Andrew Abbott's Blog

Friday, 18 May 2012

Lincolnshire this week.

In yet another example of government lack of interest in the food county, DEFRA have announced that they will not be supporting Lincolnshire’s bid to have protected status for our superior sausage. The reasons being, well basically so everyone else can make money at our expense by manufacturing inferior copies of the famous yellowbelly delicacy. Displaying a marked lack of research Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice said: "British food is outstanding and we're working hard to protect the local heritage of certain foods through PGI status.

"But with so many variations on the recipe, and 95% of sausages sold under the Lincolnshire Sausage label being made outside the county, the application as it stood could have seriously damaged businesses and jobs," he said.

"We remain open to looking at other options which would allow producers in Lincolnshire to highlight the traditional and local nature of their sausages, without potentially damaging the overwhelming majority of manufacturers."

Eagle eyed Lincolnshire Echo snappers have published photographs taken at Lincoln Castle showing that scenes for the forthcoming series of Downton Abbey have been shot in the county. Celeb spotters have also spied actors from the tale of toffs, snobs and servants emerging from a Lincoln hotel so we can look forward to the next instalment with even more relish than usual whilst seeing if we can identify local landmarks.

BBC Lincolnshire is on the road all week in an ambitious week long outside broadcast. All the presenters have packed their bags and headed for destinations well away from the studios in Lincoln to bring a real local flavour to the regular programmes with broadcasts from venues as diverse as Mablethorpe, Market Rasen, Stamford and Woodhall Spa. As Peter Levy from local regional TV is also a BBC Lincolnshire presenter, magazine show Look North also hit the road and was presented from Boston on Thursday, from the towns Assembly Rooms.

Talking of Boston the town is in the news this week as it has been revealed that remote sensors have been installed in the tidal river section to detect changes below ground which may have a bearing on the way the flood defences perform. The research is being carried out in very few sites throughout the world. The project is a European Commission venture. Andy Tagg, from specialist consultancy HR Wallingford, which is involved in the project, said: "If you take the UK we have thousands of kilometres of flood defences but very few, if any, have got any remote sensors in them.

"At the moment people have to carry out visual inspections or they have to carry out specific surveys."

In fact Boston is the only such testing zone in the UK and is apparently almost uniquely suitable as the town is supposedly the highest flood risk in the whole of England and Wales. This will come as a surprise to the many communities who have been flooded whilst Boston remained dry.

Home secretary Theresa May had a rough ride at the hands of the boys in blue this week at the Police Federation conference and one of the reasons was Lincolnshire Police’s £200 million tie up with G4S. The government asked lawyer Tom Winsor to report on the deal which will see a private company, for the first time in this country collaborate with the police in the carrying out of their duties. What’s wrong with that I hear you say? Well Tom Winsor’s firm, White & Case also advise G4S. Delegate Sarah Adams asked the Home Secretary:-

"When you appointed Tom Winsor to carry out your independent review of policy, did you know that the law firm Tom Winsor is part of, White & Case, which was negotiating the multi-million groundbreaking deal for G4S with Lincolnshire Police?

"How can it be fair and independent if there's a vested interest?"

Mrs May was typically forthright in her response:-

"Tom Winsor did his review entirely independently. He did not do that review as part of the firm - he did it as an individual.

"You might not like all the answers that came out of the Winsor Review but there is a process whereby the federation's voice will be heard in response to these proposals."

Network Rail is seeking people’s views on the vexed subject of Lincolns level crossing. Hope they’re ready to put plenty of bodies in place for the expected deluge.

Network Rail spokesman Rachel Lowe said: "We recognise it is important to give people in Lincoln the opportunity to see what we are doing, to comment on it and to influence its development.

Time to close the gate on another week in Lincolnshire. Have a good weekend.

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