YEP Letters: March 23

The leader of Leeds Council, Councillor Judith Blake plants the first tree in Gargrave as part of a pilot scheme to protect Leeds from flooding through natural management.The leader of Leeds Council, Councillor Judith Blake plants the first tree in Gargrave as part of a pilot scheme to protect Leeds from flooding through natural management.
The leader of Leeds Council, Councillor Judith Blake plants the first tree in Gargrave as part of a pilot scheme to protect Leeds from flooding through natural management.
Check out today's YEP letters

Tree initiative won’t help ‘Soggy’ Bottom

Mike Lowry, by email

Planting trees to help alleviate flood risks as per the item with Judith Blake (YEP March 21).

Please councillor, don’t try to fool the people of Leeds by this initiative, whilst simultaneously permitting building on flood plains such as Moseley (Soggy) Bottom in Cookridge.

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The removal of this natural soak away site and filling it with thousands of tonnes of building materials will add to flooding lower down stream and there will be little that any new trees can do to stop it.

When will exec vote to save Fearnville fields?

Iain Dalton, Chair, Save Fearnville Fields Campaign

In January those of us who had been campaigning against the proposed free school academy on Fearnville playing fields breathed a sign of relief.

Presented with a statement from Coun Mulherin, executive member for children and families, that she would recommend to the council executive that the proposals for Fearnvile fields wouldn’t be proceeded with we felt that finally the council had seen sense. So it was anticipation that we awaited the February executive meeting to see them decide to rule out Fearnville fields as a possible site.

Unfortunately the executive didn’t even discuss it, nor did they at Wednesday’s executive meeting. Indeed, when Coun Mulherin has been since contacted and asked when Fearnville fields would be ruled out as a potential school site, she has referred people to the December decision to delay a decision. But that decision didn’t rule Fearnville fields out, but merely suggested other sites be considered alongside it.

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A cynic would say the council’s Labour leadership are waiting to see out this May’s all-out elections and then re-propose building on the fields.

But the council leadership have another opportunity to do the right thing ahead of these elections at April’s executive meeting.

We have to try to get to work

Dave Redmond, Leeds 12

In YEP opinion (March 20) A Hague asks ‘why are smooth tyres used in winter?’ and ‘why were chains on wheels not used?’

‘Smooth tyres’ - what on earth do we mean here? I presume A Hague means, perhaps, ‘summer tyres’? Most tyres in the UK are just that...tyres. They are not designed for use in heavy snow. Winter tyres are the answer but they are relatively expensive and we do not, usually, receive enough snow here to warrant the cost (and the additional expense of swapping tyres and wheels over from summer tyres in the autumn and back again in the spring). As for chains - they are difficult to fit, dangerous if not fitted properly and the moment you find yourself on a tarmac, clear, road surface they must be taken off or they will quickly wear away. So they are not exactly practical in the UK - we are not in The Alps A Hague!

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Finally, A Hague asks ‘why were warnings ignored for the motorways?’ and that he/she has no sympathy for any people ‘who act like sheep’. Blimey, does A Hague not realise that people have to, at least, try to get to work?

Democracy awards launch

Chloe Smith, Minister for the Constitution

This week I am launching the first ever UK Government National Democracy Week Awards, which will recognise outstanding achievements in democratic engagement.

The awards are a great opportunity to highlight the work so many people are doing in this area, often without reward.

The awards will be part of National Democracy Week, taking place from 2nd July - 90 years on from women winning the equal right to vote. Throughout the week, events will be happening across the country, aimed at increasing the number of people who understand and participate in our democratic system.

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I encourage you to get involved with the activities happening across Yorkshire and to nominate someone you believe deserves to be recognised for championing democracy.

For more information on National Democracy Week and the awards, visit

The $100bn question

E Gardner, Leeds.

I recently travelled for business to the new US Embassy in London.

It’s a square tower block, set awkwardly within its plot near Battersea. The remarkable thing is its astonishing cost of $100 billion.

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To a Yorkshire native, such overspending is a shock. How much would $100 billion have helped the disaster-struck island of Puerto Rico, still struggling with power and water, or addressed any number of social problems in the US? It seems like all sense of proportion and accountability went out the window.

Pool will inspire a generation

Coun Jacquie Speight, Wakefield Council cabinet member for culture and sport

I was lucky enough to meet Max Litchfield, Olympian and world championship swimmer, when he opened our new £5million leisure facility last week.

It was great to see how impressed he was with Minsthorpe Leisure and he was very keen to point out that one of the best inspirations for future generations of swimmers was having a fantastic, modern, high-quality swimming pool to use.

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That is exactly what we are planning to build at the Five Towns Leisure Well-being Centre.

By investing £15million in brand new state-of-the-art leisure facilities, we have the opportunity to inspire a whole generation across the Five Towns area as well as providing all our residents with the high quality facilities they deserve.

No surprise on passports

Judy Goodwin, Altofts

Is anyone surprised that British passports will be made in another country?

This is following the tradition of Tony Blair and David Cameron who were more than happy to give government contracts to any country but the UK, even when it meant loss of British jobs.

More space for all is the answer

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David Mitchell, National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship

Over a year after campaigner Doug Paulley won his historic case in the Supreme Court, I welcome news that, finally, ministers intend to improve bus access for wheelchair users.

We know that government moves slowly, but we are aware that signs saying wheelchair users have priority over buggies, plus driver powers to insist a wheelchair space on public transport is vacated, are all under consideration.

One could be forgiven for wondering why action has not come sooner.

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Signs and campaigns are unlikely to prove sufficent and we look forward to a package of measures being announced later this year.

Whilst we recognise it could be inconvienient to move pushchairs, we also 
recognise the able bodied are perhaps not afforded the same protection as the disabled, (who can pick up bags, fold a pushcair or walk) as these are all things wheelchair users can never do.

No one in The British Polio Fellowship wants confrontation with others who rely on public transport, too.

The disabled community fear travel enough, without adding public resentment. We would prefer to see improved space for all.

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However, we should not have to fight for the basic facilities so hard won, provided for us in law.

It boils down to a crisis in public transport, when able and disabled travellers are fighting for scraps.

It took hard fought battles by our late member Sir Bert Massie and others, for wheelchairs to be accepted on bus, taxi and train and Mr Pauley’s experiences remain common among many living with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS).

More space for all is the answer and radical solutions, rather than signs, must start to come forward.

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The British Polio Fellowship can be found at or call 0800 043 1935.

Celebrate our robust approach to safety

Brett Dixon, President, Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)

We should be proud that countless deaths and injuries have been avoided because of the UK’s robust approach to safety.

Yet safety measures in place for adventure activities are under review, and one option up for discussion is to abolish the licensing authority and replace it with a voluntary scheme.

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How any parents would be happy to send their child off on a kayaking or mountain biking excursion without a statutory, enforced, safety scheme in place is difficult to fathom. Health and safety protection should be celebrated, not watered down. It must be noted that many safety laws have their roots in Europe, so proper scrutiny is needed during the Brexit process when it is decided which laws will stay and which will go.

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