THE RECENT think-tank report highlighting the potentially transformative effect of new high speed rail links and stations in cities such as Lille and Lyon only tells half the story if it ignores the municipal transport developments which both preceded and subsequently complemented the arrival of the French TGV.
Hence Lyon has constructed an excellent electrified local transport network which integrates regional trains with municipal trams and trolleybuses but which relies on several lines of city underground railway as the backbone of the system. Our twin city Lille has trams and two lines of automated underground.
While I welcome HS2 as creator of badly needed extra capacity it will only reach its full potential if it promotes the development of a metro style system as has been the case in the French cities mentioned.
Hence I am perplexed as to why local transport politicians and planners are so totally dismissive of any scheme which involves at least some element of fast, direct underground links to new stations serving the main central passenger destinations.
Leeds should be seizing the chance offered by HS2 to develop a comprehensive regional metro network in which electrified suburban lines could share city centre tunnels with municipal trams.
The new Victoria (Eastgate) shopping centre is a prime example - no rail access yet in Newcastle, the local metro allows direct access to the vast Eldon Square shopping centre.
If Leeds wants to be the best UK city to live in by 2030 and to deserve its place in the European big league this is the way forward.
Shame that those responsible for local transport planning are unwilling to see this and that the height of their ambition is the trolleybus.
James Bovington, Church Grove, Horsforth
Safer to ride on the pavement
I DO so agree with Graham Harland! His letter (YEP, March 11) pretty much sums up how a lot of cyclists ride these days.
There’s hardly a day that goes by without me seeing one nip through a red light!
As for them riding on the pavement - what’s the problem if they’re riding slow? It can be very dangerous on the road.
I got my bike out on Sunday for the first time this year and within the space of a mile I was nearly knocked off twice. I understand how drivers feel towards cyclists, especially those who deliberately get in the way by riding in the centre of the lane. I would never do this because I value my life; and if that means riding on the pavement for a few hundred yards here and there so be it!
Cyclists need to understand their vulnerability and ride accordingly - I do.
Nick Keer, Leeds
More cash help to boost bowling
I READ with interest the remarks of angling correspondent Dennis Lemmon (YEP, March 11) on the subject of Sports Council funding.
After learning that a few Olympic hopefuls (Winter and Summer games) have obtained millions in support, as have others competing in the ongoing Winter Paralympics, it must be said that the whole business is totally unbalanced.
When sports such as angling and crown green bowling continue to suffer due to the economic climate and other causes, it is totally unjustified that a few selected individuals competing in minor sports get the help from The Sports Council and Lottery Funds, merely because they are featured as Olympic sports.
While most sports lovers do of course like to see all our athletes succeed in their chosen events, I’m certain we all must agree that where greater numbers of participants are concerned, as in angling and bowling, funds could be better spent in supporting and ensuring their survival, something which, in crown green bowling at least, is in no way certain.
Ernest Lundy, by email
Kind help to find the last edition
I WANT to express my heartfelt thanks to loyal YEP readers who helped me in my search for an original copy of the last issue of the Yorkshire Evening News.
After my letter was published, asking whether anyone had the December 3 1963 issue, I received telephone calls from three Leeds people, willing to pass on their copies.
Those people who bothered to take the time and trouble to get in touch have restored my faith in human nature!
This was, I believe, a shining example of the kindness and thoughtfulness of “Leeds Loiners”.
I will treasure the last issue.
Roger Haywood, Flintshire, North Wales (and proud Leeds resident for 21 years).
Joy of mincing has returned
I WOULD like to thank you once more for printing my letter about the demise of my Grandmother’s mincer, and the subsequent reply from Mrs Whitehead, in which she said she would be happy for me to have the one which had belonged to her Mother.
You might be interested to know that I went across to see her yesterday, to collect the mincer, and we spent a very happy time, over coffee and biscuits, reminiscing about times past; and laughing about the present!
So, not only have I regained the joy in making my Christmas mincemeat, but I have also now acquired a new friend, for which you have my very grateful thanks (I am about to give the mincer a dummy run, with some apples kindly given me by my lovely next-door neighbour, whose late husband was a prolific gardener).
Denise Marsden, Cookridge
Bedroom tax is cause of misery
ONCE MORE, I would like to pass comment on the views of Malcolm Nicholson.
In his latest rant (YEP, March 11) a leader of the church comes under attack for his views on an unfair country which we live in. The Archbishop is right - the gap between the have and have-nots widens.
The living standards between the North and the South widens. More people are having to use food banks, more now than ever before. More children arrive at school hungry now than ever before.
Why is this? One thing - the unfair taxes of this government, ie bedroom tax.
Brian Varley, Leeds
Better training to beat asbestos
As asbestos compensation figures improve, will training follow suit?
This week the Government announced that compensation awarded for people who are suffering from mesothelioma and lung cancer, as the result of asbestos exposure, will rise to an average £123,000.
With the issue very much in the news, I would just like to remind your readers of the dangers of asbestos and how proper training might prevent them from suffering from these fatal diseases in the future.
Asbestos was used in building materials extensively right up to the early 90s before its damaging effects were known. Undisturbed, the substance is harmless; however, when disturbed or moved, the harmful spores become airborne and inhaled.
Many of the effects of this ‘hidden killer’ do not become apparent till 10-30 years down the line, when disease takes hold, drastically reducing both quality and length of life.
By investing in better training, the problem can stop at this generation.
Asbestos is also evident in thousands of homes, for this reason it’s important readers do the correct research and consult a professional when undertaking any home improvement projects.
If you have any doubts or concerns, visit www.ukata.org.uk for free advice, and a list of UKATA members.
Eddie Strong, chairman, UKATA (The UK Asbestos Training Association)