City divide over incinerator plan

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IT is gratifying to learn that the good citizens of north Leeds have prevailed, and the 50ft mobile phone mast will not be erected to despoil their fair views across Slaid Hill to Wigton Lane, Shadwell, Wyke, Adel, Alwoodley and the other salubrious northern suburbs of our fair city.

After all, a 50ft mast would make such a massive impact on this bucolic landscape, and one can understand Leeds Planning Department not wishing to antagonise residents of the stockbroker belt with any suggestion of commerciality or any infringement of those sunny upland horizons.

Here in east and south Leeds we can identify with these concerns, as we too have a problem with Leeds Planning Department.

It seems that we are blessed with not one but two proposed sites for the upcoming city incinerator. Happily, the planners offer us the option of two locations, within half a mile of each other, and conveniently close to the malodorous sewage lagoons and landfill site, so that the entire output of detritus from Leeds's 750,000 population can be channelled down the Lower Aire Valley – that's smoke, soot, smells, fumes, dust and litter.

Here, offensive airborne pollution will be distributed (depending on wind direction) amongst the residents of Halton, Cross Gates, and Seacroft, spread over Whitkirk and Austhorpe to Scholes and Barwick, and darken the skies and assail the nostrils of people in Woodlesford, Oulton, Rothwell, Garforth, Swillington, and Kippax. Mostly of course, we reside in the old mining communities so we've learned not to expect too much from Leeds Council.

But it would be good to learn that, when it comes to planning decisions, we were playing on a pitch as level as that pertaining in north Leeds.

Vernon Wood, Leeds 25

Jobseeker's plight

I THOUGHT your readers would like to know a few facts regarding trying to get a job in today's climate, that may give them something to think about.

I have had the misfortune, despite applying for many jobs, to have been out of work for six months. A few weeks before Christmas I was offered an interview in Ripon, (I live in Leeds); the job was to have been based in Harrogate, but I was willing to travel.

I just want to work, but was told by the benefits office that I would have to pay my own costs and reclaim them as Ripon has no train station, and they only provide train passes. I explained that as I only get 65.45 a week I didn't have this money. Tough, I was told very rudely, not their problem.

Then I was offered an interview in Ilkley. Though Ilkley has a train station, I decided as I wouldn't get an appointment quick enough with the benefits agency, I would pay it myself and claim it back.

I went for the interview and then went for a "work trial" on the Monday. No problem claiming expenses, you would think, but no, apparently I shouldn't have done a "work trial" without it being checked for health and safety, and Ilkley is not classed as far enough away to warrant help towards expenses.

So, I would just like to ask people who seem to think all on the dole want to be there, to once in a while think to themselves that maybe they've not been given any choice in the matter. Oh, and if anyone knows the criteria for help with getting a job, could they please let me know, or better still let them know at the benefits office, as they don't seem sure.

LIZ GOODWILL, by email

Forgotten road

THE new route numbers for bin collections can now be displayed online, on submitting one's postcode, so I felt pretty confident, when complaining on January 10, that the bins unemptied since before Christmas would now be so done.

Not so, two days later still no collection therefore a further telephone call to the call centre with the assurance that the complaint would be escalated to a higher level. Action – hooray – the bin men arrived and I thanked them for their attendance, however was informed that my road (Cliff Road, Hyde Park and some surrounding streets) have now been removed from the route due to said route being too large.

When I enquired as to the new route number applicable, apparently there isn't one as yet.

When there is sufficient work for the 'forgotten roads' to be made into a new route, we will have a new number! Until then we will only be visited by the binmen if we request them to do so.

If indeed, as the YEP states, the binmen are to lose money from their wage packets for uncollected bins, can the 'saved' money be put towards the council tax for refuse collection?

I don't see why we residents of this fine city should pay such a high amount for an appalling hit-and-miss refuse collection 'service'.

Maureen Kershaw, Hyde Park

Bankers' gall

AS we struggle to cope with the costs of fuel, food, gas, electric and other essential commodities, we learn also of exorbitant charges made by some councils for burials, the increased costs of hiring sports grounds, bowling greens, tennis courts and the like, which used to be supported by the rates.

We are also told by the council to expect significant increases in council tax, as well as council house rent increases of around 6.8 per cent; just another example of the 'we are all in it together' culture that we have been told to expect by the incumbent coalition.

Fair enough one might say, there can be no gain without pain, as any old person will tell you, having lived through the last war and the so-called 'we've never had it so good' years of Harold Macmillan, the decimation of the coal and other industries.

But, as we try to resign ourselves to these unavoidable demands upon our pockets and the restrictions they will impose, what do we discover? That, like the phoenix rising, those brass-faced, unrepentant, egotistical bankers are once again declaring bonuses for their top men, who seem to be valued more than Croesus himself, in spite of their recent faux pas risk-taking and its effect upon the world economy.

One could take the view that their salaries are totally insignificant for the work they do, but pull the other one. What makes it worse is that they seem to be completely without conscience, and have enough gall to openly declare once again their intentions to pay these bonuses.

This being so, we may be left with only one question to ask: 'Who is it who really pulls the strings?' The answer should be obvious.

E A Lundy, Leeds

No alternative

I MUST say "thank you" to our avid Labour supporters for telling us how bad those "nasty Tories" were nearly 20 years ago.

I must ask how long did it take those "nasty Tories" to cause these problems we are having now, and why the Labour Party, in their 13 years of power have done nothing to change things?

What was the state of our finances when Mrs Thatcher and Major left power? In the red? If so, why are our finances in such a state now after 13 years of Labour rule, while its ex-leader is a multi-millionaire.

When the Labour Party can give me truthful answers to these questions, I will believe these out-of-touch people, until then I will support this current government, (yes government no matter how many votes put them there), in their endeavours to put this country back on its feet, they are an elected government without having to cheat to get their seats.

So, after 20 years, let's forget the mistakes of others, and like we did in two world wars, let us buckle down and concentrate on getting this country back on its feet.

LE SLACK, Lingfield View, Leeds 17

History of rats

IF you've seen a rat in broad daylight nicking the bird food and peanuts, more than likely he is the brown woodland rat. He loves to live in gardens, orchards and near trees and, more less, is a vegetarian. He lives down a hole, neatly burrowed out approximately 2in in diameter, usually sauntering out at midday.

The other rats come out at night and have a regular rat run to sources of food and to steal from hen pens and pigeon lofts, tips and drains.

Obviously rats are only around because food is available and from large colonies, unless dealt with (by a visit from the council vermin control officer and as far as I know, no charge is made if you are a council tenant).

I've known of three persons who died from rat bites infected with virus hepatitis, which foxes often have, from eating rats. A rat takes a flying attack when cornerned and does bite – as do foxes, who carry the virus.

Many rats originate from South American voyages from the days of galleons fetching maize and beans. There is a tricoloured rat of South America, the origins of which were discovered in West Yorkshire, deep down in an old corn storage cellar.

Madge Meadows, Castleford

Crisis point

AFTER reading the letter about the Leeds Crisis Centre to close, I am mystified why I read on January 13 that a Leeds-based social enterprise has been awarded a grant of 120,000 from the Big Lottery Fund. Good for them for getting it, but surely a Crisis Centre is more important than any type of centre stuyding arts etc?

With more problems for people, like less jobs and money for fuel bills and other vital services, we must not close a Crisis Centre, as it will cost more to put right the damage done.

A Hague, Bellbrook Grove, Leeds

Hope everlasting

LIKE many a biblical sceptic before him, Robert Tee chooses to put his own spin on a passage from scripture and chooses to ignore another which runs counter to his hypothesis (YEP, January 17).

Taken together, the Sermon on the Mount, better known to us as The Beatitudes, reflect, in a more holistic manner, the teachings of Jesus Christ, who spoke of Peacemakers as Children of God.

Clearly this is a concept difficult for an Hon. Sec. of a Humanist Society to grasp, but while there's breath there's hope and I, for one, continue to keep Robert and his members in my prayers.

Richard T Strudwick, Manston Avenue, Leeds

YEP Letters: February 19