YEP Letters: August 18

Have your say

I RECENTLY visited Leeds for some family business and got lost in the city.

As a result of this, I accidentally went into a bus lane but corrected myself almost immediately. Imagine my shock when I received a penalty through the post.

I wrote to Leeds City Council explaining that I was a tourist in their city and that it’s disgraceful that they want to make quick money out of such visitors. Their response was basically ‘tough’.

They have a lot to offer tourists but for them to take this approach is going to restrict the number of visitors who come to the city.

I, for one, will not return. While I do have a young family who would enjoy such attractions as the Royal Armouries and Tropical World, it would be easy to find attractions elsewhere.

For the sake of a fixed penalty, Leeds City Council has cost their own city a potential income from parking, entrance fees, refreshments and gifts.

Just in my recent three visits, for example, I brought a thousand pounds into the local economy.

Roy Watson, Hull

Veggies enjoy best of health

I am writing in support of Brenda Blair’s most deserved riposte to cafe owner Ira Silverman, who said she hated vegetarians and didn’t trust them (YEP, August 6).

Many people are ignorant of the quality of a meatless diet, but ‘veggies’ (herbivores) aren’t so different from carnivores (meat devourers) except to say they’re more kindly disposed to all animals.

Cows are kept perpetually pregnant for a continuous milk supply that should be going to their calves.

Soya milk, rice milk and almond milk are delicious alternatives. Cholesterol is only found in animal foods such as meat, fish and dairy.

Horses are noble and hard-working animals and to kill them for human consumption, to my mind, is obscene. Eating ostrich is equally mindless.

You don’t need to be super intelligent to reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, various cancers, bowel disorders and osteoporosis.

You can have all the vitamins you need by making nutritious meals from vegetables, fruit, nut, beans and pulses. So go out and buy a vegetarian cookery book.

Vegetarians and vegans enjoy the best of health and they live longer – that’s official. Draw your own conclusions and get smart!

June Newton, Rothwell

Low emissions is the target

I am writing in response to the letter from Councillor Paul Wadsworth on the subject of whether the council might start charging motorists a pollution tax (YEP, August 12). I am pleased that we have agreement across the council on the need to do all we can to support a healthier environment for residents, particularly those affected by very busy roads and the pollution that can cause.

But while I’m sure Coun Wadsworth wrote with the best of intentions, I suspect he might be mixing up suggestions of a low emissions zone with that of a charging zone.

Leeds City Council is currently working with partners to develop a report looking into the possibility of low emissions zones, along with other measures, to improve air quality in the city.

While at this stage it’s unclear what the impact of any resulting recommendations may be, I would expect them to be targeted in a broad way at measures to reduce air pollution and would not want to see any suggestions that the general public should be charged based on where they want to drive in the city.

Councillor Mark Dobson, Executive Board Member for Cleaner, Stronger and Safer Communities, Leeds City Council

Paying price of Ofgem’s rules

In their efforts to simplify energy tariffs, industry regulator Ofgem has caused many people to be financially worse off.

Many of the main suppliers have been forced to stop providing a tariff with no standing charge, which is better for low energy users.

I only used five units of gas in the last quarter yet I have to pay an extra £25 a quarter standing charge – or to put it another way, £100 a year.

What is worse is that my tariff was switched without my knowledge so I was not able to look at alternative providers.

My late father’s house is standing empty with the gas turned off and hardly any electricity being used.

Yet I now have to find £200 a year in standing charges from my disability benefits.

It’s hardly surprising that so many people are struggling to pay their energy bills when Ofgem are acting so recklessly. The only people benefiting from their presence are the energy suppliers.

Martin Phillips, Cookridge

Northern Rail not to blame

I read with interest and a sense of frustration the letters from Kevin Wilson and Terry Allinson (YEP, August 14) regarding the state of our railways.

Mr Wilson seems to believe all the problems lie at the feet of Northern Rail – wrong.

When Northern Rail were awarded the franchise, the Government made it clear it was on the basis that there would be no expansion of the rail fleet or any extra money to make improvements.

Northern spent years trying to squeeze extra cash out of the Government for new trains and were eventually promised them.

All they got was a collection of old trains from other franchise holders. Although in truth they could have used some of the vast profits they gave to Serco and the Dutch national railways.

As for Terry Allinson’s interest in George Osborne’s vision of a northern ‘powerhouse’, one must understand that we’ve been shortchanged for years when it comes to transport.

In Yorkshire and the Humber the transport subsidy is £303 per head. In London it’s £4,895 per head. So a few billion spent up North would only even the balance.

What would help us is a single northern franchise covering all our train services.

We also need to stop foreign-owned train operating companies sending profits abroad to subsidise other railways. Their fares stay low while ours go up above inflation every year.

Steve Fodden, Garforth

No handouts for sporting dream

I want to respond to the replies to my suggestion that lottery money could be spent on better causes than local amateur athletes (YEP, August 12).

I’m not ‘berating’ these sportsmen and women, I’m just saying the money would be better spent elsewhere rather than buying a few medals.

Actually I am a boxing fan. But three rounds with big gloves and headgear isn’t ‘real’ boxing anyway.

In ‘real’ boxing, boxers tend to turn professional after a bit of amateur success and not take the easy option and easy medals against limited opposition.

It seems some prefer to continue taking the cushy, lottery-funded option.

Athletes like these should pay for themselves or get private sponsors to chase their sporting dream, rather than relying on handouts.

B Carr, Beeston

B Carr complains about using lottery money to support athletes at the Commonwealth Games.

We should support these young people who work and train hard to achieve a goal far out of the reach of most of us.

Young people get such a bad press nowadays, it’s wonderful to read of youngsters from our region who have achieved so much in such a short time.

Let’s be proud of them and not quibble about the cost of a few medals.

Anne Ward, Leeds