Check out today’s YEP letters
Other uses for £500m station cash
A Hague, Leeds 9
SO after years of failed planning for a new transport system for Leeds, we can now find £500m for just a new station (Yorkshire Evening Post, October 12).
With that money we could have 16 miles of underground roads or 30 miles of overhead transport.
To think that Leeds had plans for underground rail as far back as 1937 shows how far-thinking our forefathers were.
City had to follow rules of legislation
Coun Richard Lewis, Ward Member for Pudsey & Executive Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning, Leeds City Council
Sadly, I’m coming to the view that my role in life is to correct the misleading statements of Conservative politicians.
It’s a thankless job, but somebody has to do it. Councillor Andrew Carter in his letter (YEP, October 21) gives a half-hearted defence of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – the piece of legislation that gives developers the whip hand – and hopes that the Government’s consultation on planning will ‘reduce the influence of volume house builders’.
I hope so too, but I’m not holding my breath. Given that every local authority knows that the current legislation is a dog’s breakfast, why has it taken the Tories six years to even think about making changes?
Coun Carter trots out the same old line that he has used for years: that the 70,000 figure was too high when it was adopted back in 2014 and that various opposition groups argued for a lower a figure.
Firstly, did the experts that Andrew mentions – Edge Analytics and the Office for National Statistics – argue for a lower figure? The answer is no.
Does Andrew really think that a government inspector, looking at all the evidence, would have approved a much lower housing number than the one he actually did approve? Of course he wouldn’t have (and, again, the NPPF asked local authorities to significantly boost housing supply) – and Leeds would have been in the worst possible position of being a council without a plan. The developers would have been rubbing their hands with glee if that had happened.
Coun Carter asks if the NPPF set a 70,000 housing target for Leeds. Well, it obviously did, because Leeds had to follow the rules laid down in the legislation and the guidance that went with it.
And that’s why the Tories can’t wriggle off the hook on this one.
Politicians got it wrong on coal
DS Boyes, Leeds 13
I found the story of coal’s demise most interesting, having visited most of the pits mentioned and lots more.
On reflection, I am sure that in not too many years the politically motivated closure of all mines will be seen as a major policy blunder when the lights really do begin to go out at all times.
Demand for electricity is soaring, with millions of gadgets on charge 24/7 e.g. phones, laptops etc. yet guaranteed generating capacity i.e. by tried and tested methods using reliable fuel sources like coal gets less, with total reliance on diesel generators charging premium rates to bridge the gap. What happens in future when millions of electric cars also need recharging is anyone’s guess.
In Yorkshire, the greatest tragedy apart from losing Kellingley and Hatfield must have been the sacrifice of the Selby coal field. Barely in operation for 20 years, developed at enormous cost to taxpayers, with three major power station customers of Eggborough, Ferrybridge and Drax on the doorstep, they were drift mines i.e. just a sloping tunnel underground with no unsightly head gear and so unobtrusive, difficult for drivers to find out in the countryside.
The most bizarre aspect being that the ‘New’ Labour government legislation was what put the last miners on the dole. When other major economies still use coal, and Germany, for example, is building new coal power stations not nuclear, you have to believe our politicians got it badly wrong.
Passing of rugby legend
Peter Haddington, Bradford
HOW said I was to hear of the passing of one of rugby league’s truly all time greats, the wonderful former St Helens South African winger Tom Van Vollenhoven.
The word legend is sometimes overused to describe people, but it is very appropriate in relation to this former flying springbok who flew up and down rugby league’s touchlines for over a decade.
A blonde-haired winger with a crew cut, he had electrifying pace and could sidestep on a sixpence. He made a try-scoring debut against Leeds in 1957 and went on to score many more tries, including topping the try scoring charts for three seasons in a row.
I regard him as the finest winger I have ever seen. I had the pleasure of meeting him some years ago at the George Hotel in Huddersfield and found him to be a perfect gentleman. There have been many good South Africans over the years who have played rugby league in this country, and several have played on the wing, but he was the finest of them all.
He is the only South African to be inducted into rugby league’s hall of fame and anyone who’s in that illustrious company is something special and will be remembered for ever.
Our thoughts are with his family. Rest in peace Tom Van Vollenhoven.
Chance of no deal
Sue Doughty, by email
The powers that be in Brussels have no intention of making a deal because they believe the longer they can string it out the longer they get their hands on British taxpayers money.
They literally cannot afford to allow a deal to be made. Ratification by the parliaments of the other 27 nation states is required but they know that each will be paying more to Brussels if they do ratify a deal. Normal divorce downsizing will not happen, that overblown bureaucracy has no intention of losing any jobs and cars and luxury lifestyles when UK money stops. Each of the remaining 27 faces paying more to Brussels. Until we leave the UK parliament is not sovereign, MPs have to be more internationalist in understanding what say they are allowed to have by Brussels.
We have to prepare for a No Deal at the end of March 2019 because there is no possibility of a deal.
Customers are cash cows
Mike Ridgway, Ilkley.
THE recent survey by the RAC into airport parking charges again illustrates the customer- unfriendly attitude of Leeds Bradford Airport.
It now proudly presents itself as the fourth most expensive in the country for dropping off passengers, with charges of £3 for 30 minutes. This is in contrast to Manchester Airport which charges nothing and is the most customer-friendly airport in the north of England.
Going away on holiday is stressful enough but being ‘ripped off’ by excessive charges before even starting the trip, which are severe when usually pulling up and dropping off lasts less than five minutes, needs to be challenged by all airport users.
Well done Manchester for putting Leeds Bradford to shame on this pure and distasteful money-making opportunism.
Give negotiators a fair chance
Les Bloom, Pudsey.
BUSINESS and financial negotiations are more likely to be conducted in private and within four walls, without the flood-lights and loud-hailers which surround Theresa May and her team in the Brexit talks.
Europe has its fair share of unreliable journalists and less than leak-proof politicians, to provide the media with headlines.
Let’s give our team of negotiators a fair chance in this ‘never, ever before’ arena.
Flu jabs for people with diabetes
Stephen Ryan, Head of the North, Diabetes UK
As flu season approaches Diabetes UK is recommending that people with diabetes take up the offer of a free flu jab from their GP.
It is essential everyone with diabetes has the flu jab this winter. People with diabetes are at a greater risk of the flu and this can lead to more severe illnesses, such as pneumonia.
Current figures show almost a quarter (24%) of people with diabetes did not have a flu vaccination in England last winter, despite it being free to everyone with the condition.
The flu jab is one of 15 healthcare essentials that every person with diabetes is entitled to through the NHS every year. These include having your blood pressure measured, having your eyes screened for signs of retinopathy and having your feet and legs checked.
Each year the NHS prepares for the unpredictability of the flu as the influenza virus can change rapidly year-on-year. They recommend that everyone who is eligible for the flu jab gets vaccinated as soon as possible to avoid getting the illness.
Illnesses like the flu are serious for people with diabetes, so if you have diabetes, please ensure that you take up the offer of the free flu jab and if you have any concerns about receiving the vaccination, speak to your GP or healthcare professional.
Diabetes UK has also put together a guide to help people with diabetes avoid the flu, as part of Public Health England’s Stay Well This Winter Campaign. For more information about diabetes and flu, visit www.diabetes.org.uk/seasonal-flu
Celebrating our volunteers
Stephanie Stone, Revitalise
This month we’re celebrating Make a Difference Day – a chance for volunteers from around the nation to come together for a common cause: to improve the lives of others.
We are incredibly lucky to welcome thousands of vibrant volunteers to our charity every year, and I’d like to take a moment to tell your readers why we couldn’t do without them.
I work for Revitalise – an amazing charity that provides respite holidays for disabled people and carers.
In the last year alone, our wonderful volunteers donated 3,467 weeks of their time to live in and support our guests at our three accessible UK centres in Chigwell in Essex, Southampton and Southport.
And, for everything our volunteers give, we aim to ensure they gain just as much in return.
So why not pledge to make a difference this month and join the thousands of other vibrant volunteers making a difference in their communities?
To find out more about Revitalise or the volunteering opportunities we have waiting for you, please visit www.revitalise.org.uk or call: 0303 303 0145.