Market day joy

I AM writing to endorse Gary Lewis' letter “Street closure” (D&S Times letters, Sept 3).

I shop regularly in Northallerton. For years, I have wished that they'd close the road on market days. I was delighted when it actually happened, even if the reason was Covid.

For starters, there's more space for the people. The pavements used to be so congested that I began avoiding town on market days.

With the road closed, there's more space, and it becomes a pleasure to go to town, rather than a frustration.

As Gary commented, the ambience is good. It's far more pleasant to sit at a pavement cafe when you're not having to shout over traffic noise and choke on engine fumes.

Personally, I'd like to see the area between the Town Hall and Zetland Street pedestrianised every day, with provision for disabled access, as in York. It makes for a much more pleasant town experience.

Even if it can't be done every day, it's pointless to allow traffic into the High Street on market days, since there is no parking on those days. All that happens is that the street is ruined by a noisy, smelly traffic jam up its middle.

I hope the council will see the light, and continue to close the road on market days.

Helen Johnson, Appleton Wiske.

Economic benefit

AS I wound my way down Northallerton High Street on market day I reflected on the beauty of the scene, people sat outside cafes enjoying the fresh air and ambling safely between market stalls and shops.

Wednesdays and Saturdays are now a treat, no crazy cars because we are all on our feet, with space and time to stop and chat, breathe in the fresh air and listen to the hum of people meeting and relaxing.

Also, from a business point of view, I have spent far more money in Northallerton High Street since the road closures on market day than I ever did before.

Ralph Windwood (with a little help from Gerry Rafferty), Northallerton.

Going wild

HAVE you gone wild yet? No, I don't mean being frustrated with the latest political machinations. I mean wild.

No, not angry that the supermarkets seem to be running out of your favourite biscuits. I mean nature wild. No, not camping in a damp field with no facilities.

What I mean is garden wild. Letting nature take back control. All the gardening programmes and magazines are advocating that we let our lawns grow and loving those "plants in the wrong place' or as I call them" – weeds.

So there's no more therapy for dad on a Sunday afternoon getting the stripes aligned and the edges neat. The new idea is "no mow". As well as that, we now have to be kind to thistles, nettles and dandelions in our borders. That is if you can find the borders behind the long grass.

However, one man's wild garden is another neighbour's nightmare. Imagine the scene, a warm summer's afternoon, sitting in the garden (glass in hand – optional). You watch dreamily as the seeds from rosebay willow herb and dandelion clock seeds come drifting by on the breeze. Dreamily – it's my nightmare!

Weeds have the most efficient seed dispersal systems in the plant kingdom. Just look at the dandelions along the roadsides or rosebay willow herb on a derelict site.

Unfortunately, they do not land between plants. You find nettles running through a clump of phlox or the long tap root of the dandelion beneath a mound of nepeta.

Then there are brambles creeping towards you like alien creatures and ground elder squeezing under the fence. For an old-fashioned gardener, it is the stuff of nightmares.

Sadly, having a wild flower garden is not easy. It is not just letting it run free and ox-eyed daisies and cornflowers will magically appear. Just look at some of our roadside verges where dock, thistle, ragwort and other dominant species crowd out the delicate ones.

So, spare a thought "wild ones" for the traditional gardener next door. It might be me.

Terence Fleming, Guisborough.

Power grab

AT a time when Rishi Sunak is asking taxpayers to pay more for social care, I wonder how the Conservatives can justify the (at least) £38m potentially needed to reorganise local government in North Yorkshire (D&S Times, Sept 3)?

Why is it that the cost of this unlooked-for reorganisation was not identified prior to the so called consultation on this proposal? Might it have adversely affected the public's attitude to this ill thought out scheme?

This reorganisation will create a less democratic institution with one of the worst voter to representative ratios in Europe, as well as making North Yorkshire financially worse off.

It’s not just that the reorganisation is costing millions. Or that the cost in money and in carbon emissions of councillors having to drive to Northallerton will be much higher.

The county council infrastructure is clearly inadequate for this unitary authority. For many years North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) wasted thousands of pounds hiring temporary portable cabins as the size of County Hall is inadequate for its needs.

How much more will the new council have to spend to house and service its expanded number of services, staff and councillors? How long before, just like the previous Tory Police and Crime Commissioner, the Tories declare that the offices are too small and they will need to move to much bigger offices?

Add to this the additional millions it will cost to create the office of an all-powerful mayor, all to be paid for by you, the North Yorkshire taxpayer.

Trevor Mason in his letter in the same edition of the D&S Times pointed out the inadequacies of NYCC in managing privatised services, such as repairing North Yorkshire's roads. Will this be yet another excuse for the Conservatives to privatise services as they try to shoehorn the work of eight councils into one?

No wonder the NYCC leader Carl Les and his Conservative allies in Parliament appear so pleased with themselves.

Will millions of pounds of taxpayers' money be transferred from the public to the private sector? Indeed, it is no surprise that the first big cost of reorganisation is a bill from one of the notorious big four firms of accountants telling us that the creation of this unitary authority is going to cost us millions.

The Conservative Party's privatisation schemes have cost the UK billions of pounds over the years and removed democratic control over much of the nation's dwindling assets.

This new North Yorkshire unitary authority is, in my personal opinion, yet another cynical power grab.

Councillor Leslie Rowe, Independent Richmondshire District Councillor for Catterick and Brompton on Swale.

Climate again

I REFER to letters from Helen Robson, Steve Crighton, and Frank Broughton (D&S Times letters, Sept 3) and confirm my belief that 100 per cent of scientists believe that climate and global warming are cyclical. However, Helen Robson does not agree. Helen, please can you name a scientist who does not agree with me and the following?

1. The globe has warmed and cooled in cycles since the start of time.

2. I’ve experienced climatic cycles all my life; spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Steve, the IPCC Assessments [Note: Assessments are not proof] do not prove a nexus between human activity and global warming and CO2. Rather, it relies on the coincidence that, historically, CO2 concentrations have increased in line with temperature increases, and speculates that the C02 increase is responsible for all the woes of the world.

However, it ignores the fact that CO2 increases happen after temperature increases and not before. Further, the IPCC Assessment is founded on bad science and computer models which have historically (apart from the Russian model) failed to predict actual (measured) rises in temperature. It is wrong that Governments are accepting failed scientific predictions and speculation as scientific fact.

Frank, how are you going to feed the current global population if you achieve a cut in CO2 concentration? It is a scientific fact (that can be demonstrated in a laboratory) that increases in CO2 increase the growth rate of plants. The greater concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere the greener the planet. Cut CO2 and you condemn people to death. It would be reprehensible if you do this on the basis of the current, flawed, climate science and IPCC speculation.

I do not believe that our government should be impoverishing our nation (based on speculation by failed scientists) to achieve zero carbon emissions when everyone knows that China, India, and Russia are the main emitters of CO2 and are intent on increasing their emissions.

Alastair P G Welsh, Aycliffe Village.

Arms Expo

ON Monday, September 13, I along with many others will be taking part in a silent, multi-faith candle lit vigil outside the Excel Centre in Docklands, London.

We will be protesting against the world’s largest arms trade fair which our government hosts every two years.

They will welcome more than 1,700 arms companies to sell their wares to countries around the world including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Brazil, Turkey etc. Live demonstrations are promised, hopefully not against us.

It comes at an opportune moment as huge amounts of military equipment from UK and US forces, worth tens of millions of pounds, has been left behind in Afghanistan. Good news for our huge arms industry (which employs more than 85,000 people) – it all needs replacing.

But perhaps if we had spent a fraction of that money and expertise on education, hospitals, infrastructure, and irrigation, Afghanistan might not be in such an appalling state as it is now and the world might just be a bit safer.

Thinking selfishly, there could even be enough left to properly fund our own health service.

Jennie White, Leyburn.

Autumnal sign

FOR the last few days my wife and I have been witness to an increasingly rare sight these days here in Heathwaite – a mass gathering of swallows and house martins, although this is a signpost showing that summer is on the wane and autumn is upon us, it is a pleasure to see.

In recent years we have seen very few of these birds in comparison to times bygone, let us hope that these threatened species are making a comeback.

We look forward to their return and the signpost of spring.

Donald Smith, Heathwaite, Swainby.

Rural threat

I SUGGEST that readers get behind and fully support the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). If we don’t ourselves and future generations to be left with little countryside and overly powerful planning authorities.

When planning applications are presently made in your area, people are allowed to examine and contest them. This has been the democratic right for many years. This right is now under threat should the Government’s new proposals be made law.

It is the intention of the Government to strip away the opportunity for communities to influence what happens within their area. In contrast, developers will be given even wider sweeping powers to build whatever gives best profits without being held to account by local people.

Some communities have spent huge amounts of their time and effort with the aid of government grants etc drawing up local neighbourhood plans, which give them direct power to develop a shared vision for their community. Should these sweeping changes to the planning system go ahead, I believe that these plans will not be worth the paper they are written on.

Already local neighbourhood plans have been side-lined by planning authorities and developers.

What is needed is a planning system that puts people and communities first, delivers affordable homes, and provides access to the countryside for everyone, and the building of zero-carbon homes immediately.

Peter Ellerton, Low Coniscliffe, Darlington.