Please be unseated

AFTER 11 weeks of lockdown we are slowly easing our way out and it is great that the markets have returned this week.

However, you cannot sit down as all of the public seats on Northallerton High Street are taped off to prevent use, even though social distancing is relatively simple for anyone wishing to use the seats.

I have not seen anything from the Government demanding that councils remove these facilities from use so I assume it has been done by some mean spirited local jobsworth at the town council.

The D&S highlighted recently some alleged issues the council has been having with its finances, I have to report they are equally inefficient in their administration as I wrote to Northallerton Town Council over a week ago asking why these seats have been removed from use, unfortunately I have not received any response and the seats remain taped off.

This is a completely unnecessary step and sits alongside some councils closing their parks and open spaces in the early weeks of lockdown – a situation which was quickly changed.

Wayne Kyte, Northallerton.

Broken promises

YOUR readers will be disturbed to hear what will happen to our food safety when we crash out of the EU at the end of the year (assuming we do so without a deal, which is looking likely).

The Conservative manifesto promised us that they would not compromise on environmental protection, food standards and animal welfare. Six short months later this promise has been ditched. We can now look forward to chlorine washed chicken, beef treated with growth hormones, injected pork along with numerous other foods we will be importing from the USA.

Not to worry though, because our trade secretary, Liz Truss, has made it clear that though these foods may initially be subject to a higher tariff, this government would get rid of those within ten years.

Our hardworking farmers, who have applied our current food safety standards, will be betrayed by this move.

Baroness Harris of Richmond.

More time

FOLLOWING Nissan's announcement that its Sunderland plant is at risk if a frictionless trade deal with the EU is not forthcoming, a new report (from Best for Britain and the Social Market Foundation) on the double impact of Brexit and coronavirus is a timely warning of the iceberg that lies ahead but which the government seems intent upon ignoring.

The report shows that any change to our trade relationship with Europe during the Covid-19 recession will hurt the UK economy.

The North-East region would face a disproportionately severe impact should we leave the Brexit transition period without any kind of deal.

Brexit is done and we cannot stop it, although I remain deeply opposed to it, but we can protect our jobs, our services and our local businesses.

However, our communities are already stretched to breaking point by the coronavirus pandemic and we desperately need time to deal with that before we can turn our focus to our changing relationship with the EU.

The problem is I have serious doubts that our MP, Rishi Sunak, is listening to these warnings given his baffling support for both Brexit and for what passes for a government that has demonstrably mishandled the two biggest crises to confront us for over 80 years.

Professor David Hunter, Richmond.

Virtual voting

SADLY, Rishi Sunak is my constituency's Member of Parliament.

When voting in Parliament on Tuesday, June 2, his intention was for him to be able to continue to cast votes that reflect his right wing anti-democratic views.

Effectively though he was also voting, along with his predominantly male, middle class Tory MPs, to exclude other MPs from voting who might be unable to attend Parliament at Westminster. These MPs might represent a more social democratic point of view that I would support.

MPs voted to abandon virtual voting in Parliament which had allowed all the UK's population to be represented.

In its place only those who were going to be able to attend Parliament at Westminster could vote. How democratic is that in coronavirus times?

As with his support of Dominic Cummings’ breaking of rules and now his support of Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mr Sunak shows that he wants it to be one rule for the Tories and none for the rest.

John Hopkins, Crakehall.

Noisy bikes

I SEE from last week’s edition that the subject of excessive motorcycle noise is again in the news, "Vehicle-free days call after rise in motorcycle noise" (D&S Times, June 5).

I have felt for some time that this is a matter which does not receive enough attention from those who are in a position to do something about it.

All motorcycles are presumably fitted with legal exhausts when manufactured, in which case large numbers of them are altered or replaced afterwards, judging by the number which scream past on most sunny days. Living in Great Ayton, it is common to hear them for several miles and minutes after they have passed on their way to Stokesley and it is a gross intrusion into the environment.

The problem must lie in the lack of proper enforcement action by the police. After all, what offence could be easier to detect?

An officer sitting in Stokesley Police Station could hear what is going on if he wanted to.

There is also a clear need to beef up the MOT regulations. As I understand it, there is no scientific measurement of noise emitted by a motorcycle and it is left to the tester to decide if it is “excessive”.

In any event, it must be an easy matter to swap an illegal exhaust prior to the test and replace it afterwards.

In the meantime, we all suffer at the hands of these anti-social maniacs who like to imagine they are riding at Silverstone.

One problem is the refusal of the motorcycle lobby to accept that there is an issue. I wrote about this topic in a local magazine some time ago and was assailed in the next edition and accused of being a “clown”, and of forgetting what wonderful work motorcyclists do while carrying blood samples for the NHS, (one assumes they do so in a normal and quiet manner).

As it may well be that a machine which is altered without notifying the insurer is being ridden without insurance, then I think we can all decide who are the real clowns.

Gordon Hetherington, Great Ayton.

Bikers' defence

LAST week you published an article complaining about motorcyclists congregating in large groups in the Dales, creating a noise nuisance and riding irresponsibly and too fast,"Vehicle-free days call after rise in motorcycle noise" (D&S Times, June 5). This article was prompted by ramblers and cyclists who are calling for a vehicle free Sunday once a month.

I find this laughable as in the same issue of the paper there is an article showing irresponsible parking by a mass of cars at Aysgarth, Richmond and other areas.

Ramblers and cyclists have to get to the Dales and park their cars, often creating a hazard by restricting the width of already narrow roads. Malham is a typical example but it is widespread in the Dales and other areas.

Of course ramblers always stick to the paths and never trespass or walk through crops, dog walkers never let their dogs worry sheep or defecate in crops especially grass for silage. Dog poo ingested by cows causes them to abort their calves.

Cyclists can, as we all know, be especially arrogant and inconsiderate by riding two or three abreast totally ignoring the traffic piling up behind them.

They also often speed down hills in the middle of narrow roads, I have had several near misses due to this problem while riding my motorcycle and driving my car.

Ramblers and cyclists do congregate in large groups and also need to drink, eat and go to the loo, so in these restricted times where do they do that?

The editorial in the paper (page 20) even implies that the recent problems at the waterfalls in Richmond were created by motorcyclists even though bikers had nothing to do with it. That was an example of totally unreal behaviour by car drivers.

I find it particularly ironic that on the 76th anniversary of D-Day (both my dad and uncle were there) which initiated the end of the war and secured our freedom and democracy from tyranny and intolerance; that once again our liberties are being threatened by minority groups who complain vociferously in the media especially the press where they are allowed unrepresentative publicity.

My dad and uncle were both keen walkers and cyclists in the Dales before the Second World War and afterwards enjoyed visiting them on motorcycles, later on in cars. They would both be horrified at the intolerance to others that abounds today.

Motorcyclists suffer from the antics of a minority, we know it is up to us to do what we can to improve our image.

The press could help by giving recognition to our charitable work, in 2017 the GLASS and TRF helped the Dales Rangers to resurface Cam high road, this was published by the D&S Times, the Boundary group have been supporting the NE Air Ambulance for years and have raised a staggering amount of cash.

We hold Santa runs to raise cash for Zoe's Place children’s hospice.

The Blood Bikers as volunteers deliver blood and other items to hospitals all round our region and more recently volunteer motorcyclists have been picking up and delivering PPE .

Bikers do have a social conscience and consider those less fortunate.

I write as a 72 year old cyclist, walker, motorcyclist, car driver and caravanner and hope to continue to enjoy the Dales which I have since the age of 12.

Brian Taylor, Long Newton.

US imports

I READ with disgust the recent articles about chlorinated chicken from America.

Our farmers are very hard working often suffering financial and other hardships not of their making so how can our illustrious government agree to importing this sub-standard, by our own guidelines, food into the country just to pacify the American administration?

I feel that over the last few months the Government are working to their own agendas with little regard for the people of this country.

I for one will not be buying food that has been washed in a swimming pool.

C P Atkinson, Great Ayton.

Time to end

I CAN’T believe I am the only person in the country who thinks it is time to end the lockdown, except for the care homes and those currently shielding.

I am quite sure that a much larger percentage of the population has had the virus, in whatever form, than official figures show, judging by the number of people to whom I’ve spoken.

The NHS has massive capacity now, both beds and ventilators. PPE is supposedly plentiful and more in the pipeline.

The "experts" badly miscalculated during the foot and mouth debacle, what is to say they have not done the same now?

I agree, there probably would be more deaths but surely if it meant we could achieve a high percentage of immunity it would be worth it if it means not having to go through current circumstances every few years.

As an over 70 year old with COPD I would probably be a fatality if I caught the virus but I consider it worthwhile if it helps to protect future generations.

R Davison, Northallerton.

Keeping safe

MY most sincere thanks to everyone for all they have done for me during lockdown, in particular to Jonathan Greenwood for the Group Hug bag of goodies, the Leyburn community team for doing my shopping, plus others whom are helping.

To shop keepers and all people delivering to me, it is all greatly appreciated, as being in the classified vintage of vulnerable, I have been keeping myself to myself.

I would also like to say how much I appreciate all the Royal Mail folk do in delivering letters and the refuse collection people emptying bins and of course not forgetting the police, fire brigade and the NHS.

I for one do not take their kindness for granted but would like to say an enormous thank you to all the people who have been helping to keep me as safe as possible.

Digby Angus, Leyburn.