YEP Letters: August 1

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Forty years since death of ‘the King’

David Gibbs, Leeds 7

How could your Retro section cover the year 1977 without so much of a mention of the death that year of the greatest entertainer that ever lived?

I refer of course to Elvis Presley who died that year. This was compounded by putting a picture of Marc Bolan in as the representation of a death that year.

Much as I liked Bolan his death was not the seismic event that was Elvis’.

This omission is all the more astonishing as we are fast approaching the 40th anniversary of his death.

Be proud and positive on cycle superhighway

John Dennis, Chair, CityConnect Advisory Group

The YEP 24th July editorial highlights integration of cycling and walking in new road developments, citing the planned East Leeds Orbital Road.

The same piece describes promotion of active travel in Yorkshire via the CityConnect Cycle Superhighway (CSH) as being “widely decried as dangerous and ill-thought-out by most cyclists”. That description is strongly refuted!

The CSH, described by Transport for London Principal Engineer Brian Deegan as “an amazing achievement”, is the longest segregated cycleway in Britain outside London and the only segregated UK cycleway to connect two major cities.

One regular user says “I genuinely believe that the CSH has made us as a family much happier and healthier”. Usage rose by 30 per cent after opening (over 300,000 recorded trips). And that’s the crux; the CSH is designed primarily for people who don’t yet cycle; the increase in usage represents their voice, which is rarely heard.

When it is, it overwhelmingly says “I don’t cycle on the road because it’s too dangerous”. The CSH helps to make use of the bicycle for everyday transport a normal, integral and safer part of everyone’s lives, for all ages and purposes. And the benefits are manifold; the YEP has also praised CSH-related projects and the step-change it and they represent.

The CSH is not perfect. But the editorial should compare like with like. The CSH, whatever its shortcomings (real or perceived), has been retrofitted along one of the busiest transport corridors in Britain. It provided two key challenges: firstly, technical (physically creating segregated space for cyclists and pedestrians); secondly, political (prioritising such use).

Both challenges have by and large been met. And because of lessons learned from the Cycle City Ambition Grant-funded CSH (including innovation in design, co-operation between districts and shared ambition) planners, developers, engineers, modellers, politicians, users and stakeholders are now in a far better position to integrate high quality provision into new projects. The Ambition Grant funding sought “step-change” via the supported schemes, and CityConnect is seen nationally as achieving that. Every journey starts with a single step and it is that first step that has been made. The journey “as we move to an increasingly low carbon (and hopefully) less congested future” is, due to Yorkshire boldness, well underway. It’s safer, it’s better and it’s making a real difference. Let’s be proud and positive about that!

Happy reminder of road victory

Henry Grogan, Garforth

Last Saturday’s Evening Post ‘Retro’ section’s look back at July 1977 was a happy reminder of the ‘victory’ by campaigners against the proposed Pudsey / Dishforth motorway link.

Living in Garforth, then and now, I am forever grateful to PUDMAG, whose efforts ensured that we on the east side of Leeds got all the benefits of the new A1/M1 link road: easy access to the entire motorway network, north, south, east and west, cutting half an hour off most long distance journeys and boosting the local economy and employment with the business / retail / entertainment developments at Thorpe Park.

Brexit process

John R Wainwright, by email

Some ever hopeful remainers amongst your correspondents still seem to hope that the Brexit process can be reversed, so let us consider what would need to be done to achieve that end.

Firstly, since in the general election 85 per cent of the electorate voted for parties which said that they respected the referendum result and would support Brexit, it seems that barring a mass Damascene conversion what is first needed is yet another election and a new parliament.

For that to happen would require either a vote in parliament (which under the fixed term parliaments legislation would require two thirds majority) or successful vote of no confidence in the government.

Assuming that election were then to be won on a pro EU platform, the new parliament would then have to decide whether to ignore the referendum result and rescind the article 50 declaration (if they had the bottle to do so) or more likely call a second referendum, which they would then need to win, and lastly they’d need to persuade the other 27 member states to accept that decision, which they would probably only do on much inferior conditions to those we have at present.

All of the above steps must be completed before March 31st 2019 - good luck with that.

Hammond should be replaced

Terry Watson, Adel

Is Chancellor Hammond hoping for a top job in the EU?

He obviously has no enthusiasm for leaving the EU and as a devout remainer should never have been given the job of Chancellor. He is now trying to add a three year “transitional period” to the two years already agreed.

This would mean of course that we would continue paying the £270 million a week membership for our considerable trade deficit with Europe. There will of course be other billions we will have to pay when other countries renege on their on their debts.

Hammond should be sacked and replaced by Jacob Rees Mogg, but we have a dithering Prime Minister who is also not up to the job. It took her far too long to trigger article 50, although Cameron should have done it when he resigned.

Davis should now replace May, he lost out to Cameron unfortunately for Britain. Farage should now join the team handling the Brexit business. He knows from experience in the EU Parliament how to talk to the EU dictators.

Can we get rid of Eurovision?

Judith Harris, Leeds 17

Now that we are in the process of Brexit, does that mean we can get rid of the Eurovision Song Contest? Well, we won’t be part of Europe anymore and means one less programme the TV licence payer has to pay for!

Not so simple divorce from EU

Graham Branston, Rawdon.

Much as I admired Boris Johnson’s sentiment when in the Commons he said the EU could ‘whistle’ over any so-called divorce settlement, the terms of the divorce may not be so simple.

If a sum is finally agreed, the UK should be clear on the terms of the payment.

I suggest two conditions; first the sum is fixed, no interest charge; this would be essential because secondly the sum would be repaid annually over, say, 25 years, by which time the undemocratic, wasteful carbuncle that is the EU would hopefully be extinct.

If pigs could fly, bacon would go up!

Walk Together for charity

Julia Bradbury, TV presenter and Bowel Cancer UK patron

Every year, 41,200 people in the UK are diagnosed with bowel cancer, including my mum.

Luckily it was spotted early when survival rates are higher and she has now recovered from the disease.

Physical activity plays an important part in stacking the odds against a bowel cancer diagnosis and as a keen walker myself, I’m delighted to support Bowel Cancer UK’s Walk Together.

Walk Together is a sponsored five mile walk to bring people together so that they can show their support for those undergoing treatment, remember loved ones we have lost and raise funds to help stop bowel cancer. It’s for people of all ages and abilities.

Sign up to Walk Together in London on Saturday 23 September 2017 or to receive a fundraising pack with everything you need to hold your own memorable walk. Visit: bowelcanceruk.org.uk/walktogether

Shocked at state of housing

D S Boyes, Leeds 13

I was shocked by a TV documentary about benefit tenants, some in Leeds, which showed the deplorable state of housing in this country now.

Social housing decimated by the ‘right to buy’ with failure of successive governments, Labour and Conservative, to build replacements, responsibility abregated to ‘private’ landlords renting property out largely on housing benefit – much of it ought to have been demolished years ago. Against this background, I fail to see how Leeds City Council can devote time or money to chasing the impossible dream of capital of culture when Leeds is like an Oscar Wilde’s tale The Picture of Dorian Grey with only the, to them, attractive, affluent minority given any consideration, while the impoverished majority have to struggle often on zero hours contract work, or benefit support. They should forget the glitz and and glamour of designer shops or executive four and five bed detached homes which is all that seem to be built these days, instead devote their efforts and our money to attracting industries giving decent jobs for ordinary workers plus civilised modern social housing.

Instead of current Labour control, maybe Leeds needs another person with fire in their belly like the late Rev Jenkinson who instigated wholesale slum clearance in the 1930s.

Living within your means

A Hague, Leeds 9

IT seems Britain is riddled with spending beyond their income.

People are encourage to borrow more and it increased by ten per cent last year. How these people can cope with thousands in debt I will never know. Council tenants can get over a thousand in arrears and still keep living there.

It seems that living within your means is now in the minority, not rent, food, and clothing first, replaced by luxuries like giant screen TVs and holidays abroad.

Milking the motorist?

Ernest Lundy, by email

So Leeds City Council is considering ‘taxing’ free parking space in the city for those looking to park their cars there in an effort to reduce pollution.

Now that is a real contradiction in terms if ever there was one. It smacks of another milking the motorist exercise. Those who can afford to pay will do, and one suspects that many others will also. But guess what, the pollution will hardly be affected.

As to the government’s intention to stop the sale of diesel and petrol powered cars in the not too distant future, what will they do about buses, commercial vehicles, aircraft, shipping, farm and industrial machinery, and home and industrial heating? It’s easy to declare such an intention, but how they are going to implement the idea is another thing. However, one should never be surprised at any measures produced to milk more cash from the motorist, or make life more difficult.

As for stated deaths annually from pollution, one has to wonder if nuclear tests, the use of depleted uranium explosive devices, and radiation created by the never ending use of weapons and testing throughout the world over the years has contributed to those figures?

Let us know what you think

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To join the debate please email yep.newsdesk@ypn.co.uk.

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New colony of Humboldt penguins in the new Costal Zone at Lotherton Hall.
21st November 2017.
Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

YEP Letters: November 22