Check out today’s YEP letters.
Remembering Sylvia Anderson
Terry Maunder, Kirkstall
Sylvia Anderson, voice of Lady Penelope on Thunderbirds amongst other achievements, has died age 88.
People who are of the age who think that contestants who scream their heads off on The Voice UK are “talented” will not have heard of her. They will never have seen Thunderbirds either because they only watch their mobile phone screens for the next massively important text. I watch my young years and youth passing away, metaphorically and literally, to use the polite terminology but am pleased that I was around to witness the “innocence” of that television era as well as the musical standards embodied by those truly talented musicians I have seen depart recently. Neither will those people have any idea how influential she was in an era when women were sidelined in the media and television. Spice Girls “girl power”? Don’t make me laugh.
Trolleybus scheme is too problematic
S Sleeman, Leeds 6
The problem with the long wait for a trolleybus decision is not that the scheme hasn’t yet started but that it is such a problematic scheme.
The reason the public inquiry of 2014 took so much longer than anticipated was because the cross-examination that took place brought to light the many errors and flaws in the scheme.
The cross-examination of scheme promoters was carried out by a wide variety of people, from top level transport experts, legal experts, environmental experts, financial experts and ordinary members of the public, all objecting to the scheme for important reasons which the people of Leeds should be allowed to know.
It was clear that the NGT consultants (from private companies), the council and Metro staff making their statements in favour of the scheme had no idea they would face such strong and valid cross-examination.
There was much prevarication, circumvention, fudging and many “don’t knows” as the faults and flaws were brought to light.
How many people know, for example, that the inquiry showed that the trolleybus would not ease congestion on the roads or that any costs above budget would be met by Leeds council tax payers (a budget set in 2009) or that, while the Government would take part of any profits from the scheme, they would not pay anything extra should it not be profitable and any losses would have to be met by Leeds/West Yorkshire tax payers.
Many more problems with the scheme came out at the inquiry.
Perhaps the council should consider putting into place a better, city-wide scheme, requiring solutions which can be put into effect now to benefit the entire city and ask the Government to fund this rather than the second-rate trolleybus, especially since they have approved £27 billion for a second Crossrail for London.
Country needs more cyclists
Paul Annis, by email
Peter Horton (YEP Letters, 12 March) thinks that Chris Boardman’s suggestion that the Government should add 2p per litre to the price of petrol to finance road improvements for cyclists is “outrageous”.
Yes, Mr Horton is right in saying that motorists pay more in taxes that is spent on the roads.
But in fact Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and Fuel Duty are not meant to pay for the roads. They don’t even pay the full cost of the damage caused by motor vehicle pollution and accidents.
VED, which is based on a vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions, generated £6 billion in 2014; fuel duty generated £27 billion in 2014: this comes to a total of £33 billion.
The air pollution produced by motor vehicles kills at least 5,000 people per year in the UK, and its cost has been estimated at £19.7 billion per year.
Road traffic accidents kill around 1,850 people per year in the UK, and the annual cost of road traffic accidents was estimated at £16.3 billion in 2014.
So the total cost of both traffic pollution and traffic accidents is £36 billion. Motorists are making a net gain; they are in effect being subsidised by the rest of the population.
Roads are paid for out of general taxation, as they are for the benefit of everyone in the country, not just motorists.
This country needs more cyclists and pedestrians: people who do not contribute to air pollution, do not cause horrendous carnage on the roads, and who do not even cost taxpayers money in the form of public transport subsidies.
Road improvements for cyclists will benefit everyone.
M Meeson, Leeds
With regards to James Kirk’s letter (YEP March 15), nowhere in my letter did I advocate Scotland should leave the United Kingdom, what I did say was if the Scottish Minister threatens a new in/out referendum if the UK decides to leave the EU then let it be.
I was born during WW2 and remember the rationing and “doing without” years of austerity, and to this day I appreciate all those who gave their lives so that we can live in peace and security.
What I do object to is the deluge of so called migrants who seeking sanctuary from the war in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc do not simply settle in the first free country they arrive at but will travel through many other countries to the one they see will give them the best benefits.
And yes, those who do eventually arrive in the UK and find work do pay taxes, but they can immediately claim NHS treatment which the rest of the country has been paying in to since they were born.
I suggest that Mr Kirk visits Poland, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and asks for the same benefits.
Oh and by the way this country has, of 2006, paid back DOUBLE the amount we were LOANED in the Lease/Lend policy, £42.5million to the US and £11.6million to Canada.
Campaign to save clinic
Rev John Theobold, Whitby
In my new place of residence, Whitby, there are two major campaigns against Scarborough Council.
One is to stop the closure of a school, the other is to campaign against the closure and sale of a Tourist Information Centre which helps hundreds of thousands a year.
Now, in my former town, Garforth, there are protests and demonstrations against plans to close the Clinic.
Admittedly, I was an infrequent user and the premises seemed to be underused as a means of justifying closure and sale of the land to the highest bidder. And I know that parochialism runs deep at these moments.
I also know that local authorities have to make a lot of unpopular decisions to make better use of resources.
Britain is in a ‘closure mood’ with police stations, banks, post offices, churches, pubs and other community buildings being sold off. Now Garforth Clinic, a building with untapped potential.
I wish the residents every success in their campaign and the matter pursued with the utmost vigour. If they don’t it will be a green light to the clinic’s owners.
Drivers ignore 20mph limit
Anthony Hind, by email
I have to agree with JP Goldsbrough (Letters March 15) about drivers ignoring 20mph speed limits, we have some of these zones near us and a lot of drivers are doing more than 30 never mind 20.
I do obey these speed limits but you tend to get some idiot right on your rear bumper trying to bully you into going faster. They can do this all day long but I am not going to break the speed limit for them. It would seem some people are not bothered about the suspension on their vehicles judging by the speed they go over the humps.
Clean up the streets
C Sharp, Leeds 25
Have the Leeds City councillors tunnel vision? If not, can’t they see the state of our streets in Leeds?
Bottles, cigarette packets, cans, cigarette ends, paper and almost every variety of litter and rubbish imaginable are everywhere you turn.
The streets need a wash and brush up, they are a disgrace. We pay our council tax when asked and receive less and less in return.
Perhaps some cycle track money could be diverted? Come on LCC clean up the streets. I live in hope but l won’t hold my breath.