YEP Letters: December 7

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Check out today’s YEP letters

No quick fix on region’s transport

Cllr Keith Wakefield, chair, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee

I agree with Grant Woodward (Woodward’s World, YEP December 3) entirely. We need to deal with the transport challenges faced by Leeds and the rest of West Yorkshire today, long before the arrival of HS2 in 2033.

When it does arrive, HS2 will mean quicker journeys from London to Leeds but far more importantly it will provide a huge boost to West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region in terms of improved connections and capacity.

Good transport underpins business, economic growth and job creation and, with huge growth forecast in city and town centres, we need to make the kinds of journeys Mr Woodward describes in his article quicker, easier and more pleasant for commuters.

We want to devise a transport network that means Mr Woodward will not feel the need commute into central Leeds by car but is able to catch the bus or train like tens of thousands of other people do each day. But to entice Mr Woodward and many others like him out of their cars we need to be able to offer an alternative that is reliable, quick, comfortable and easy to use.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution which is why West Yorkshire Combined Authority is embarking on a £1bn programme of 26 Growth Deal transport projects, the first of which, Wakefield Eastern Relief Road, is already on site.

We are also developing a new Transport Strategy for the county that will encompass our road and rail networks and a new approach to bus services and will also consider how we can use trolleybus, tram and tram-train and develop more cycling and walking facilities

And HS2 is not just about Leeds but the whole region which is why West Yorkshire transport network must be HS2-ready and we are making progress on that front.

We are the only area with three new stations being constructed, all of them due to open in the coming weeks and months, along with the new Leeds Station Southern Entrance. We have MCard, which is already the largest smartcard travel system outside London with over one million transactions per week and annual sales over £15 million. And we are investing over £55 million in cycling and walking as part of the Tour de France legacy and developing a better environment for people to walk and cycle as an alternative to using their car for short journeys. There is no quick-fix and Mr Woodward is right when he points out our region has suffered from under-funding for transport from successive governments. That is why it is important we get the right devolution deal in place to ensure that in the future, decisions and funding that affect journeys for West Yorkshire and Leeds City region’s people and businesses are firmly in local hands.


Most important issue of the day

P Lloyd, Farsley

IN answer to Terry Watson (Yorkshire Evening Post, 26 November), the reason for scrapping our coal-fired power stations is because burning coal causes much more pollution, i.e. carbon dioxide, than either oil or gas.

I am very disappointed, to put it mildly, that some people are still claiming that global warming and climate change are not caused by industrialisation.

There is abundant evidence for the connection.

Unfortunately this confusion, aided by the fossil fuel industry, has led to long delays in tackling the problems.

The fact that we can breathe carbon dioxide so long as there is sufficient oxygen mixed with it does not mean it is safe in the atmosphere.

There is now already a far higher proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than for millions of years, which has a blanket-like effect in keeping the heat of the earth.

The average temperature of the earth is already more than 1°C higher than before industrialisation. It is now calculated to be likely to rise by 2.7°C by the end of the century.

Perhaps that doesn’t sound like much, but it will be more than enough to cause terrible storms, floods, droughts and famines. As the great ice sheets melt the sea levels will rise and eventually cover great areas now above water.

Most of the world’s great ports like London, New York etc. will be submerged, and great tracts of agricultural land will be inundated.All fossil fuels emit CO2. We must replace them with sustainable from solar, wind and tidal sources. These will become much cheaper the more we produce and will eventually be cheaper than our present energy.

This government has no excuse for cutting back so much of the subsidies for solar and wind energy production and thereby throwing the sustainable energy industry into chaos.

There will be a very important world conference in Paris next month, organised by the United Nations, in the hope of getting most countries to commit to reducing emissions. The prospects are good this time. At last! Better late than never. This is by far the most important issue of the day.

In 20 or 30 years’ time when, let’s hope, the Middle East wars will be settled, climate change will still be very much with us. Whatever we do it will still be many years before we can stop the damage.

Christmas gets earlier

June Roberts, Wakefield

Since mid August, we have been drip-fed Christmas - it gets earlier every year. We need to revolt against it because Christmas has, indeed, become revolting.

If only all promotions could be held back until December 1, we could all embrace the season. We all know when it falls.

No longer is Christmas about a babe in swaddling bands but, rather, a greedy band of grasping hands. It’s got to stop.

Not good deal for doctors

Judy Goodwin, Altofts

Jeremy Hunt feels that the junior doctors have been given a good deal and should grasp it with both hands.

Let’s compare - junior doctors qualifications are educated to A level standard, with five to six years at medical school and on the job training, starting salaries £25,000.

MPs qualifications - none (being able to lie and keep a straight face does not count), starting salaries £68,000 and all you can fill your boots expenses.

I know who I feel deserves the most with regards to pay and it’s not MPs.