Heating example

I READ last week “School heating debate hears call to consider alternative fuel source” (D&S Times, Dec 11) that North Yorkshire County Council are considering whether they should replace ancient gas boilers in 34 of the county schools with heat pumps.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the council to demonstrate to the school pupils that they care for the environmental future.

I can assure Jon Holden, head of property services, that this is a well tried and effective technology. It works well if the buildings are very well insulated and the system has a good quality thermostatic controller.

It would be tragic and short sighted if gas boilers were installed.

Michael Chaloner, Bedale.


AM I the only person to be confused by this claim from MPs Simon Clarke and Peter Gibson that a Brexit deal means that we lose our sovereignty?

We have left the EU, we have complete control over our legislation.

The “level playing field” standards the EU is referring to are minimum standards that we have not only applied in the past but helped shape as a key member of the EU.

If we choose to diverge from future standards, we are free to do so. No-one is forcing us to adopt them, but we will do so while taking account of the consequences, namely possible tariffs.

It is our choice, in the same way that choosing no deal means that we have chosen the consequences of WTO terms and the tariffs that we have to adopt.

What’s the difference?

Paul Harrison, Richmond.

Climate aid

I HAVE followed the series of letters on the subject of aid spending in the last two weeks of the D&S Times.

I was particularly struck by the letter from Sue Barton “Moral spending” (D&S Times letters, Dec 11) in which she suggested that as one of the richest countries in the world we have a moral and human duty to support the poorer nations.

I would agree with her but another reason for aid giving which has not been mentioned is the climate emergency.

It is a fact that rich countries have historically been largely responsible for CO2 emissions although we are not yet suffering the worst effects of them.

By contrast, according to the International Red Cross, two million people each week in low-income countries already need emergency assistance because of the climate crisis.

We should remember that this is the time when the UK is supposed to be taking a lead on tackling the climate emergency.

Support for “adaptation” by developing countries to changing conditions has always been accepted as being a major component of the response made by developed economies in addition to “mitigation” by reducing their emissions.

“Rich countries must honour their obligation under the Paris agreement to provide $100bn a year to help developing countries limit their own climate pollution and adapt to the heatwaves, storms and sea level rise already under way,” said Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, on December 2.

The UK should bear in mind that we have the honour of hosting the COP26 next year in Glasgow so we should be setting an example to other countries by maintaining our oversea aid spending with a renewed and urgent emphasis on tackling climate change.

Clare Churley, Saltburn-by-the-sea.

Duelling A66

I WAS delighted to read that funds are to be allocated to road improvements near us “Minister reveals money to duel A66” (D&S Times, Dec 11) but is it going to be a case of theodolites at dawn?

John Young, Gilling West.

Symbolic reminder

SINCE opening, in 1911, the Transporter Bridge has been the prime symbol for the whole of Teesside, representing its steel-making past and providing a highly visible focus for our area.

Even if it has transported its last vehicle across the Tees, the Bridge must remain, in all its glory, as a visitor attraction. And, it was as a visitor that, about ten years ago, I achieved my ambition to climb the Transporter.

To achieve this, I joined a heritage walk, starting in South Bank, and culminating in magnificent views from the Transporter walkway, 160ft high. The climb up the steps was hard and exposed but the unique view was ample reward.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Because I had not allowed for the twists and turns of the Tees, it took me some time to spot the distinctive Newport Bridge.

In fact, it was a rather disorienting, but fulfilling, experience to view the whole of Teesside and the Cleveland Hills from such a magnificent vantage point.

We were also treated to a tremendous ride on the since-modernised gondola; not only on the car deck but in the antiquated control room high above the vehicles.

All in all, a transporting experience I shall never forget.

Steve Kay, Redcar & Cleveland Councillor.

Town trees

I AM writing in response to an article entitled “Carbon-cutting tree strategy in Darlington divides opinion (D&S Times, Dec 11).

Actually everyone agrees.

Labour now claim this is their same policy from back in 2011. If this is the same policy, where are the 30,000 trees then Labour should have planted since 2011 under this policy?

York City Council are buying land to plant 50,000 trees. If you add the trees Labour are supposed to have planted in Darlington since 2011 to the 20,000 the Conservatives now want to plant, co incidentally that comes to 50,000 trees.

Why do York City Council have to buy land to plant trees in these numbers, but Darlington local authority can manage to do this without buying any land?

Under what circumstances were the 30,000 Labour trees planted? How many are alive today?

If the local authority has to refund money to the Forestry Commission because Labour have been planting a fantasy forest, how much will that cost the council taxpayers of Darlington?

Cllr Nigel Boddy, Darlington.

Imperial weights

I ALWAYS enjoy Chris Lloyd’s column, and they are normally very accurate as far as I can tell, but Homer has nodded last week I fear (D&S Times, Dec 11).

At the top of page 32 you mention “a sack weighing eight cwt or 112lb”. Alas I’m afraid not.

The unit steps in the standard Imperial system used across the British Empire were 14 lb = one stone, two stone = one quarter, four quarters = one cwt, 20 cwt = one ton.

There were thus 112lb or eight stone in one cwt (the weight of your potato sack) and 20 cwt or 2240 lb in one ton.

In the next column you are spot on again – a 50kg bag weighs 110.2 lb which is near enough our hundredweight of 112lb.

The Americans are a law unto themselves, however, and still use a sort of degraded Imperial system with a “short hundredweight” set at only 100lb.

They get round this in practice by ignoring the hundredweight entirely, short or long, and just use ever larger numbers of pounds.

Thus a chemical plant might produce 300 million lbs of (say) polyethylene a year – which is pretty meaningless to the rest of the world, including the UK, who sensibly use metric units (so it makes 136,000 tonnes/yr) in real money).

Keep up the good work.

Tom Banfield, Thornton-le-Beans.

Charitable donations

I HAVE just received my winter heating allowance.

This payment will be a godsend to many but there will be others, especially if paying for gas and electricity by monthly direct debit, who don’t really need it.

May I suggest that if you are in that category you consider passing on part to a charity.

I think that this year there will be a greater need than ever. It will be the foodbank for me.

Name and address supplied.

Brexit trade deals

I DON’T know about what is happening about Brexit, like many more British citizens, I am totally confused.

Is the above heading just political?

Would it be more worthwhile to have a second public referendum, to try and finally sort the Brexit trade problems out? I personally think without the support of the EU countries, Britain would find everything very difficult in everyday living. Am I right or am I wrong? What do you think?

Roland Bramham, Richmond.

Nothing fancy

DOES anyone share my frustration?

Why can’t I buy a set of fairy lights that just go on constant, without having to get down on my knees each time to press a little button on the floor to stop them “whizzing”, “flashing”, “fading”, “twinkling” etc?

Drives me mad! Merry Christmas.

Christine Sellers, Richmond.

In despair

SO “trusted celebrities” are to be used to encourage people to get a Covid jab.

Does that include “party girl” Rita Ora? If she threatened to sing I’d willingly take the jab.

In others news we have “Prince of Woke” Prince Harry droning on about raindrops in a social media lecture.

The BBC. which is asking over 75s to pay TV licences, bombards us with tripe such as the Wheel with its big money prizes and worse still, Michael McIntyre.

Sunday sees “His Dark Materials” and “Small Axe”. What does BBC stand for?

Peter Garbutt, Middlesbrough.

Lorry loads

THE new Amazon distribution warehouse at Darlington could do with a bigger lorry park, every layby and nook and cranny space within a two mile radius of the place is full of wagons every day.

I don’t know where the drivers go to the toilet.

GO Wright, Sadberge.

Bus station site

NOW that the church behind Darlington’s Boots store, house and the closed night club are to be and are being demolished (a long time in coming), I read that Darlington Borough Council are now in a quandary as what can the soon to be vacant site can be used for. Well as it’s a fairly central town area on a level, the obvious use for it is a new bus station – something that the town really needs.

The congestion of buses in Northgate and down Tubwell Row is not in keeping with today’s age.

Darlington is the only town in the North-East of its size that lacks a proper bus station, of which it should be ashamed and with having had one for many years in the past it’s about time one was provided. When I have spoken to town hall council employees on this subject I have always been met with the explanation that “there is no suitable location”, well there will be one once demolition is complete.

I wonder what new excuse the town hall will come up with.

D Reed, Darlington.