YEP Letters: July 28

Check out today's YEP letters

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 28th July 2016, 6:00 am
Leeds General Infirmary in Great George Street, Leeds.
Leeds General Infirmary in Great George Street, Leeds.

More parking needed at LGI

Paul Hatton, Selby

Considering the sheer scale of developments underway around the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI), did anyone even contemplate that among the hotels, student accommodation, fitness centres and bars that it might be more beneficial to the people of Leeds and surrounding areas to set aside some space for hospital car parking?

Anyone who has visited the LGI either as a patient or carer must acknowledge the acute problem of finding somewhere to park when visiting the hospital: even disabled spaces are almost impossible to find. I am aware that we are being encouraged to use public transport but this is often impossible for sick and disabled patients. Every visit adds to the stress levels of already anxious patients and their families.

We are not asking for a state-of-the-art multi-storey, just a large space with a few white lines painted in it. I am sure the people of Leeds will cope without one more university building.

Take practical measures to stop flooding

Councillor Paul Wadsworth, Guiseley & Rawdon Ward, Leeds City Council

I was disappointed to read that Robert Goodwill MP is no longer the Floods Envoy for Leeds, after receiving a ministerial appointment in the new government (‘Total shambles’ as county’s flood envoy scrapped, YEP, July 20).

Since the flooding the government has given Leeds grants totalling £3.435m to help with the immediate effects of the flooding over Christmas and the New Year, plus another £35m towards the £65m of Phase 2 of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme.

There is also the £4.5m the council has been given for infrastructure repairs, the bulk of which will go towards the cost of repairing Linton Bridge.

The council can complement this funding by doing more to help prevent flooding by protecting, not allowing development on, wetlands, planting trees and ensuring gulleys and drains are kept clear and free-flowing.

Although it is currently unclear whether a new Flooding Envoy for Yorkshire will be appointed, and I will be pushing for one, the council can be taking practical measures now that can help local households and businesses be protected from flooding in future.

Alarm bells over masterplan

Vernon Wood, by email

Alarm bells started ringing the moment I read your headline “1300 hectare masterplan set for council approval” (YEP July 25).

This “masterplan” (Aire Valley Action Plan) details major developments for the vast greenfield site immediately adjacent to (ahem) Leeds Sewage Works. Yes – that one. The one near the new recycling centre and in the shadow of the huge wind turbine. nybody familiar with this area (and I do hope at least one of Leeds’ 99 councillors have visited) cannot fail to be aware of the bracing - if noxious – aromas which permeate the atmosphere. Sufficient, I would imagine, to discourage any potential developer from investment hereabouts on the grounds of staff recruitment problems. Leeds citizens have become far too familiar with previous council “masterplans” (the tram smash, the trolley folly, the bikeway superjoke….), so for this latest venture may I suggest the council sets a pioneering example?

By moving the entire local government establishment (14000 employees?) from city centre to a new civic hall overlooking those salubrious lagoons and settling tanks, would-be developers may be persuaded that here is a “masterplan” not to be sniffed at. With the City Hall and various other council offices now vacant, a property auction would release capital to finance another masterplan (in addition to the new £20 million Inner City centre biker ring road and crosstown grid trackplan).How about a Woodhouse Moor circus, with squadrons of flying pink pigs encircling a troupe of performing white elephants?

Defend pension funds

Dr Glyn Powell, Kellington

MPs have described Sir Philip Green’s actions whilst in control of British Home Stores (BHS) as the “unacceptable face of capitalism”, arriving at this damning indictment because while Green was busy enriching himself, the BHS business was going down the pan, leaving job losses exceeding 11,000 and even more importantly 22,000 current and future pensioners with uncertainty over pension incomes, due to the dire condition of the BHS pension fund.

However, many Conservaive MPs are guilty of gross hypocrisy. As according to leaked reports from Tory Party think tanks, the governing party is seriously considering enacting legislation that will greatly weaken the benefits of company pension schemes. Weakened by i) linking future automatic pension fund increases to the consumer price index (CPI) rather than the usually higher retail price index (RTI) level. ii) even more damaging is that where a pensioners spouse is denied receipt of a pension after the pension fund holder’s death.

The spurious reason for considering these retrograde changes to pension fund rules is that under present economic conditions many funds cannot afford to continue paying benefits under existing rules.

The exemption to the foregoing proposed changes are those in public service - therefore MPs’ pensions will be unaffected!

Yet these same people call Philp Green’s actions unnacceptable whilst considering measures that would make Green’s actions pale in comparison.

In conclusion, pension funds were hard fought gains by our forebears.

Therefore, trade unions should organise widespread direct action in defence of these valuable company benefits.

Water safety in school holidays

Elizabeth Clements, Mineral Products Association

I am writing to request readers’ help in raising awareness of water safety during the school summer holidays and the warmer weather.

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is supporting the water safety campaigns being run by other organisations such as the RNLI, RLSS and the Fire and Rescue Services. Collectively, we do not want to discourage members of the public from enjoying the water but would like people to be aware of the risks and choose to swim in areas that are safe. On average, there are circa 400 accidental drownings each year spread across the UK. Many of these tragic deaths are in open water such as quarry lakes, reservoirs, rivers and canals.

All too often, these tragedies occur when people are enjoying a leisure activity or are engaged in what they perceive as harmless fun.

The tragic death last week of a 19-year-old boy, who drowned whilst swimming with friends in a former quarry lake, is a tragic reminder of the importance of these messages.

Man-made quarry lakes or reservoirs can be particularly unsuitable for swimmers and paddlers.

Often they can be extremely deep, have sudden changes in water depth, be difficult to exit and conceal a range of hazards such as pumps, entangling weeds, rocks and old machinery.

Significantly, the water in quarry lakes and reservoirs can be extremely cold even on a hot summer’s day.

At 15C and below, the body can experience cold water shock when immersed in water, this results in a sudden, involuntary inhalation of water into the lungs which can be deadly.

The cold water can also cause even strong swimmers to tire quickly, become breathless and potentially disorientated.

With over 800 active and thousands of former quarries spread across the UK, it is likely that many readers will live within a few miles of one of these sites.

A large number of these sites will have lakes or similar water filled voids.

To find out more, view the campaign Facebook page Stay Safe Stay Out of Quarries and “share” this with others.

Please also remember that warning signs and fences are there to help protect you and your family.

Bank anomalies

Ernest Lundy, by email

Following the recent news that banks intend to demand exhorbitant repayment interest rates on any account going into the red on unauthorised overdrafts, we are now told that if the Bank of England introduces negative rate of interest, they intend to charge a fee for those putting money into accounts.

Banks and building societies are already using our money for little or no return, but they should never be allowed to get away with this!