Bus services

I WELCOME Ruth Annison’s letter about public transport (D&S Times, Oct 1) and thank her for drawing attention to the subject.

There is no doubt that local bus services need a major overhaul, but at the same time the general public must be encouraged to use them.

It is not surprising that timetables have been reduced when buses pass by with no passengers on board, but on the other hand people won’t use them if there is no regular service.

In the past, Leyburn residents could travel by bus to Northallerton for a day’s shopping, but now there is no service home after 2pm. It is the same for visitors wishing to travel to the Leyburn area for a few hours as they can no longer return later in the day.

There are local bus users, who have to find very complicated routes, rather than direct ones, when they want to come home.

The parking situation in our local market towns has become serious with many vehicles containing a driver only.

If there were reliable buses targeting shoppers and visiting Dales villages, they could well prove popular, not only for convenience, but also socially if they were well used.

When special events take place in the Dales the traffic situation can become a nightmare, but if extra buses were laid on to bring the visitors it could benefit everyone.

Many members of the older generation become isolated if they have to give up driving, so would welcome better bus services and there are others who may voluntarily give up their cars if public transport improved.

In these days of environmental concerns, I for one, would dearly like to see an end of rural traffic jams and a return of frequent, reliable bus services. I could even be tempted to give up my car.

Helen Robson, Harmby, Leyburn.

Use it or lose it

I WOULD like to support and add to the letter in last week's edition from Ruth Annison “Public transport” (D&S Times, Oct 1).

We not only need to make positive suggestions to our local authorities for improvements to our bus and rail services, but we need to use the services we already have, even though they may be inconvenient in some cases.

Current concerns about fuel shortages and reducing our emissions to protect the planet, make this a perfect time to start.

Many of our rural bus services depend on financial support either from the local council or other organisations, who are all under extreme financial pressures.

If they see that services are not being used, they will withdraw the support and our services will wither away.

Instead we may get a patchwork of demand-responsive services, similar to the current YorBus experiment in the Ripon-Masham-Bedale area.

This can only be booked shortly before the time of travel, with no assurance that a return journey will be available, as I found to my cost when I had to walk back to Bedale after my trip out.

YorBus is limited to serving only existing bus stops, which are few and far between in most areas.

It will be incomprehensible to tourists visiting our area, so no good to them.

So please, if you can, use the predictable bus services we already have, or we may lose them.

John Slaughter, Northallerton.

Heat pumps

I READ with interest the letter “Energy costs” bemoaning anti-fracking protesters “screaming hysterically” about the negative impacts of fracking (D&S Times, Oct 1).

I think it should be noted the EPA, the US environmental protection agency, has stated as recently as 2015 that 151 spills of hydraulic fracturing fluid, containing, water, methane, glycol (anti-freeze) and propargyl alcohol were recorded in the USA.

Thirteen of those spills reached potable (drinkable) water supplies.

The risks of polluting our tap water with chemicals hazardous to human health are simply too great.

Burning fossil fuels it is agreed cannot, thanks to environmental damage, continue.

If heat pumps are part of the answer, the Government should aid the householder with that expense, just as my solar panels benefit from the feed in tariff, which meant my investment in a four kilowatt system was paid for in just six years, not a lifetime by anyone's standards.

We employ governments to look after us, house builders should now be instructed to fit heat pumps to all new builds. Regarding the additional expense, the home buyer should then be financially recompensed by the Government, then our reliance on gas will wither and the arguments for fracking et al will dissipate.

If we are to survive, oil, gas and coal must be left in the ground, we don’t need them, modern technology can dispense with them all.

Additionally, heat pumps will provide the owner with heat far more cheaply than gas does – so they can buy the kids Christmas presents after all.

Richard Baker, Middleton One Row.

PCC comments

I AM appalled by the comments of Phil Allott, the Conservative police and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire, following the violent murder of Sarah Everard.

He chose to delete his tweets and apologise for his remarks (which appeared to place responsibility firmly on women rather than the police), but surely the concern is that he felt comfortable to make them in the first place.

My personal experience of reporting a physical assault to North Yorkshire Police was negative and deeply distressing.

However, Mr Allott is intending to focus on speeding, to the extent of inviting tenders from universities to review how speed limits are enforced in the county.

I also note that the 101 police line has been described as "not fit for purpose".

Given his sentiments, what can the public expect from North Yorkshire Police in future – to whom can we safely turn to for help and support in these difficult times?

S Chipping, Catterick Garrison.

Balanced reporting

JUST what impact has a few days of "balanced news reporting", by the vast majority of our mass media outlets on the unspeakably depraved actions of one police officer, had on ordinary members of the public?

For one I am left with the impression – from that "balanced reporting" – that the British police service is still virtually entirely male, misogynistic, lacking in any empathy for the predicament of females in our society and generally incompetent.

A little basic research reveals that this may not be the case. It shows that out of the eight most senior managers of the Metropolitan Police, three are female.

It shows that one third of the chief constables in this country are female.

It shows that basically one third of all police officers in this country who deal with these incidents on a day to day basis are female – are we really saying that they are having no impact on the culture of the organisation?

The research also shows that the High Court judge who presided over this horrendous case was full of praise for the speed, quality and integrity of the police investigation into it.

All organisations, unfortunately, occasionally turn up a bad apple. Nursing had Allitt, doctors had Shipman and even the media had their own, Savile, whose known appalling actions went unchallenged for years.

None of these meant the whole barrel was rotten – this seems only to be the presumption when police officers are involved.

This in no way reduces the need for a challenging investigation into the background to this case where several issues of serious concern have been raised.

However, had at least some of the above information been given a mention on the multitude of alleged balanced news reports it may have contributed just a little towards addressing what they all claimed was the big challenge, to restore public confidence in the police.

John Hutchinson, Brompton on Swale.

Positive message

I SEE yet more letters from our local climate change deniers, though I note that they have all shifted from denying climate change to saying it is natural and harmless.

I would like to raise the question of whether the D&S should be giving space to these views?

If letter writers put forward opinions that were anti-Semitic or racist or homophobic or anti-vaccine I have no doubt you would toss them in the bin.

I am by no means a no-platform cancel-culture woke warrior but in this case I would suggest you seriously question giving these blatant falsehoods the oxygen of publicity.

We are facing the biggest crisis in the history of humanity. This is no time to be giving airtime to ostriches.

Rather than engage with arguments that seek to promote feelings of defeatism and hopelessness I would like to send a more positive message to your readers. The views of citizens and voters on climate change do matter and can make a difference, and you don’t have to go on a demonstration or block the A1 to make them count.

Soon COP26 takes place in Glasgow where the governments of the world will meet to agree climate action to try to keep the earth habitable for human society.

If COP26 fails and the target of 1.5 degrees of climate heating is exceeded, the lives of young people alive today, our children and our grandchildren, are likely to be horribly worse.

The UK government is playing a major role, obviously, and Boris Johnson is crucially important to the success of COP26 – but so too is our own local MP, who makes such frequent appearances in this paper – Rishi Sunak.

The Chancellor has the power to make or break UK climate action and therefore possibly COP26 itself.

According to reports, Rishi is the focus of pressure from climate change denying Conservative MPs. He needs to know that his own constituents want action on climate change and will hold him to account.

If Rishi Sunak gets the simple message that thousands of voters, even in true blue Richmondshire want concerted effective action now on climate change and the protection of nature, it might make all the difference.

I ask all readers and especially young people to write to Rishi Sunak, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA telling him simply: “I want the UK government to take effective action now on climate change, as recommended by scientists”.

Tell him if you are a voter in Richmondshire, with your address. Yes you will have to find an envelope, buy a stamp and put it in a postbox. That will show Rishi you care – care about the future of our children and grandchildren, not to mention other species with which we share the earth.

Green consumer choices like eco dishwasher tablets or electric cars are good but this small action might be the most important contribution you can make to a better human future this year.

RD Hildyard, Colburn.

Smart? No thanks

NORTH Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) it seems have approved in Northallerton the ridiculous half hour free parking, followed by smart parking. Not everyone will know how to operate smart parking.

Northallerton Business Improvement District (BID) wants two hours of free parking. Why not have a compromise and have one hour's free parking and then use the meters. Don’t bother with smart parking.

This would be in line with other local towns ie Thirsk and it keeps it simple.

Are the majority of members of NYCC anti-business? It would seem so.

Why don’t they listen to people at the sharp end – people who pay rates and employ staff, and if they can make a profit pay tax.

William J L Barker, Thornton-le-Street.


HAVING just heard my MP, Rishi Sunak, address the Tory Party conference in Manchester saying how much better off we'll all be post-Brexit, I want to make it clear that he does not speak for me or other remainers when making such crass statements which fly in the face of all the evidence which he conveniently ignores.

The 2016 referendum showed the country to be split down the middle so why can't he and other Tories accept that reality instead of insisting that the country made a clear decision to leave the EU? It didn't and the sooner we are free from people who think like him the better. Brexit isn't working.

His lamentable justifications for it echo debates that were alive in the 1960s and 70s – well before Mr Sunak's time but no less relevant to our current predicament. Indeed, we seem to be hurtling back to those dark days of economic decline and growing impoverishment.

May I suggest some bed-time reading to hammer home the point: Hugo Young's This Blessed Plot: Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair (1998). It won't change Mr Sunak's mind or those of his equally blinkered Cabinet colleagues but it may give them cause to reconsider how they behave towards those of their constituents who hold a different view of Europe and the loss we feel.

I am not an Atlanticist nor a fan of the Gulf States so views like Mr Sunak's and those of his colleagues, notably Liz Truss, are anathema to me.

I am sure I am not alone in currently feeling disenfranchised politically.

Professor David Hunter, Richmond.