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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 19 March 2007

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DANGEROUS cigarette lighters have been banned from sale in Southport in a bid to cut deaths and injuries from fire.

With over a billion lighters sold in the EU every year the European Commission estimates that almost three quarters of them are not compliant with existing health and safety requirements.

A new EU law means that from this week cigarette lighters must be fitted with child resistant devices, costing around 3p each, and those not meeting the strict new requirements cannot be sold.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) claim that making lighters safer will make a massive difference in preventing horrific fires that can devastate families.

In the US where child resistant lighters were introduced in 1995 there has been a 60% reduction in fires, injuries and deaths caused by children under5.

The decision is expected to prevent 5 deaths and 220 injuries each year in the UK.

Southport Euro-MP Chris Davies has welcomed the new law as a "sensible precaution".

The Liberal Democrat MEP said:- "Children can all too easily get their hands on cigarette lighters from their parent's bags and pockets.

If spending an extra few pence on making the lighters saves only one burn then it has to be worth it."

The new ban also covers novelty cigarette lighters that are shaped as toys.

The European Commission has launched a joint project with national authorities to ensure the ban is fully implemented.

Letters to the Editor:- "Red tape and regulation!"

"I would like to comment on the recent news that red tape and regulation have cost businesses in Lancashire almost £150 million since 1998 and that is not taking into account Merseyside!

Many people in the UK think that it is the European Commission which is responsible for so much of the red tape burdening business, but the reality is that it is the Commission that is trying to reduce it. When EU laws replace different sets of national laws, the administrative burden should be simplified, unless those countries keep some of their national legislation at the same time. An even bigger problem is that too many Member States have been “gold-plating” EU legislation when transposing it into national law - and with our growing army of bureaucrats in the UK, we are one of  the worst offenders.

Instead of strangling our small businesses with unnecessary rules and regulations, the Government and its bureaucratic cohorts should employ a "light touch" to ensure that our small firms and businesses can remain competitive in an increasingly globalised marketplace." 
Yours faithfully, The Rt. Hon Sir Robert Atkins MEP.

Pigeon ‘less’ Street

PIGEONS will be in a flap in Liverpool thanks to a new campaign to rid hot spots in the city centre of the birds.

The city council is launching the initiative on Tuesday 20 March 2007 which encourages people not to feed the birds and will see ‘scaring’ techniques introduced to the city centre.

Ten robotic birds of prey called Robops will be placed on the roof of buildings across the city, being moved to different locations at regular intervals. The mechanical birds resemble a Peregrine Falcon which is a natural predator of pigeons.

To deter birds from the building they squawk very loudly and flap their wings.

As a result of the scaring techniques and people not feeding the birds, it is hoped that the pigeon population will move out of the city centre and into our parks and green spaces.

Liverpool city council’s executive member for the environment, Councillor Berni Turner, said:- “Feral pigeons are a real nuisance in the city centre, they fly up at people and they leave droppings everywhere which not only makes the city look really unattractive but can make surfaces slippery and dangerous.

We need to get the message across that anyone who feeds the birds intentionally, or occasionally with leftovers such as sausage rolls or burgers are responsible for our streets being so crowded with these birds.

It’s also important for them to realise they are doing more harm than good by feeding birds this junk food – their natural diet is seeds and some insects, so other food makes them overweight and gives them a scruffy, unhealthy appearance.

We want to be able to showcase our city centre in our birthday year and of course in 2008, so it’s essential we tackle this issue now and educate member of the public that if there’s no food, there’ll be no pigeons.”

A special DVD narrated by Radio Merseyside’s Roger Phillips has also been produced aimed at young people which explains the problems pigeons cause in the city centre. This includes the fact that it takes the street cleansing team 88 staff hours per day to clean droppings from streets and buildings, at a cost of £160,000 a year.

The city council’s environmental health manager, Andy Hull, said:- “Pigeons cause many problems in city centres. Their droppings clog up pipes and a concentration in one area can cause an unpleasant smell.

The key message is to stop feeding them as they will seek food elsewhere and make our city centre cleaner and more hygienic.”

The city’s Business Improvement District team carried out a survey with local organisations to find out what they thought of the issue and 70 per cent agreed that pigeons are a real problem and should be encouraged to move out of the city centre.  Email us your views about pigeons in Liverpool.

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