YEP Letters: December 8

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Council’s positive principle on trees

N Bywater, by email

What a really positive principle, that Leeds City Council have adopted a ‘natural-first’ approach when trying to alleviate flooding from the River Aire.

Planting more trees in the Kirkstall corridor and the South Bank area will make it a better place to live. The same policy should be applied in other areas. Reducing noise from traffic, planting evergreen trees that retain their leaves would be an ideal solution, also helping to increase wildlife.

We have seen an alarming decline in some animals and especially in birds.

Let’s plant more trees in order to help climate change, and indeed to improve our own health. There has been research that shows people live healthier and happier lives when they live in a tree lined street.

Still concern over city’s housing target

Coun Andrew Carter CBE, Leader of the Conservative Group, Leeds City Council

Given the recent coverage of planning matters on these pages I thought I should write again and update readers on the latest position, as I regard them to be, with particular reference to housing numbers in Leeds.

The Development Plans Panel met two weeks ago to discuss establishing a new housing requirement for the city. The Labour administration is finally in ‘headlong retreat’ as regards its excessive and unjustifiable plans for 70,000 new homes over the next 10 to 12 years. However, their previous intransigence has already led to lost planning appeals, and the needless sacrifice of greenfield sites.

The options set before the committee were 42,384 as set out in the recent government consultation ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places’, 51,952 and 55,648, or a higher figure of 60,528.

What is ‘striking’ is that all these figures are significantly less than the target established by the Labour administration in 2014 of 70,000. That figure is now completely indefensible. It is a pity it was so shamefully stuck to by the administration despite many opportunities to revise it downwards over the past five years.

However, a word of warning; the council is still, until it gets its act together properly, left with its target of 70,000, and the council’s plan to supposedly delete greenbelt sites and mark only ‘wider areas’ could be a very dangerous tactic indeed, and lead to other greenbelt sites coming under threat from greedy developers.

The cynics amongst us of course have every right to be concerned that this is another exercise in ‘smoke and mirrors’ from the Labour administration, their track record so far should lead us all to be extremely sceptical.

Trump not welcome in UK

John Appleyard, Liversedge

Donald Trump has confirmed his decision to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem, thus recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, even though Palestinians claim the eastern part of the city as their own.

This will constitute the complete abandonment of any peace process and will influence regional unrest and conflict. This view has been echoed by Middle Eastern leaders who have warned of ‘disastrous consequences’, Theresa May should condemn this move and tell Trump he is not welcome in this country.

A forest of new trees could be planted on the banks on the River Aire as part of Leeds’ plans to prevent future flooding. The idea has been revealed as part of the next phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme and will now be put to the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs for government approval. We asked YEP readers for their views and here’s what some of them said on social media...

Dave Kelly

This sounds like an excellent idea to consider. Historically often the natural solutions have proved more effective and cheaper than the man made ones to deal with natural occurances like river flooding.

Additionally rows of trees would look better than more concrete walls etc. It would also promote a healthier environment trees being a natural filter of city pollution. The birds that trees attract is good for nature too.

Mick Batley

Is this some sort of bad joke? The Environment Agency have decimated miles and miles of river cutting out all bankside vegetation because they say it will help prevent flooding and now they want to plant trees!

Gaz Lilley

More trees are definitely a great idea but where they going to be planted? Are we getting shut of some of the bank side apartment blocks where trees probably used to be?

Mick Roberts

How many millions have been spent coming up with this idea when it is just common sense? How much was spent to come up with the idea of cutting all the vegetation down?

Scott Howieson

How’s about digging the river deeper and getting rid of weirs, the river is impossibly shallow in places. Doing this will also help the Aire salmon reach old spawning grounds.

Lee Ellis

Start dredging it, especially in town around business, flood barriers won’t do a thing if the river is full of waste.

Sam Mu

Is there even any grass or verges on the banks for them to be planted? They seem to have stone slabs everywhere.

Robbie Anthony Walker

More lungs for the city. Quality of air may be far better.

Have compassion for homeless

David Treacher, by email

It’s terrible how there are so many people sleeping on the streets in the area, no matter what town you visit all you see is people in shop doorways, with no where to go and begging for food.

It’s the times and a disgrace to this governmment and to the public for allowing it.

We should all have compassion for people worse off in life and try to feed them to say the least and speak to them as we pass. It’s the least we can do.

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YEP Letters: March 13