A preface from Keith Wood
Yes, yes I know it’s an emotive title  but I need to grab your attention in order to raise your awareness to something that could have the potential to devastate not only North Shropshire but the water supply for the Marches as far as Bristol.
What ever you do don’t  make the mistake of thinking that Dudleston Heath is an insignificant little village on the outskirts of Oswestry, too far away to affect you, geologically it’s your next door neighbour if you’re a resident anywhere in the North of the county and, as I say, may even affect drinking water quality right down the Marches as far as Bristol. If your farm water comes from a bore hole then you should be really concerned The water authority will make attempts to clean up tap water, if that is indeed possible, but bore hole users are on their own

I have written this preface in my position as the head honcho of Wheelers Advocacy because with good reason, we are concerned. about the future.
John, who runs transport, is concerned enough to move out of Shropshire, and if that happens the community bus, the last village service to remain after the Government cut all that money from local budgets, will close.
We “sit” on THE BIGGEST AQUIFER in the probably the country and this bunch of cowboys proposed to drill right though it injecting all sorts of noxious chemicals down the hole. If the lining of the hole leaks they will poison us. It won’t be possible to clean that poison up. I’ve lived in Manchester for most of my life; I know how long it took to clean the Ship canal of pollution and that’s just a glorified ditch, OK it’s a big ditch, but never the less insignificant compared to the Salop Aquifer

There was a meeting a couple of weeks ago where geologists gave their opinion that given the geology of the area its a bad idea. It was at the same meeting that the leader of the council, whilst saying that he, personally didn’t favour the idea told us that the council didn’t really understand what is going on and were powerless to demand an environmental impact survey

How can that be so? John Has collated some of the points raised in the meeting….


Open letter to MP Owen Paterson, Keith Barrow, The Leader of Shropshire Council, and the Chief Planning Officer. This letter also forms an objection to the application

Ref 14/02730/MAW

At the monthly meeting of NS Wheelers a request was made for someone to take over the role of Transport Coordinator, from John Harrison who has held the position for the past 12 years Not unsurprisingly there were no takers, because although many attempts have been made to find a successor, since 2003 no candidates have come forward It was therefore the decision of the meeting to activate the exit strategy which will see NS Wheelers wound up. Therefore North Shropshire could effectively lose its Community Transport within the next 12 months Mr Harrison told the meeting that he had come to his decision following the meeting that took place in St Martins a week before our meeting, which was called to discuss the planning application to extract Coal bed methane, He was not convinced that the planning procedures in Shropshire were robust enough to safeguard his water supply and that of the population of the county If the application was successful he would retire from his post and leave Shropshire for good. Without being too specific Mr Harrison explained that he bought a property with well water following advice for health reasons and has drawn, the pure and efficacious supply of household water ever since. Although it would appear, superficially at least, that the site is far away from his home in Whixall, the extraction process bores though the very same aquifer from which he draws that water. Geologically they are therefore next door neighbours”. The meeting expressed the view that they could find no one with the skills to execute the services In the same way as Mr Harrison and expressed their thanks to him for his past services Ends Mr Paterson, I expect that by now Keith Barrow has reported back to you and therefore you may be aware I was less than complementary about your track record in Environment I have read your letter and find most of what you claim to be shallow and specious. You seem to place a great store in the experiences in America, yet you do not seem to have spoken to many Americans in my socio-economic group or that of the people whom we serve with our bus services I don’t suppose for one instant you have spoken to those, for instance, who can ignite the fugitive methane emissions at the kitchen sink tap water or those who have been made ill, sometimes terminally so, from the proximity of the drilling/extraction sites However not withstanding all that, it is very important to understand this is not America, this is Shropshire and it is from the geologists who understand the geology of the county which forms your constituency to whom you should be paying attention, not Americans who in any case seem generally have jaundiced perceptions arising from capital gain At school I studied geology but my geology studies finished before my university days took me on a different tack, so I would not presume to promote any procedure that produces such a high level of waste and pollution without consulting local geological experts, such as the man who addressed our meeting You say you cannot interfere with the planning process – yes, you can! – you form part of the government which can, and has, legislated in the past to protect the communities. It is remarkable to note that this legislative power has recently been extended to aid those who wish to drill under the property of another. So one may conclude that where it is political expedient, then it is not a question of cannot it’s a question of willingness. Yet you go to great pains to point out that local communities should be protected, within the same letter, in which you extol the virtues and benefits of a procedure, in which, to my understanding, you are unqualified In your letter to our secretary, Mrs Ashton. You say that “the fracking operation should be safe and must not be at the expense of the local communities or the environment” I am concerned about the consequences of pollution of the water table, fugitive methane, and environmental damage from the proliferation of filthy industry. The people of St Martins are, whilst sharing environmental concerns, are also worried about the effect on the increased traffic, particularly upon the safety of school children I mention this because your representative at the meeting in St Martins, Keith Barrow, seems to think that current legislation prevents Shropshire council from demanding an Environmental Impact Survey It seems very clear that such an Environmental Impact Survey is necessary and if Mr Barrow is right, you could help by seeking to change the law so that the council find the survey easier to implement. That is if you are good to your word and seek to protect those communities. The question is what ate you going to do to protect your constituents? Let’s not beat about the bush extraction of any product buried deep beneath the ground is a very dirty industry Parliament legislated, some time ago now, to restrict farmers in the way they spread manure because of the risk to the water table from nitrates contained therein I should also not need to remind you that there was a great hugger mugger in The 1985 ethylene glycol wine scandal” which involved number of Austrian wineries that had adulterated their wines using the toxic substance ethylene glycol. (Antifreeze) The Law was clear in this case, yet you seem to be comfortable when such toxic chemicals are to be introduced in the ground adjacent to a major water supply, from which all of Shropshire draw their water, including the farming communities from which you draw much of your support as well ,as people as far south as Bristol according to the report below. Others countries have been proactive in public protection, such as the French, and the Australians. I think all those people mentioned above have some reasonable expectation that you, as the representative of our government, will implement robust measures to protect that very same water table from chemicals that are strong acids, cause cancer, or indeed the a/n antifreeze. I would seriously question if the applicant is fit to be trusted with the security of our water supply because puzzlingly enough it would seem that the applicants seem to have been less than straight forward with the planning department Given that their bore hole goes right through an aquifer, they choose to down grade the significance and give an impression that it is a minor resource rather than the major aquifer refereed to in the British Geological survey discussed in the link below. I trust this is a simple mistake I assume, Mr Paterson, that you will not seek to take issue the finding of a government document I make no apology for repeating that this is, as indicated in the Baseline survey, the major resource from which most farms and businesses in your constituency draw their water not to mention the water that flows cleanly from many household taps, again in your constituency and once polluted its will remain so for millennia. it is vast and covers a huge area and whilst I don’t know exactly where you live I suspect that as you rise teach morning in your home you place your feet on the ground above the Salop Aquifer Yet from your letter I suspect you haven’t even read about it and therefore include a link to the Salop Aquifer. By the admission of Mr Barrow in the meeting the knowledge possessed by Shropshire Council is basic in the extremist and it would be wise for the chief planning officer also to read the Baseline report blyr-e-e.pdf The initial application is to look at extracting coal bed methane therefore I also take the opportunity to remind you of what can go wrong with fugitive Methane, because by implication, it seems to be acceptable to allow a company who cannot even attribute true status to the importance of the aquifer they may pollute, to extract this volatile substance in a populous area Finally in case you haven’t made time to read the entire report it clearly states Box 3.2 The Shropshire Groundwater Scheme (SGS) The River Severn is a major source of water for communities in the West Midlands Shrewsbury and Bristol, including the cities of Worcester and Gloucester. The river supplies for public drinking water, industry and agriculture. During the summer months the water in the river may be insufficient to meet these abstraction needs and the need to river ecosystems. The flow is therefore regulated by release of surface water stored in Clywedog [SN 9021 8808] and Lake Vyrnwy [SH 9927 2125] reservoirs, located at the headwaters the Severn. During drought periods, the surface-water resources are insufficient to maintain adequate flow in the river and so a new source has been sought: groundwater. The Shropshire groundwater Scheme provides a continuous supply of water to the River Severn during from deep boreholes in the Sherwood Sandstone. This aquifer provides a large underground storage capacity, which no surface reservoir can match in terms of quantity and quality. I realise that I am asking you to declare your loyalties because is seems to be the policy of the coalition to promote this business, at the expense of everything else, including those communities you say you wish to protect. I remember when you launched the Wheelers bus in 2003 you were a very different politician to the one you have become, since David Cameron included you on the front bench. In my opinion you are now a member of an old fashioned Tory elitist government who traditionally has metaphorically stamped very firmly on ordinary people This Government has cost NS Wheelers £10,000 whist asking for the help of the 3rd sector. If I had not implemented measure to combat the excesses of the government, to which you belong, the irony would have been that you would have aided and abetted in the closure of the community transport scheme you help start A very cruel irony wouldn’t you say? I have made my position clear, at 67 I am getting too old to start again but my health need demand I mitigate my own position and I will leave Shropshire if you allow the risk to our water supply I call upon you to come out, support your constituents and recognise that it is the geology of our county that is important not governmental policy and support our campaign to keep the water supply pure and risk free Considering that it has recently been shown that deposits in Sussex are meagre and hardly worth the effort, it would be such a shame if we allow profit seekers to ruin our lives and our lovely county because of misunderstanding between central and local government would it not? I hope good sense will prevail over some sort of feeble aspiration of mythical cheap energy. Aside from any issues raised above burning fossil fuels will never be cheap I sincerely hope that the application will be rejected and we can send unscrupulous speculators, packing, Then I can remain in my home and run the bus service for my friends across your constituency .The choice is yours Sincerely John Harrison

Amongst all the commemorations to honour war dead one thing that makes me sad at this time of year is that there is too little said about those who died subsequently, as a direct result of the wounds they received in the line of war time service to King and Country.

This is my Uncle John. Despite his youth he signed up, in 1916, and became a runner, – a messenger boy carrying vital messages between trenches.


One terrible day a smallish pieces of shrapnel penetrated his tin helmet and lodged in his skull where it stayed, unable to be removed, because battlefield medical science was in it’s infancy.

For many years it remained, covered by a silver plate, until, with some sort of cruel inevitability it migrated, the resultant pressure robbing him of his sight, a final act of cruelty, that finished his career in retail, Despite his wound, he attained the rank of store manager at the Coop on Long Lane in , a short distance from his family home

Now I am over 70 I may well be the last person to remember John Middleton who was an unsung hero the like of which we may never see again. His generation faced the overwhelming adversity of the Great War with patience and a stoic resolution that was peculiar to those who grew up during the dawn of the 20th century.

 I am writing this so as create a permanent record of my uncle Even though I never met him personally, his sisters, my mother and my aunts, frequently spoke of John with a fondness that was deeply touching. Frequently recalling such harrowing incidents as his own mother cradling his head on her lap when the headaches, brought on my a foreign object lodged in his skull, became too intolerable

He may not have died in the mud of the trenches but his suffering was no less abiding and intense

In the event I am not the only one who remembers John, or indeed any other of the Middletons or the Harrisons, of the Chadderton and area please get in touch.

John Harrison Whixall, Shropshire…….

A GRAND DAY OUTWe all Know about the way messages get passed in remote parts of the world, more commonly known as the Bush Telegraph, well her in North Shropshire we have reinvented this form of communication and named it BUS TELEGRAPH — corny or what but what the dickens…. “corny r us”

Nellie Wiggins  who is not the most sturdy member of the human race and  has more years under her belt than HRH, called the booking line very early one morning.

She was locked in her house.  Could not make the doors budge – no how – no way

We think that this spell of baking weather had altered the doors and surrounding woodwork of her ancient country cottage and not being an Olympic weight lifter, Nellie was stuck inside

The landlords,  the local estate office was closed and we were unable to find any emergency call out number and so not being too comfortable with an elderly lady being unable to get outside we started to  think of calling around other member. Bare in mind it’s not yet 7 am and the first cuppa of the new day isn’t yet finished so it took a few moments for us to remember that Mabel lived next to the estate office

A call to Mabel soon revealed that Tom the estate repair man was just leaving his repair shed so Mabel, still in her nightie, scampered after him  – which probably made a wondrous sight down the lanes of Greater Sprocket in the Marsh and  anyway should Tom be so lucky — but moving on!!!

Within moments he was on his way to rescue our damsel in distress and by the time the bus arrived  to check on Nellie he had released her from her  weather imposed incarceration.

Can any one see the big bus companies having the capacity to handle that one

(Names changed to protect the sensibilities of the GDPR  hit squad)

A salutory tale of a poor experience at Manchester airport

I was unfortunate enough as to be the poor sap who had to pick some holiday makes up from Manchester airport Accordingly I thought to write to the management  because I have never been  anywhere that made me feel less welcome or gave so little help following a situation that was not of my making

I said

I don’t know who is responsible for making aeroplanes late, be it the pilots, the airlines or yours.

All I do know is it wasn’t mine. Before leaving base we looked on the internet and deliberately arrived late because of the potential delay fully expecting to see our “fares” ready and waiting and all we got was hassle  from your staff

There are places for taxis for buses and for coaches but none for the mini coaches which were put to considerable inconvenience because you lot in the airport industry cannot organise the proverbial drunken party in the brewery

I was not allowed to leave my bus even to organise my people so arranging  for someone to cover for me I ventured into the terminal and all I can say it was worse than Primark in the sales  People were wandering around like herds of sheep with no help or guidance  and no evidence of staff to help them.

If a terrorist had been there he would have had carte blanche and a field day

So quickly I rounded up my people and got away with as much haste as possible, never wishing to repeat the experience

I just wish you people could do your job properly, because if I was as bad as you I would be out of business I will post this on our social media sites and let the people of Shropshire know what a poorly managed and uncaring airport you run

It was almost as though the passengers were a necessary evil with which you had to contend

Scare mongering


So 75 Gzillion Turks are set to come to the UK are they?– or at least so someone said in the Shropshire Star a few days ago

And the Brexit mob say that the Stronger In lobby are scaremongering.

And what’s more its all my fault – because I believe that we’re better off remaining as we are.

Well aside from not really believing that the ravening hoards of Osman the First are all all set to reincarnate the Ottoman Empire, on this green and sceptred isle, I refuse to be scared by all the other predictions of what might be, because, lets face it no one knows for sure, we’ve not been there before, Its a bit like predicting the weather, and we know how often the weather men get that absolutely right don’t we.

Being a member of the European Community is just like being a member of any club or organisation, and who can say that they have been content with every facet of every club that they have joined during a life time. But usually we don’t run off, like spoilt children, just because the going get tough

Recently, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said “The European Union has lost its attractiveness because it meddles too much in people’s lives”

The most senior bureaucrat in Brussels admitted such, so there’s the clue.

Do we really need to come out of this club?

Or is it more important that what we need is people with gravitas, with the bottle to be strong, politicians who are tough and can bring pressure to bear to reform this broken community, not lilly livered sensationalists like Boris Johnson?

I happen to think that a large payment as club membership, some minor concession to our sovereignty, or even, Lord forbid, some concession to sustainable immigration, is well worth it to reap the benefits of all the things that the Brexit mob choose gloss over

There are so many consideration other than the economy and immigration but at this time I raise the issue of the risks to the environment which are likely to become a genuine reality if we come out. I think particularly to the health of our bees, and whilst I would prefer fact, if scaremongering pushes your buttons then consider this.

Neonicotinoids were hailed as safe and effective, a scenario that the Cameron environmentalists seek to promulgate. But neonicotinoids are poisons and far from benign and can cause harm to not only our bees but vulnerable young humans alike

The ministers of the EU stood up and supported a moratorium on the use of such poisons, whilst the UK environment department did not and throughout this debate maintain that use of poison on the fields of the United kingdom is quiet acceptable

As long as we have this country is ruled by ideological right wing politicians the underprivileged will remain so and consequently I would contends that we should vote to stay in the EU, if for no other reason than to ensure the safety that tiny, but most important, of all our creatures

If not, in a campaign where the ability to use deception and intrigue, supersedes probity as well as factual informed debate, there is a distinct possibility that those who study the poetry of Rupert Brook may choose not to forget “The lies, and truths, and pain?” . And ask, instead “as yet stands the Church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?”

written by Friend and member Keith Wood, please give him due credit even tho’ it is forwarded by me John Harrison The Bungalow Post office lane Whixall with who Mr Wood stays on his visits

Compliments of the season to you

I went back home to Manchester on the Monday before Christmas. I go there not just because it is the place where I was raised, but because transport in my home area is a disgrace and Manchester is more accessible However I imagine that most major conurbations will experience a similar problems to the one I shall relatehomeless open

It was a typical day in the “Rainy City”
As I hurried along the wet streets with the cold wind whipping round my trouser turn-ups I was so saddened , by the sights of heaps wet bedding covering those individuals who found themselves in situations of abject desperation, many of them taking what shelter they could find in the doorways of empty premises

Not all those occupants in the doorways were drunks, druggies or merely down and outs, by choice, some were ex service men who had given their all in wars, (not all of which were legal) so that we could be free from those who seek to oppress us and perpetrate their evil intentions from far off bases, currently situated in the middle east

I’ve been around the block a time or two and am far from naïve. I do realise that many seek what comfort they can in the bottom of a bottle, but am convinced that the alcoholism is a symptom of despair, not the cause. I am not sure what I, or any of my well heeled friend, would do if they suddenly found themselves cast out and abandoned because of the action of someone with the single minded purpose of “getting the deficit down”

No one would dispute that as a nation we spend too much but how much would it cost to open up disused buildings to help those who suffer because of the horrors they may have experienced defending of our freedom, or even those people, who because our administrations are so heartless, consider some of our people as an expendable consequence of making narrow minded policy decisions work

There have always been tramps, those individuals who, by choice, live on the fringe of society. However it now goes deeper. As a boy in the 50’s I remember well abandoned ex servicemen on Tommyfied Market in Oldham scratching a meagre living by selling matches from a tray which dangled on a string round the neck of the vendor. I remember one man, in particular, who being without legs, had to scoot himself along on a home made trolley with nothing but rags to protect his hands.

It made me sad then and it makes me sad now, to know that so little has changed in over half a century.

I will conclude by saying that I know the problems don’t end with homelessness. People sleeping rough is just the worst of it. If your only crime is not to be well off then then the UK is currently an unwelcoming place to you

So by choice this year I will set any personal culinary indulgences or joyful celebrations aside because I do not believe this society in 2015 has a whole lot to celebrate

I work in our community my views are not necessarily shared by my colleagues but if you have need of transport services you should follow the link below




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On Wednesday November 25, in his Autumn Statement: the chancellor George Osborne promised to overhaul “what the state does and how it does it”.

While the chancellor did not outline any dramatic contraction in the overall reach of the state in his Autumn Statement, he signalled a big shift in the responsibility for delivering and financing public services. Formal devolution of powers to cities and counties, and new revenue raising latitude for local councils, will help to distance Westminster from some of the tougher decisions inherent in another five years of austerity

So boiling that mumbo jumbo down to basics, they want local politicians to appear the big bad guys, whilst remaining the squeaky clean party of the centre ground

Some years ago Theresa May in her address as party Chairman said the Conservatives had to ditch their image s the “Nasty Party” if the wanted to attract the illusive centre ground

No matter how much they try to be goody two shoes they will never make it, when, On Thursday 26 November, less than 24hours after Wee Georgy went prattling on about devolution, they announce that the decision over whether fracking will be allowed to take place in Lancashire will be made by the Secretary of State, after the Government stepped in following the appeal by energy firm Cuadrilla against councillors’ decision to refuse bids to drill and test frack at sites at Little Plumpton off Preston New Road and at Roseacre

So much for devolution, the will of the people or even and that big shift in the responsibility.

Probably best if the “ biggest shift” goes in the direction of honesty and integrity, before even attempting to shift anything else

As it stands the score thus far is Cuadrilla 1; devolution and democracy 0

I think It was a native American chief who first used the expression “white man speak with forked tongue, and hence I doubt there will be much centre ground given over in Lancashire.

Funding & The Future of a Rural Bus Service
The Plight Of The Rural Non Driver
An hour long train journey from our base in North Shropshire, took me on Monday morning into Manchester.metro minutes 6
From the station there are shuttle buses, free to all, to any part of the city, the frequency of which will be a revelation to those rural residents from my part of Shropshire who are unable to hop on a bus, with or without a bus pass, and cannot even use that free bus pass on the park and ride service around Shrewsbury.
Although we have an MP who is part of this Government the needs of the villagers are not being met. If it doesn’t fit within the view presently held of “Austerity” then it can be ignored, and believe me you the villagers of North Shropshire are being ignored. We pay to live here like anyone in a town and if you live in any of the towns there are buses, but out in the villages there is only the Wheelers voluntary run buses, currently weekly for most, apart from the lucky few who live on the periphery of our routes and that cannot be not right by any stretch of the imagination
At the LJC meeting last week Counsellor Mullock raised the issue of the devolution of maternity and some children’s service to Telford and that is despite being no direct link from North Shropshire.
It is unclear which bright spark thought it was a good idea to send expectant mothers (see appendix 1) on a cross county “safari” from North Shropshire villages to Telford, a town which is not served by any form of direct public transport. However the fact remains, that no matter how unfairly the rural dweller is treated, that unfairness is unlikely to change while this climates of Austerity” remains
The right and wrongs of that are obvious and need no pontification from me, but suffice to say that is how it is and we’re stuck with it for the foreseeable.
On a more positive note. We have buses for all eventualities and there is a bus fuelled and ready to go and sat at our yard, but for want of a driver. This is a hazard of relying on a voluntarily service; no volunteer driver , no service .So here’s the challenge to all readers . — Find me a driver and you’ have a bus service – and that is to anywhere not only based medical need
NS Wheelers is desperate for help, to run new and keep existing services going. All our staff are getting older and cannot go on indefinitely. So please come forward and help. Help in anyway you can, 1 hour, I day, 1 week, 1 month, it does not matter, all contributions of help will be gratefully received. The booking line is the number to call for all enquiries 01948880037