‘WHEN it comes to preserving Northern England’s iconic moors for wildlife and from wildfires, ensuring they are wetter really is better’ states Luke Steele in your letters to the Editor page last week.

Grouse moor estates have been working, with partner organisations such as Yorkshire Peat Partnership, towards this since the 1980’s. Nobody has done more towards this goal.

Many moorlands were drained, by the digging of grips from the 1950’s-1980’s, in Government incentivised schemes to increase the land available for agriculture after the food shortages experienced by the nation during the two world wars.

Research has shown that using small, cool controlled burns at the correct time of year, protects our moors from wildfires by removing dangerous fuel loads and creating fire breaks and this is also beneficial to some species such as Sphagnum mosses that are forming and actually increases their coverage.

Controlled, cool burns are small areas of low intensity heat that do not damage the seed layer or underlying peat, removing only the canopy of old growth, unlike hot burning, out of control wildfires that burn into the peat, usually at sensitive times of year such as summer.

A 2013 report by Natural England (NE) on the scientific literature related to this indicated an overall increase in species richness and diversity when controlled burning was used.

We have more Red listed, threatened species on managed moorlands than elsewhere. Curlew, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Merlin, Ring Ouzel, Sky Lark to name but a few.

On Curlew Nidderdale AONB stated last year that ‘Nidderdale AONB is a stronghold with several hundred pairs, breeding success bolstered by Grouse Moorland Management.

Many of our iconic managed moorlands are designated as Sites Of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Areas (SPA), and Special Conservation Areas (SCA) due to the wide diversity of flora and fauna that benefit from Grouse Moorland Management.

75 per cent of the worlds Heather moorland is found in the UK, mostly due to the continued management and funding of the moors by our estates.

Although mowing of the heather can and is used in some areas, this does not remove the fuel loads that feed wildfires, cannot be used on all areas and involves heavy machinery that can compact the ground.

Cattle grazing also brings many problems such as restricted access for the public due to safety and the fencing needed as livestock tend to congregate in certain areas, leaving some areas overgrazed and others under-grazed.

Many areas of moorland are classed as Dry Heath. Not all moorland is based on deep peat and blanket bog.

The spread of ‘misinformation’ can do nothing but damage to these beautiful, iconic landscapes and the wide bio-diversity of flora and fauna they support.

Tracy Johnson, Co Ordinator Nidderdale Moorland Group.

5G concerns

I wish to add my voice to the growing call for North Yorkshire County Council to adopt the ‘precautionary principle’ in considering early roll out of 5G in our area and that roll out is halted until or unless it is proven to be safe for human beings and the environment, including plants and animals.

This untried technology is vastly more powerful than 4G and there is evidence that even less powerful electromagnetic radiation is anything but safe.

Hundreds of doctors, environmentalists and other scientists across the world are calling for 5G to be halted. Rome and Brussels have completely halted 5G.

Insurance firms will not cover the electromagnetic frequency radiation (EMF) risks.

5G will result in a massive increase in inescapable, involuntary exposure to wireless radiation. It is an experiment on humanity and the environment that is defined as a crime under international law.

The radiation will be tens of hundreds of times more powerful than the levels permitted for current mobile base stations.

The tiny antennae will fit onto lamp posts and buildings and will be required every 100m. Outside urban areas some 20,000 satellites will provide coverage (compared to approx. 2,000 now in orbit).

Not an inch of the globe will be free from high frequency EMF radiation.

This is quite apart from the ‘space junk’ being created and interference with astronomy. Given mounting evidence that EMF radiation is harmful to human health, how much more harmful is it to smaller creatures, including birds and insects such as bees?

It seems that in the unthinking rush to adopt 5G, the world’s decision-makers are prioritising the ruthless pursuit of profit (estimated at $1.3 trillion by 2025 to the global media industry alone) above the well-being of the inhabitants of the earth.

And what about the planet herself? (Our home!) See for further information on 5G.

Diane Green, Middleham.

Double standards

On Friday (D&S Times, Jan 10) you ran an article about Councillor Dadd complaining about Yorkshire Water and sewerage backing up into properties.

I find the double standards of NYCC unbelievable, I reported sewerage coming from a manhole within County Hall and flowing out across the footway into the carriageway on Racecourse Lane Northallerton.

It took me three attempts to report it to NYCC who kept saying it was nothing to do with them.

They finally agreed it was and they said they were already aware of the issue - this was in November last year.

We are now over halfway through January and the sewerage is still running over the footway into the carriageway.

There are school children, members of the public and NYCC staff walking through it daily.

Maybe you could ask councillor Dadd why NYCC have not rectified this clear health hazard and put his reply in the paper.

Mr Clark, Northallerton.

Old HQ

I refer to the article by Stuart Minting in your sister paper, The Northern Echo, (Jan 18) reporting the £500k bill run up by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire for the upkeep of Newby Wiske Hall, the former North Yorkshire Police HQ .

The article rightly points out that had the conditions of sale been applied as published in the ‘Sale Particulars’, this cost would have fallen on the purchaser, PGL Travel Ltd (PGL), not on the taxpayer.

It is now clear that the conditions were not applied, but the reasons for this are still mired in secrecy, with the Commissioner still refusing to give the public a straight answer.

Could it be that PGL refused to agree to the condition because, unlike the Commissioner, they were wise enough to realise the furore that their application would cause and the long and costly delay due to the likely legal challenge?

Even now it appears that the Commissioner is still trying to hide the truth and in doing so is willing to mislead the Panel which is supposed to oversee her conduct.

The Commissioner’s new CEO, Simon Dennis, told the Panel that the reason the condition has not been applied is that contracts “have not yet been exchanged” and yet he admits that a deposit has been paid by PGL.

Mr Dennis is clearly playing sleight of hand between the phrases ‘exchange of contracts’ and ‘completion’.

Anyone who has ever bought their own home or any other property knows that his explanation can’t be true.

Once an offer has been made and accepted a deposit is only paid at the point when ‘contracts are exchanged’ and it is then held until ‘completion’ of the sale when the balance becomes due.

In the absence of some honesty from the Commissioner’s office, does anyone believe that PGL would be silly enough to pay a deposit of around £1/4million without there being a contract in place to protect them?

One can only hope that the forthcoming meeting where Mr Dennis promises “to work through details” will result in a little more clarity on why the Commissioner has decided to waste so much money, which could so easily have been avoided.

In the meantime perhaps the performance of the Commissioner and her office can best be summed up in Mr Dennis’ own words – “sub-optimal in the extreme”.

David Stockport MBE, Newby Wiske.

Captain Cook Race

WHAT a delight to see on a beautiful fine crisp new years’ morning 450 Esk Valley Fell Club runners racing from Great Ayton to the monument.

However, on the steepish, slippery decline from the monument to Gribdale Gate, on a very busy ‘family’ day walk path it would be a good idea to consider and respect the safety of other members of the public.

This footpath was open for all to enjoy, including young children, older people and generally people who need a bit more time to find their footings (those of us who haven’t notched up 37 versions!)

It was an un-marshalled stampede of very inconsiderate racers running ‘blind’ who’s only aim was to be the fastest and woe betide anyone who got in their way.

It would maybe be a good idea to organise a few ‘stewards’ or ‘marshals’ to help clear the thoroughfare.

I’m sure, after the Christmas expense there would be many who would be grateful if a little extra cash.

Well done for raising £2,700 for charity. It might be a good idea to donate some funds to the air ambulance.

J Robinson, Whitby.

House move

THE proposal to move the House of Lords to the north is insulting.

The siting of this nest of non-elected privilege amongst us will do nothing to erase the actuality of the north/south divide. Rather, it will rub salt into our wounds.

The way to woo the north is not for the Government to spend a fortune on a new home for the Lords, but to invest heavily in our infrastructure.

If Boris really wants to show us some respect, he could occasionally hold cabinet meetings in the North, as well as in the Midlands, Wales and Scotland.

If the exile of the Lords becomes a reality, I can see ‘the great and the good’ turning down peerages to avoid the inconvenience of leaving the metropolis on a regular basis. Of course, many people would think that a good thing!

The House of Lords should stay in Westminster, and not be foisted on the north.

Such a move would be a meaningless gesture, as real power, rightly, lies in the elected Commons.

Steve Kay, Redcar & Cleveland councillor.

No different

BUILDING SOCIETIES now behave little better than banks.

They were originally set up many years ago as not for profit institutions, designed to benefit their members - their members being borrowers and savers alike.

However, sadly this is no longer the case as now an army of fat cat executives, board members and hangers on all require their over inflated salaries, so seek to maximise yield at the expense their members - the majority of which are savers.

It now appears to be a race to the bottom - as long as the high salaries remain, members will have to endure low interest rates, slow cheque processing times and outdated unnecessary charges.

Maurice Paton, Aiskew, Bedale.

Modern ways

MANY people still agree that we still need bank notes and loose currency, for making every day purchases.

In Sweden, the Plastic Card Money Purchasing System has been introduced, and a number of Swedish citizens interviewed on British television recently weren’t very happy about it.

And now another New Year of 2020 has begun with electric cars, already having been introduced in 2019. And now (I understand) electric operated taxis in Birmingham are in use, with charging up points already on the taxi ranks.

In February, new £20 plastic notes are being introduced, no doubt the £50 notes could be next.

It’s alright having all this modern technology but where is it all going to end?

Seemingly practically all the days have gone when people used to talk to each other and write letters to one another.

Now it’s email etc. mobile phones and selfies. Ah well!

Roland Bramham, Richmond.