibility for watercourse maintenance depends on classification. Main rivers are the EA’s responsibility; the classification reflects significance rather than size and includes watercourses on Martin Mere. Others are “ordinary” watercourses where responsibilities lie with riparian owners and are defined by legislation. This applies to farmers but also homeowners with drainage ditches crossing or adjacent to their gardens.

Living in Scarisbrick means you are close to a geological bowl which is the pumped area of the Alt-Crossens drainage catchment. This contains some of the most fertile soil in the UK with importance to national food supply contributing £230m to our local economy. It is the lowest point of the Borough’s drainage system and water is pumped out to sea at Crossens. Pumping operations are currently threatened by government cuts. Pumping to protect agricultural resources is no longer considered viable, although no flood threat to property is anticipated. However, new data suggests flooding could be more widespread than predicted and may isolate Southport. The extent of surrounding ground saturation is difficult to determine and could also threaten infrastructure.

Alt-Crossens - pumped catchment (EA map)

Alt-Crossens – pumped catchment (Environment Agency map).

There is growing acceptance that flooding is inevitable but we need to mitigate impacts. Everyone plays a role which may be as simple as reporting blocked road drains or driving more considerately through floodwater. We should avoid covering gardens with impermeable surfaces and consider our carbon footprint. We should take riparian responsibilities seriously. We should hold local authorities to account and challenge policymakers whether this is over new development, pumping station closure, or how often gutters are cleaned. There is also emphasis on reasonable self-help such as purchasing sandbags, installing domestic flood barriers, or clearing grids outside our homes.

 

Useful resources:  

If floodwater enters your house, or is over halfway across the road, telephone:

    • 0300 123 6780 (Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm, excluding bank holidays). 
    • Otherwise telephone 101 (Police non-emergency number).
    • IF THERE IS A THREAT TO LIFE CALL 999.

 

If flooding is from sewers or burst water mains, telephone:

  • 0345 6723 723 (United Utilities)

Report blocked road drains:

https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/roads-parking-and-travel/report-it/flooding-and-drainage/

“Flooding in Lancashire” – what to do before, during, and after a flood:

https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/flooding/

Owning a watercourse – rules and responsibilities:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/owning-a-watercourse

“Know Your Flood Risk” – advice and links:

http://www.knowyourfloodrisk.co.uk/flood-advice-guidance

 

John Herbert

Scarisbrick Parish Councillor

 

Notice of Public Rights to inspect accounts

Any person who wishes to inspect the accounts may do so upon application to the Parish Clerk.

The statutory period that the accounts may be inspected will run from Monday 17th June 2019 until Friday 26th July 2019.

You are advised to read the Public Rights Notice 2019 before making any application

Public Rights Notice 2019

 

Traffic Survey B5242

The Parish Council are asking residents and users of the B5242 for their views.

A questionnaire has been delivered to residents along the road and a shortened version has been published in Scarisbrick Village Matters.

A copy is available for download here Traffic Survey B5242 .

The closing date for the survey is Sunday 8th April 2018.

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Scarisbrick Village Hall

Scarisbrick Village Hall is a wonderful amenity for the local community and the surrounding areas. The building contains a large hall with a stage, kitchen, smaller meeting room and toilets and cloakroom. Outside there is a large recreation field, basket ball/ five a side court and a children’s playground. There is plenty of parking.

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The hall is ideal for a wide variety of activities. There have recently been children’s parties, Christenings and evening family celebrations. There have been dog shows and seminars and caravan rallies.

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There is a rich programme of regular weekly events including U3A dancing, bridge and indoor bowling during the day. In the evenings there is dog training.

2

The WI use the hall on a monthly basis for their meetings and there are monthly sequence dances and JB social dances.

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The hall is run by a very small management committee of volunteers who meet at the hall on the second Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm. New members would be most welcome.

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There are still slots available during the week for new activities and weekend slots are usually available. If you wish to hire the hall please contact Lesley Cooke:

email: scarisbrickvh@gmail.com

or leave a text or voice message on 07505668335.

Scarisbrick Village Hall.
Smithy Lane,
Scarisbrick,
Ormskirk,
Lancashire.
L40 8HH.

 

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Outdoor gym for Scarisbrick?

Funding has become available through Section 106 planning contributions and Scarisbrick Parish Council is exploring the possibility of installing outdoor gym equipment in the grounds of Scarisbrick Village Hall. A bid is being formulated that will require approval by West Lancashire Borough Council.

What is Section 106 funding?

Under the provisions of Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 contributions can be sought from developers to be put towards the costs of providing community resources. The purpose of these contributions is to enable communities to provide and improve open spaces, sport, recreation or outdoor facilities. The level of contributions is negotiated between developers and West Lancashire Borough Council during the planning application process. Funds are allocated to parish projects through a grant system.

What are the limitations on how the money is used?

Section 106 funds should not be regarded as “free” money to use as we please. West Lancashire Borough Council is accountable for how Section106 monies are spent. They are legally bound to allocate the funds in accordance with the agreement they entered into with the developer. Failure to do so could result in funds being reclaimed.

Section 106 money may only be spent on facilities where the new development has, at least in part, contributed to the need for the facilities. Funding is available for capital projects only and cannot be used to fund general running costs.

Funding will normally be invested in the same parish in which the contributing development is located. However, if Scarisbrick fails to come forward with a suitable bid the funds can be allocated elsewhere within the Borough.

Why outdoor gym equipment?

There is strong scientific evidence that regular physical activity is one of the most important contributors to health. It increases overall physical and mental well being and diminishes both the risk of illness and premature death. Even modest increases in physical activity give improvements in quality of life.

Cost and lack of access are often cited as two of the main barriers to people not participating in regular physical activity; the provision of outdoor gyms combats both of these factors.

Gym equipment can be used by people of all ages and is suitable to be used by families and groups of friends. Equipment for disabled use is available. Users of such gyms find them to be enjoyable and beneficial for their health.

What happens next?

Applications go through a detailed assessment process at West Lancashire Borough Council. Evidence has to be put forward that an assessment has been made of local community need, including public consultation. Failure to demonstrate that there is public backing for the project will ensure that the bid fails.

Scarisbrick Parish Council is now consulting residents on the proposal, your responses will be extremely important to the outcome. The Council would be grateful if residents could download and complete the following questionnaire (also to be found in the next edition of Scarisbrick Village Matters).

Questionnaire (MS Word)

Questionnaire (pdf)

Completed questionnaires should be returned to the parish clerk at the address given below. Alternatively, please simply write to (or e-mail) the parish clerk in response to the questions. The council will need responses to be returned by 26th May 2017.

Mr Thomas Houghton.
137 Smithy Lane,
Scarisbrick,
Lancashire.
L40 8HH.

e-mail: scarisbrickpc@outlook.com