More flights

I READ with interest the arguments for and against even more public money being pumped in to keeping Teesside airport open. “Authority to spend extra £10m on Teesside Airport” (D&S Times, July 2).

There is however an elephant in the room, not being mentioned by either Mr Houchen or his Labour counterpart.

My question to both parties is this: Given that all political sides agree climate change is the greatest imminent threat to mankind, how does airport expansion with more, not fewer flights, reduce CO2 emissions, as is the government's stated aim?

Richard Baker, Middleton One Row.

Airport money

JUST how much more cash has to be blown on the loss-making Teesside Airport? “Authority to spend extra £10m on Teesside Airport” (D&S Times, July 2).

Even pre-pandemic the seeds of decline were evident as the airport was leaking cash at an alarming rate.

The only people using this service are offshore workers or MPs flying over on a PR photo shoot.

Planes are flying half empty or are being routinely cancelled.

Blaming the pandemic is a weak excuse as new flights are constantly being added by money bags Tees Valley Combined Authority, who are spending cash like there's no tomorrow.

We learn the airport has a ten-year rescue plan so at the moment it's pressure off, in the hope that tomorrow never comes.

But tomorrow will come. And when it does people will be visibly shocked to learn that hundreds of millions will have been washed down the drain just to save the inflated ego of a man who promised to save it whatever the cost.

Stephen Dixon, Redcar.

Teesside folly

I WANT Teesside Airport to succeed as much as anyone but to pump even more money into this already massively haemorrhaging folly is crazy (D&S Times, July 2), particularly given the financial plight of Stobart Air, an airline which is connected to Stobart Aviation which operates the airport.

Surely the sensible approach is to mothball Teesside until better times?

Throwing another ten million at it, as Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has done, is simply a no no. Common sense surely must prevail. The airport seems to be relying on a wing and a prayer.

I was on a Ryanair flight to Alicante that was delayed for two hours and then had to return to the terminal. The reason was that someone had put the wrong nametag on a passenger’s bag at the check-in so everyone who had bags in the hold had to get out and check them.

Fortunately, the plane was far from full and this mistake happened when hardly any planes or passengers were using the airport.

Little fish are sweet, as is our Teesside Airport, but to expect too much from this gem will destroy its very existence and instead of proving to be a massive assistance to the rejuvenation of the area, it will become an unsustainable liability.

John Cumberland, Rushyford.

GP services

I WOULD like to comment on James Wood's letter “Privatisation?” (D&S Times Letters June 25) – he was responding to a previous item (on the same subject) from Malcolm Lloyd (D&S Times Letters, June 11).

As far as I am aware patients can still get their ears syringed, on the NHS, by contacting their GP who will arrange an appointment for them at the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, with a specialist nurse, who carries out this procedure. People do not need to pay for this privately.

As regards various other procedures, at one time carried out by GPs at their surgeries – it is the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) who decide on facilities for our health care and some years ago this group informed GP surgeries in our area, that funding would be withdrawn for certain "minor procedures".

As far as I remember Rishi Sunak wasn't happy about this and, as a result, tried to have these services retained. He was successful in this with Aysgarth and Hawes practices keeping to their original arrangements, however GPs surgeries lower down the dale, ie Leyburn and Bedale had these services cut.

Barbara Walker, Finghall, Leyburn.

Garden competition

I REFER to the letter from Daphne Clarke (D&S Times Letters, July 2) regarding Richmond Garden Competition.

Unfortunately it appears that Daphne has got a bit mixed up with the two separate events in Richmond associated with gardens, the first being the Garden Competition in the last week of July where the judges will be visiting each garden to look around and judge the merits of each individual garden.

The second is the Flowerpot Sculpture competition, which is the one that must be seen from the highway, over the August Bank Holiday weekend. This is a new venture by the council to bring a bit of fun back to the town after months of Covid restrictions.

I hope many, especially children, will make the effort and cheer us up a bit. There are prizes for both events.

Please see posters around the town for details.

Bob White, Mayor of Richmond.

Climate politics

TREVOR MASON (D&S letters, July 2) advises me to read a book by a Canadian, Patrick Moore, which purports to show that climate change is a fake catastrophe.

Accordingly I checked out Mr Moore and found that he is not, as both he and Mr Mason claim, a “co-founder” of Greenpeace but an ex-member of that organisation who for the last 40 years has worked as a paid advocate for some of the biggest polluters and carbon emitters on the planet, including the mining, oil and chemical industries. I think we can all judge what his views on the subject are worth.

Mr Mason then goes on to accuse those who argue that climate change is a genuine threat to the future of humanity of pursuing an “agenda that has more to do with leftist politics than real science". A left-wing conspiracy that includes Margaret Thatcher (an early advocate of action on climate change), Boris Johnson and Pope Francis among its members seems, to say the least, rather improbable.

Frank Broughton, Brompton-on-Swale.


DURING my working life out on the road I must have clocked up 1,000,000 miles over the years but I find some of the drivers today are idiots as soon as they get behind a steering wheel. They are not happy 'til they are past you, just to end up a few yards in front. Come on, grow up.

GO Wright, Sadberge.


THE possibly imminent collapse of the western backed regime in Afghanistan calls for drastic action.

I suggest, firstly, that we should crash the global market for opium, to cut funding for the Taliban.

This could be achieved if, instead of confiscated stocks of the drug being destroyed, they are sold on further down the distribution chain.

It may be objected that the reduction in price would result in some people consuming more, with potential harm to their health. But they have a choice (or had one before they became users), the Afghans don’t.

Secondly, we need to establish a defensible core region within Afghanistan which is large enough to accommodate all Afghans who do not wish to be ruled by the Taliban.

This would be purged of Taliban sympathisers as ruthlessly as the Taliban cleanse the areas they control of their opponents. It would provide a basis for partitioning the country.

The nature of the war to be fought would be transformed. It has hitherto been one in which the body-count is a measure of failure, with the futile slaughter of local farmers who have taken a day’s Taliban pay to shoot at foreign soldiers invading their district.

Instead, we would be defending a frontier zone against those who have travelled some distance to deprive others of their freedom. Our forces could proudly and purposefully do what they are good at.

If we contemplate the number who would otherwise be killed, driven into exile or abandoned to suffer oppression, we must surely conclude that they are worthy of a safe place of their own. That place is within Afghanistan.

We cannot accept that every nation which descends into fratricide is entitled to transplant or clone itself around the world.

John Riseley, Harrogate.

Battery disposal

THE announcement by Nissan that they are about to commit to making a significant investment by expanding their business in the North-East in order to make vehicle batteries for their new electric vehicles, is certainly good news for jobs, however it is a pity that this announcement wasn't supported along with another cohesive plan to deal with the disposal of these batteries many of which will require recycling by 2030 when the sale of all new fossil fuel cars will be banned.

Who will pay for the recycling as these batteries come to the end of life use currently estimated to be around eight to ten years, the vehicle end user, car manufacturer or local councils through the council tax?

M Kerr, Darlington.

Social media

IT is astonishing the amount of time vast numbers spend each day gazing at what, in many cases, can only be termed “mindless trivia” on their social media gizmos.

Many of the comments which are heard on the bus and in shops etc are virtually drivel.

What socially useful purpose do Facebook/Twitter/Instagram actually give?

There is a mistaken assumption that, because something is technically possible, this automatically makes it a “must-have” and socially desirable.

I would forecast inevitable considerable censorship on social media, if only to prevent “electronic bullying”, by folks far too gutless to face the individual.

I believe we have opened Pandora’s Box and have no idea – or perhaps the will – to control matters.

G B Butler, Stockton-on-Tees.

Wasted chance

IT can surprise no one that the Prime Minister failed to answer the question put to him in Parliament by Darlington MP, Peter Gibson about the proposed rail timetable. He never does answer. However, the inept way Mr Gibson asked the question gave him an easy way out.

Questions about the town’s road and rail links were important and deserved an answer.

Our hapless and inexperienced MP tacked on a party political promotion of his party’s candidate in the Batley and Spen by-election. Mr Johnson seized on that and turned his answer to that issue. Nothing of any benefit to Darlington emerged from the brief exchange. A wasted opportunity.

David Mason, Darlington.

Extra time

BOTH the BBC and ITV have quite an assorted assembly of football pundits at the Euros but it does not warrant the TV time schedule that is spent on each game.

Pre-match discussion with the inevitable array of statistics, with half-time analysis followed by the post-match summary takes up as much time as the game itself.

Every match results in the same repetitive words and phrases which are so familiar to the TV audience and does nothing to enhance our viewing as regular football supporters.

At least the contributions of the former foreign footballers has been a breath of fresh air compared to our own mundane pundits.

D Wearmouth, Shildon.

Biomass worries

ALONG with many millions of other viewers of the BBC News on Monday, I was shocked to see the way forests were being cut down in Estonia to feed biomass pellets to the Drax B power station in Yorkshire.

As we rush head long into so-called “green” projects, can we just stop and think about how green they really are, please?

Isn’t there supposed to be some kind of biomass heating system about to be installed in the Covered Market in Darlington?

Councillor Nigel Boddy (LibDem), Darlington.