Funding distribution

I READ the D&S article “One town focus on PM’s cycle funding” (D&S Times, Dec 4) about North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to allocate the vast majority of its £2bn funding for walking and cycling in one town with growing incredulity and mounting anger, echoing Cllr Parson’s view this decision is “absolutely appalling “ and “beggars belief" on a number of counts.

The decision to go ahead with such a maldistribution of public funds represents blatant inequity and clearly negates the council’s responsibility to ensure parity of infrastructure across all communities in the county.

Harrogate and Whitby have already attracted considerable resources for cycleway development.

This additional new funding confirms and widens existing disparities.

It also makes a nonsense of Boris Johnson’s recent and much trumpeted claim to be promoting a new “golden age of cycling”.

If this is the kind of crass decision the county council makes, little wonder there is widespread scepticism about its proposal to become a monolithic future administration.

On this evidence, future structures need to be closer to communities and responsive to local needs irrespective of geography. A golden age for some appears to be base metal for others.

R C Pennington, former chair of the Stokesley Cycleway Group, Stokesley.

Town founder

HEAR HEAR! to Peter Metcalfe’s letter “Town founder” (D&S Times Letters, Dec 4) but sadly I think his plea has already fallen on deaf ears as on the following page of the same edition you published an article on the creation of Rufus Woods.

Robert Carter, Brompton, Northallerton.

Aid purpose

I FELT that I had to respond to a letter which you printed in last week’s paper on the subject of overseas aid “Foreign aid” (D&S Times, Dec 4).

In it the writer suggested we should maintain aid giving at the current rate of 0.7 per cent of GDP but widen its focus by spending it on supporting "foreigners in this country" by definition this would not then be overseas aid.

The purpose of overseas aid spending should be to help some of the poorest countries to develop so that they are able to adequately feed and care for their populations.

While so much of the world’s population live in very great poverty and need, it is no wonder that many of them have a desire to emigrate in order to seek better lives for their families.

The letter writer also suggests that the aid budget should be linked to British exports and business.

This does often happen but such a strategy does not help the poorest people. Using the aid budget the UK has "sold" poor countries weapons, privatisation of essential services and even private education. This is a misuse of the precious budget.

Unfair trade rules, tax fiddles by big corporations, and repayments of historic debts, cost poor countries far more than they get in aid, and those things don't take into account our habit of "poaching" many of their brightest and best trained people.

Global Justice Now has a long history of campaigning for an alternative approach to aid spending that is steeped in principles of solidarity and social equality.

Barbara Welford, secretary of Cleveland Global Justice Now, Scaling, Saltburn by the Sea.

Moral spending

I READ with interest John Riseley’s letter “Foreign aid” (D&S Times, Dec 4) exploring the idea of applying conditions to foreign aid to appease those who disapprove of aid and to stimulate the economy with "aid money going into contracts with British companies and individuals”.

As one of the richest countries in the world it may satisfy us economically but does it show any sense of morality or humanity?

Sue Barton, Sessay, Thirsk

Don’t blame cyclists

FURTHER to the letter “Dangerous timing” (D&S letters, Nov 27), about cyclists going out at twilight, there is so much wrong with this letter that I hardly know where to start. But when cycling in traffic, I am acutely aware of the danger from the motor vehicles approaching from either direction.

Maybe that is why the cyclist was wearing high visibility clothing? We do not do this to annoy drivers.

And why are cyclists there? Who knows but it could be that they are going to/from work or it may be for exercise, as cycling is excellent for fitness.

But whatever the reason, cyclists have every right to use the road in the same way as motorists and pedestrians, particularly in the absence of pavements and segregated cycleways. Motorists should treat cyclists and all road users with respect and not put lives at risk through unsafe manoeuvres.

However, the letter is yet another attempt to create divisions in our society which we could well do without as there are enough of them at the moment.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Cycling is good exercise and cyclists have just as much right to be on the road as motorists, writes one of our readersCycling is good exercise and cyclists have just as much right to be on the road as motorists, writes one of our readers

It tries to lay the blame for accidents at the door of the cyclist who is, after all, by far the most vulnerable party in any collision with a motor vehicle.

There is an element here of the same victim blaming attitude that there was with girls wearing short skirts a few years ago, laying the blame for rape or abuse on them and their dress rather than on the perpetrators of the crime.

And cyclists really can't get it right in most motorists eyes – either too many lights or not enough; too much hi-vis clothing or not enough.

The final issue is the responsibility of the press. Should they be publishing letters and articles demonising cyclists who are merely exercising their right to use the roads which they have to do in the absence of segregated cycleways (North Yorkshire County Council please take note).

They are using an ecologically sustainable and healthy transport option which is taking up far less road space than the typical 4x4 that most drivers seem to favour.

The real problem with our roads is not too many cyclists, it's too many cars. And the dearth of a segregated cycleway infrastructure of course.

Ian Hobson, Northallerton.

Silent heroes

ON several occasions this year the nation quite rightly applauded the untiring dedication of all members of the National Health Service and the caring services in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The applause for all of those people was thoroughly well earned.

Now there is a vaccine which was produced and delivered within a matter of months instead of the usual years. For that we can thank the dedicated teams of medical scientists who toil nationwide in laboratories not only producing the current vaccine but a myriad of other cures and preventative medicines to keep all of us safe and healthy.

Unknown and not normally in receipt of such luxuries as book royalties or even a nationwide applause, those silent "Boffin Heroes" deserve our deepest thanks, admiration and respect.

Tony Eaton, Northallerton.

Planning approval

AS a resident of Guisborough, I am horrified and dismayed that the members of Redcar Borough Council Regulatory Committee have approved the planning application for the change of use of agricultural land to a holiday caravan park.

This location opposite the Cross Keys Inn on the A171 dual carriageway is not appropriate for a caravan park.

I have never known a tourist caravan site with direct access from and exit onto a very busy dual carriageway.

People, (some with young families) will obviously try to cross this dangerous road to visit the Cross Keys and to use the bus stop.

I can’t believe that these councillors, even though some of them had serious concerns about road safety, approved this application. An accident waiting to happen.

In addition, this proposed development will have a detrimental effect on this landscape of beautiful open countryside, with views of the moors and Roseberry Topping.

Shame on them.

Name supplied, Guisborough.

A1 diversion

AS work nears completion on the Testo Roundabout on South Tyneside we have to ask, what will the road signs say? Will Highways England take the opportunity to move traffic out of an overcrowded Teesside?

Traffic from the Tyne Tunnel journeying south has two ways to go at that point. The traffic can continue down the A19 to Teesside, York and beyond.

Over 20 per cent of the traffic travels further than Teesside and could be diverted onto the A1 instead. The road from the Tyne Tunnel south to the Washington services is virtually empty on weekday mornings.

The opportunity is there to take over 20 per cent of the traffic off the overcrowded A19 and onto the A1 instead at this point, reducing the numbers who journey south through Teesside.

Cllr Nigel Boddy, Darlington.

Poor performance

I DIDN’T think I would be saying this, but Eddie Jones, the England Team Rugby manager, has gone downhill in my estimation after that dire performance by England against France last weekend.

England scraped home by the last kick of the match to win, then Eddie Jones turned on his critics by more or less saying that it was the result that mattered.

The match was for a lot of the time a kicking game. Can anyone tell me why keep kicking the ball back, all it does was hand over possession.

England were not really chasing their kick and when England had possession and were running from deep with a lot of open ground in front, why does the receiver hesitate then run at an angle, instead of running fast straight away at the opposition, gaining more ground. France were supposedly fielding their second or third team but were overall a much better team. In fact it was a French player who was man of the match.

I won’t be watching England anymore if they repeat those tactics or I will be shouting for the opposition. I was definitely shouting on Sunday, but at the box.

Talking about not watching, I have not watched Sports Personality of the Year, a programme I would not miss, for a number of years.

The show has lost all decorum as far as I am concerned. It seems to be all about the comperes being the personalities and I can't stand all the hype, glitz, music and flashing lights.

The programme in my opinion, actually detracts from the reason for the show.

Thomas Ball, Barnard Castle.

Winter chuckle

ALL this talk of harsh weather can't disguise the fact that the worst two winters since the war were Mike and Bernie.

An old joke but it still gets a laugh.

Martin Birtle, Billingham.