YEP Letters: December 29

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Sad end to proud mining history

John Allott, Unite national officer for coal.

COAL was responsible for kick-starting the Industrial Revolution 250 years ago and generating much of the country’s energy needs since then.

The closure of Kellingley colliery is a sad end to the proud history of deep mining coal production in the UK. There is a future for coal in the UK and it is not a lost cause. We urge the Government to turn more attention to surface mining and its future development and creation of much-needed employment.

We are sitting on a sea of coal that Ministers now seem to have discarded in their energy calculations, despite the fact that we are living in an increasingly insecure world where oil and gas imports could be under threat.

The last straw was the jettisoning of the £1bn carbon capture and storage (CCS) competition by chancellor George Osborne last month that would have given coal a real future, while keeping carbon emissions within EU limits. This technology is already used effectively in Canada and Sweden.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd does not seem to have a grip of her portfolio and appears to be rudderless under the weight of Treasury pressure. Coal is a victim – as are the dedicated workers at Kellingley – of this policy of drift, cutbacks and short-sightedness.

Currently 31 per cent of electricity comes from coal burning power stations, but a third of this is expected to close by next year and by 2023 the National Grid expects all the power stations to close, leaving a gaping hole in the UK’s capacity.When the sun is not shining, the wind is not blowing and there is peak demand, we need other affordable, reliable and secure sources of UK energy supply.


Patient safety is compromised

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive, Patients Association.

THE findings of the annual Nursing Times survey paint a very worrying picture for the safety and care of patients right across the country.

Nurses are clearly under increasing pressure and it is alarming that seven out of 10 respondents said they had seriously considered leaving the profession over the last 12 months, leading to inevitable staff shortages. In addition, more than half of respondents said they ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ had either sufficient staff or time to ensure safe care was provided to patients, and two-thirds of respondents said that care activities were left undone during their last shift.

It is particularly concerning that the most common activities being left undone were those relating to holistic care, such as comforting or talking with patients, which have a huge impact on patients and their families. The findings show that patient safety is clearly being compromised, and unfortunately this only confirms what we are being told on our National Helpline from patients, public, and carers.

The welfare of patients should always be the priority and the starting point for all treatments.

There is an urgent need for a decisive change in culture and priority to put patient needs at the heart of the care sector, which is why the Patients Association has established a new APPG for Patient Safety that will be looking at a number of patient safety issues, including safe staffing.

A simple solution?

John Copperthwaite, Leeds 16

Your correspondent Anthony Craven (YEP December 19) should be congratulated on his brilliant and simple solution to the problem of traffic congestion. Tax all cyclists!

How I wish I had thought of this. Such a move would revolutionise the roads network and get traffic flowing freely once more.

This is a far superior, common sense idea and approach which easily outweighs that of general respect, patience and consideration by all road users for others.

Thanks to Mr Craven, I now see much more clearly that the cause of roads congestion is not, as I had hitherto believed, that of the volume of traffic and some impatient motorists but one of obstructive cyclists!

Error of energy policy

Judy Goodwin, Wakefield

While the government is more than happy to give billions of our taxes away to the EU and in aid to suspect countries it refuses to invest in our future energy.

We sit on a sea of coal but it has not invested a penny to make our coal fired power stations clean, instead it imports wood chips from deforestation in North Carolina and Canada and close our mines and power stations.

How long will it be when we are reliant on gas and electricity from France and Russia before the price rises and the same with steel from China, making us uncompetitive with our exports.

Our forests are not fuel. Environment groups are already protesting in Canada so how long will it be before the wood chip source dries up?

If David Cameron surrounded himself with wise men instead of his school pals he may see the error of his energy policy.