Survival chance

HAVING taken a look around my home village lately, I've noticed East Cowton only currently has one single defibrillator (located around the back of the Beeswing Inn). This is all very fine and well for anyone living at the top end of the village but for anyone at the bottom end, or even in the middle, there is a monumentally decreased chance of survival in the event of cardiac arrest.

If someone is seen to with a defibrillator within the first three to five minutes of suffering a heart attack, their chance of survival sky-rockets from less than ten per cent to almost 80 per cent.

I have tested the time it takes to run from the bottom of the village to the pub and back again and I can tell you I wouldn't fancy the chances of anyone suffering a heart attack from the bottom of the village.

Henceforth, I have taken it upon myself in association with Restarting Hearts in Northallerton to raise the required funds in order for the community to purchase at least one more defibrillator.

The charity is holding a raffle on Tuesday, November 27 with some fantastic prizes including £200 cash, dinner, bed and breakfast at Judges in Yarm, a Pandora necklace for the ladies, a gin-making experience and dozens more.

I have left some tickets, available for £1 each, on sale at the local shop and pub and would encourage everyone living within East Cowton to buy a set of tickets and help us reach our £1,500 target by the time of the raffle.

Be reassured, all funds raised in the village are ringfenced and reserved for the village and will not be distributed elsewhere. If anyone would like to make donations but are not interested in the raffle, they are of course more than welcome to do so. Thank you in advance to everyone who will help make this village a safer place.

Councillor Joseph Lambert, East Cowton

Bypass funds

STOKESLEY, Thirsk, Easingwold and Bedale all have one thing in common. They have a bypass.

When will it be Northallerton’s turn? Northallerton’s traffic problems are well known, and they will not go away.

We know the cause and the economic impact this congestion is having upon the town and the surrounding area. This problem is long standing and in my view will not improve unless meaningful action is taken.

In the recent budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, told us there is in excess of £400m for use on the United Kingdom’s roads. In my view, our local authority should apply for money with the view to build a bypass for Northallerton to the west of the town. If not now, when?

I would hope that this suggestion will be embraced by the local community and all our civic leaders both at a local and national level.

The road that is presently under construction between the Darlington Road and the A684 will do nothing to alleviate the present problem.

Do we really want large wagons to drive through a housing estate to the detriment of the residents who will live there?

Andrew Naylor, Welbury

Health lottery

MY recent eye treatment at Darlington Memorial Hospital was a model of efficiency, effectiveness and friendliness. As a Swede resident in County Durham for nearly 30 years, I have long admired the NHS.

Despite the pressures on it, it is better than the gradually privatised service now available in Sweden which was long regarded as a model for others.

Sweden only narrowly voted to join the EU in 1994 largely because of public concern about lower food standards, animal welfare and the public health consequences. Since then, Britain and Sweden have worked as partners in improving standards across Europe.

When Britain leaves in a few months’ time, among the hundreds of new trade deals it has to strike will be one with a newly unfriendly America which seems likely to put both your agricultural industry and health at risk.

America wants just two things from Britain; unfettered access for their highly processed and lower quality food products and opportunity for their private healthcare companies to bid for the profitable parts of hospital services.

It is a threat that in normal times would be regarded as a national emergency rather than just another unfortunate cost of leaving the EU. It is a threat that Swedes would certainly not risk.

We Swedes love and admire Britain as a best friend and a closely aligned ally in Europe. Swedes are happy visiting and working in Britain (London is our sixth largest city!) and we cannot understand why you would gamble so much on leaving rather than using your talent on improving the EU, your biggest friends and your biggest market.

Making it more difficult for us to visit, work and do business here seems a loss to both nations. But you can be certain that Swedish companies including IKEA, H&M, Volvo, Electrolux, Ericsson, AstraZeneca, Claes Olsson, Skype and Spotify will be working hard to avoid damage to their businesses right now.

Well, good luck on your own. And good luck to your lovely hospital in the health lottery that is coming to you from across the pond.

Catharina Sundholm Miller, Durham

Future help

THE Duchess of Kent Hospital at Catterick Garrison, which served the biggest infantry training centre in Europe, closed.

Now councillors are voicing fears for the future of Richmond’s Friary Community Hospital (D&S Times, November 2).

Both have nursed back to health and saved the lives of many people over the years.

I myself received excellent medical care which both contributed to my present day health and enabled me to try and live a better life, even though it took some time to do.

So what is going to happen next? Can someone (in time to come) please help us.

Roland Bramham, Richmond

Bus services

SADLY we are about to lose more of our rural buses. That important link between Middlesbrough, the Stokesley area and Northallerton, covered by Abbot’s of Leeming with the X80 is to be withdrawn on November 26 (followed by the 80 in the spring).

These routes provide a lifeline for regular travellers, a high proportion being pensioners and some who use them as a link between the James Cook and Friarage Hospitals.

There seems to have been a minimum of consultation about these withdrawals; unless the dialogue between passengers and the sympathetic and amiable driver Brian is considered enough.

These closures need a rethink.

Geoffrey Evans, Thornton le Beans

Green waste

I WORK as a part time gardener in the Yarm area, which is in the Stockton Borough Council refuse collection area.

The green material collection ends at the beginning of October which to me seems a bit soon as perennial flower/leaves and hedge clippings are still to get rid of, with some of the elderly unable to take their green stuff to Haverton Hill recycle yard.

Surely the green bins they have could be used for this purpose.

Why not issue all your households with gardens a black bin for their landfill waste and use the green bin for the green waste?

Extending the green bin collections into November would also be helpful.

Come on Stockton, you are well down the list when it comes to recycling. Why don`t have a think about it before next spring?

William Coupland, Stokesley

Renewable energy

YOUR correspondent, Michael E. Chaloner (D&S Times, November 2) accuses a previous correspondent of using misleading information.

Unfortunately, he then uses perhaps more misleading data in his attempt to suggest that the use of renewable sources of energy will avoid the need for burning fossil fuels.

He quotes average figures for the first quarter of 2018, to suggest a slow progression to replace natural gas as our major source of electricity. Unfortunately, by taking average figures over three months, he (as well as the UK Government) totally fails to recognise that both wind and solar power are naturally highly variable – and hence totally unreliable – as a major source of energy to the National Grid.

The only meaningful data on the contribution of different fuels to electricity generation is the half hourly “Generation by Fuel Type” produced continuously for the National Grid. Only by studying this short term data can the massive variations in wind output be identified and the need for wind to be continually backed up by gas generators confirmed.

The supply of wind-generated electricity by the Grid is only practicable if backed up by gas generators of equivalent capacity which have to ramp up and down to match the rapid falls and rises in wind output, generating more carbon dioxide than if operating in steady state.

As an example, last week, wind contributed an average of 5.1GW to the total average Grid load of 34.1GW (up by 4GW due to clock changes).

However, the wind contribution varied from 1.3GW to 10.9GW, and at the low wind output, gas was contributing 20.9GW, and coal 3.4GW.

I have made a careful study of the contribution to Grid output from different fuel sources over the last eight years and there is no evidence that the use of wind has reduced the need for gas capacity to be available. It is clear that the larger the wind capacity, the larger the need for back-up gas capacity.

My work also completely disproves Mr Chaloner’s assertion that the wind blows most days, and I will happily share the data with him.

Ian Murdoch, Welbury

Gas supplies

MICHAEL CHALONER (D&S Times, November 2) claims that my letter (D&S Times, October 26) is "full of misleading information". The figures I quoted for 2017 were taken from the UK government's National Statistics website.

Eighty per cent of UK homes, 20 million, are heated by gas and there are still 1.6 million using oil, usually in rural areas were there is no reasonable alternative.

UK natural gas production currently provides 44 per cent of requirements, but this is dwindling rapidly and could disappear by 2030. In 2017 the UK consumed 74.3 billion cubic metres of gas, 32.7 bcm from UK reserves, 6.7 bcm imported LPG (Middle East) and 34.9 bcm from Europe.

The latter figure included 7.3 bcm from Norway and 12.6 bcm from Russia (data source British Gas). So it would seem that Mr Chaloner is the one giving misleading information. I reiterate that, if we do not exploit our reserves of shale gas, our future supplies will be in jeopardy (particularly post-Brexit) and our economy possibly damaged.

The production problems associated with shale gas production are well known and can be overcome, to the benefit of emissions and cost.

John Micklethwaite, Huby

Spanish flu

THIS autumn is not only the centenary of the end of the First World War, but of the Spanish flu pandemic, simultaneously at its height. Whilst the war killed 17m, Spanish flu accounted for 50m lives, totalling three per cent of the world’s population.

Usually, flu victims are the young, the old and the sick because their immune systems are weak. But, in 1918, most deaths were amongst young adults.

This is probably because the infection quickly spread amongst the troops who lived and fought in close proximity. It is also thought that this strain of flu may have triggered such a strong reaction in robust, young people that they were killed by the overwhelming response of their own immune systems.

For a century, medics and public authorities have taken measures to prevent and combat a similar pandemic. Human and animal flus are identified, overcrowding is discouraged and we are generally healthier.

But, the main opponent of the flu virus is annual vaccination.

What is the moral of this story? If you are an individual, gravely at risk from a dose of flu, don’t delay in consulting your GP about a flu jab.

Steve Kay, Redcar & Cleveland councillor

Poppy appeal

I AM a 92 year old lady and also an ex WAAF and member of the British Legion. I am also a friend of the poppy co-ordinator (Mrs Pat Stodart) who works tirelessly each year and has done so for the last ten years dealing with poppies wreaths, crosses etc.

I see where other places announce how much they have raised for the poppy appeal but Darlington doesn’t seem to advertise how well they have done, although £73,000 was raised this year. So proud.

G Wilder, Darlington

Care funding

YOUR readers may have heard recently of the £240m of extra money being allocated to the social care system to ease pressure on the NHS this winter.

We now know this will mean that just over £3m will be made available in North Yorkshire and York. While it’s important that the Government has recognised that social care underfunding lies at the heart of our hospitals’ winter pressures, the amount committed is a let-down – less than ten per cent of what’s needed to fix the social care crisis now.

The social care system is “not just for Christmas” and people with dementia, as its biggest recipients, are experiencing the emotional and economic cost all year round.

To actually turn the tide for the more than 12,000 people with dementia in North Yorkshire and York we need to plug the current funding gap and offer them the chance to access the good quality social care they have a right to.

Linda Haggie, Alzheimer’s Society, North Yorkshire