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Your letters on brown bins, improving Spalding and the lorry driver crisis

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Here are the letters published in the Spalding Guardian of October 14.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones has stated in the press last week that most of the brown bins that have been requested by the public (from South Holland District Council) have now been delivered.

He says the only households still waiting are newly ordered ones. Well, how come that myself and a few more have been on the list since early July and are still waiting?

I fail to see the point of asking to pay for one if approximately four months later it is still being processed through the system.

Bernice Issitt


John Elson's Spalding Guardian cartoon (52189217)
John Elson's Spalding Guardian cartoon (52189217)

I’ve come forward but I won’t hold my breath

I have read the various articles about views being welcomed to improve Spalding.

I wrote to MP Sir John Hayes regarding the town centre, with questions about the town and how I would like to help.

I also put across what I believe are the negatives – I have just received a letter back from him explaining that my thoughts and ideas which he agreed with have been forwarded to Coun Rodney Grocock, asking for a meeting.

I await but won’t hold my breath.

Tony Dean

via email

Reader Neil Panks' photo of pumpkins in a field at Moulton Chapel (52189221)
Reader Neil Panks' photo of pumpkins in a field at Moulton Chapel (52189221)

Bad health a big factor in lorry driver shortage

Ill health is a major factor in the increasing shortage of lorry drivers, according to new research by the Unite general union.

A Freedom of information request to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) revealed a big rise in the number of lorry and bus drivers having their license refused or revoked for medical issues.

In 2018, more than 12,000 drivers had their licence refused or revoked, compared to fewer than 5,000 in 2005.

While the figure for 2020 was around 7,200, the requirement for drivers to undergo a medical assessment in order to continue driving was suspended from March 2020 to January 2021 due to the pandemic.

To secure a 12-month extension, drivers had to instead self-certify they were in good health.

In many cases, says Unite, licences cannot be returned because of underlying conditions, forcing drivers out of the industry.

The cumulative effect means thousands of experienced drivers are barred from driving due to ill health, exacerbating the current driver shortage.

The union says there is a clear link between the rise in drivers losing their licence for medical reasons and increasing age. The average age of HGV drivers in 2020 was almost 50.

“These figures are alarming but unsurprising,” said Unite national officer Adrian Jones.

“This is a problem of the employers’ making. Forcing their workforces to work long hours in unhealthy environments is going to have major health implications.”

Lorry drivers’ union URTU also says it is not surprised by the dramatic increase.

“The increasingly stressful work, long hours and often sedentary nature of the work is impacting on the health of professional drivers,” URTU communications manager James Bower told Labour Research.

“This government needs to work to improve the poor working conditions by investing in roadside facilities that enable professional drivers to get access to fresh healthy food, exercise and a place to get quality rest.”

“Drivers often have great difficulty getting their licence reinstated by the DVLA, even when the doctor has given them the all-clear,” he added. Work needs to be done to make it easier for professional drivers to prove they are fit to drive.

Also, the current relaxation in driving hours rules is resulting in already exhausted workers operating for longer, said Jones.

This will make “a bad situation worse and will have long-term health implications”.

With a worldwide shortage of HGV drivers, surely it’s clear that we need more home-grown professionals supported by better pay and backed up by a training system that is affordable and will attract younger people into the profession.

Rodney Sadd


(Union delegate for South Holland & The Deepings Constituency Labour Party)

Thought For The Week: Even God knew the value of a break

‘Tempus Fugit’ or, in English, ‘Time Flies’. That’s how it often seems. In fact, I find most days like that.

I wake in the morning with the whole day ahead, a plan in mind for how to fill it, make a start and – suddenly, I have lost control. MY day is being hijacked!

The phone rings, emails needing urgent responses, someone at the door, neighbours want to chat or need help. I go out and there are traffic holdups, diversions, queues – endless queues.

And all the while my day is getting shorter. I’m having to rush about, make hasty decisions, shortcuts, miss out on completing, or even starting, some of my plans.

By day’s end I am completely frazzled! Worn out! More than a little aware of today’s frenetic pace of life, and wondering what happened? Where did the time go? How come I didn’t get everything done? Never mind, there is always tomorrow!

When the earth was created, no-one could have been busier than God, busy creating the Universe, and his own planet with its lands, seas, vegetation, animals, fishes, birds – people. The list goes on. Busy, busy busy!

BUT, on the seventh day he rested. Even God, the mighty creator, knew the value of resting, of taking a break. In the business of today’s modern life, when it seems we cannot fit anything else into our day, the idea of taking a few minutes out, just to do nothing, but rest, seems crazy. Impossible even.

Why not try it though. Just sit quietly. ‘Be still and know that I am God’, He says. When you do that, especially if you can share your stillness with God, magically, amazingly, in just a few quiet moments with Him, we are transformed, recharged, and able to cope. Try it.

John Chester

Spalding Baptist Church

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