Sewage disposal

I WAS pleased to see your paper making public problems with sewage and surface water disposal, as well as what I interpreted as excuses from Yorkshire Water for failing to anticipate and remedy those problems (D&S Times, Nov 19).

When a previous Conservative government privatised the utilities, one of the key mantras was that the new companies would be more efficient and give better value for money because of competition. That of course does not apply to companies like Yorkshire Water, the consumer has no choice. I still hear people talking about "the water board" seemingly unaware that water is being supplied and sewage disposed of by an organisation whose purpose is to make a profit for its shareholders.

The water companies do face problems. There are two key issues. The first is the mixing of rain (storm) water drainage with sewage, leading, when rainfall is heavy, to raw sewage being discharged into rivers or onto roads in housing estates; that problem will only get worse with increased rainfall due to climate change.

The second is that an estimated one third of the water extracted from rivers, underground aquifers or reservoirs is lost from leaking water mains. The impact of both problems could be reduced if the will existed but judging from HMG’s refusal to back a recent proposed amendment (to the Environment Bill 2021) to pressure the water companies further into reducing discharges of raw sewage, that is not the case.

For me there are two ways forward. One is to force the water companies to invest what will be considerable sums, or to re-nationalise the water companies, which would then be expected to deal with those problems under direct public scrutiny. I prefer the second as I regard the supply of water and sewage disposal as services that should belong to the whole community.

John Harris, Richmond.

Reneged promise

I WROTE to my local MP, like many a Conservative since the red wall breach.

I was concerned that the "triple lock" pension rise was going to go and the rise, the first decent rise for the retired would be consigned to history.

The MP replied many months ago putting my mind at rest. Earlier this week that same MP, along with all her Conservative colleagues, voted to "suspend triple lock".

I think this is the first time any party has attacked what was thought to be protected for some of the most vulnerable in society.

It must be remembered by the MPs that took seats from that "red wall" that most pensioners supported them at the last general election due to the stance by the leader, Boris Johnson, on leaving the EU.

Now that is in the past I hope us pensioners recall at the next general election who it was that voted to take money out of our pockets and vote accordingly.

JB Collinson, Middleton-in-Teesdale.

Climate experts

TREVOR Nicholson’s latest attempt to discredit those attempting to warn us about the potentially disastrous impacts of human-induced climate change cannot go unchallenged “Climate culprits” (D&S Times letters, Nov 19).

He refers to the "scientific illiterates" speaking at the COP26 climate conference but he can hardly apply this term to the 11 Nobel Laureates and 18 other distinguished scientists who issued a statement last Spring declaring that human-induced climate change had reached a critical tipping point and calling for urgent action to combat it.

Their call was echoed by Klauss Hasselmann, joint winner of this year's Nobel Prize for Physics in recognition of his work on modelling climate change. After his presentation, Professor Hasselmann said "I hope that... people will wake up and realise that they have to do something before it's too late."

I'm afraid Mr Nicholson is still soundly asleep.

Frank Broughton, Brompton on Swale.

Lacking evidence

TREVOR Nicholson “Climate culprits” (D&S letters, Nov 19) is, of course entitled to his opinion, however misguided; but his unworthy slur directed at the students protesting at COP26 demonstrates the paucity of his arguments.

What evidence does he have of the subjects which they are studying? I guess as much evidence as he has to support his views on climate change.

Thank goodness there are young people who are willing to take to the streets to try to protect their future.

Bob Sampson, Newton-le-Willows.

Coal damage

NOW we know the damage using coal as a fuel has done to the environment, surely we need to review its role in the foundation of modern Britain.

Houses like Wentworth Woodhouse, built on the profits from coal mining should be torn down. Former coal mining towns such as Ashington in Northumberland should be required to pay reparations to poor countries suffering from rising sea levels.

Newcastle upon Tyne, a city built on the profits of the coal trade, should have its football team relegated to the National League.

Railways originated from mine owners seeking to move coal from mines to ships for onward transport to customers. All should be closed with immediate effect. Or we could just let history be history.

Chris W Johnson, East Cowton.

Shop moves

THE recent “Stockton News” magazine is full of self-praise, especially the shops move to fill the considerable number of 20-years-empty retail units in Wellington Square.

There is a list of who is relocating – after “consultation”. That is not the term store chiefs have used, hence a fair number are walking away – they resent being “dictated” to, as they put it.

There is also the question of relocation costs – either nil or insufficient from the council, to justify the move.

The purchase of Wellington Square, from the original developers, solves the political and economic embarrassment of 20-year-empty units and loss of business rates – and releases a huge site for what many Stockton citizens feel is a vanity project – which had better work or “heads will roll” at election time.

A list of those walking away should have been in Stockton News and the stores' reasons for doing so published, instead of what comes across as censorship.

GB Butler, Stockton.

Migrant crisis

AS Boris Johnson tries belatedly to get a grip on the migrant situation, his efforts will be dogged at every turn by the likes of Justin Welby.

They seem impervious to the fact that literally billions of people would be substantially better off were they able to settle in the UK, but any welcome and the advantages which drew them here would be eroded far short of this.

It is reasonable to ask the archbishop how many people he would let in and how he would select these fortunate ones or, more bluntly, who he would turn away.

But it is futile to seek his endorsement of any restrictions when his delicate conscience will always impel him to help one more family through. Any system will be broken unless such sentiment is overruled.

It is argued that we all arrived here as waves of migrants, but each resisted those who came after. Never before have we been compelled by our leaders to help those trying to colonise our territory.

Assistance to migrants is a matter of personal conscience rather than national interest.

It should be funded (if at all) through voluntary charitable contributions from the willing, not taxes levied on those opposed to such migration.

Money to support displaced people goes much further in camps close to their country of origin than on expensive Western housing and services.

Public funding for such people should all be seen to come from the same pot, so that helping some to reach here is recognised as depriving those who don’t.

John Riseley, Harrogate.

Time to go

IN the aftermath of his abortive attempt to changes the rules of parliament to protect his friend, our sleazy Prime Minister told his backbenchers that he had “driven his car into the ditch”. We now find out that he was, of course, on the way to Peppa Pig World.

In between time he stopped off to derail his manifesto commitment to fully completing the HS2 plans, and, yet again, breaking his promises to the people of this country.

And, as always, when he repeatedly does this he steadfastly refuses to apologise to the people hurting most.

In another astonishing about turn his much vaunted plan for social care – which has been exposed as a cynical tax rise to the highest levels in decades – shows his true colours by prioritising the wealthy over the less well off.

The majority of people in our part of the world will have no option other than to sell their home if they need high level care whilst in the wealthier regions of our country will be cosseted .

As we have seen across the duration of his premiership, Boris Johnson always puts his personal interests above anything else.

From acting unlawfully in proroguing parliament to pretending that he had oven-ready deals on Europe and now in bending the rules of our democracy, he has proven he is unworthy of high office.

And his own people are turning against him. Heed those who complain if they have to give up their lucrative second jobs that they can’t live on the £82,000 a year MPs' salary and that they may have to bail out of the plane or desert the sinking ship as Captain Johnson steers them onto the rocks.

No doubt he will try and placate them with a standards system that looks both ways at once but we the people have to make it clear that we won’t tolerate this abuse any longer.

His narcissistic approach has been exposed when it appears that, as they say in the US, the guy can’t even walk and chew gum at the same time.

And to continue the transport related theme further it really is time that he did us all a favour and got on his bike.

Dave Anderson, Middleton in Teesdale.

Help for carers

ALZHEIMER’S Society is urging people caring for a loved one with dementia to get in touch if they have questions about the support and benefits they are entitled to.

We estimate this silent army of 1.8 million unpaid carers save the UK economy £13.9 billion a year, but many carers are unaware of where to turn to for help.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, over six million people have accessed our services, including our Dementia Connect support line (0333 150 3456). This vital support has been a real lifeline for thousands during the crisis, but we want to reach more people affected by dementia.

Our team of dedicated Dementia Advisers help the partners, family members and friends caring for loved ones to navigate the complicated maze of health and social care services.

Whether it’s advice on legal documents, help understanding dementia, or someone to talk to when things get tough, they are there to help.

Alzheimer’s Society is campaigning for quality social care for people affected by dementia.

We believe social care should be free at the point of use, like the NHS and education, and easy to access for anyone affected by dementia.

To find out more and join our campaign visit alzheimers.org.uk/curethecaresystem

Danielle Cooper, Area Manager for Alzheimer’s Society.

Project cuts

TO date nobody’s had a good word to say about HS2 but now it’s been cut back, everybody’s playing hell.

Doesn’t this tell us less about transport and levelling-up, and more about human nature?

Steve Kay: Deputy Leader, Redcar & Cleveland Council.

Acceptable service

SO, the HS2 is not going as far as previously promised. Does that really matter?

It appears that the revised decision is breaking a manifesto promise made in December 2019 and at other times.

Is it any wonder promises made in 2019 have had to be revised – I do not think Covid-19 was even thought about then.

Perhaps a little patience should be exercised to see what new plans for rail in the North actually produce.

Last Friday I travelled from Darlington to Birmingham returning on the Saturday and both trains were heavily populated but comfortable and it went fast enough, for me anyway.

If I wanted to travel any faster I would go to a fairground.

Mike Taylor, Darlington.

Where is the rationale?

VISITING my local Post Office I wanted to change a £20 note for 20 £1 coins.

The Post Office worker informed me they no longer exchange notes for coins but if I bought something, then she could give me change!

A Booth, Northallerton.

Shopping offence

WITH the prying eyes of the Woke Inquisition Commissars trawling through our way of life, even, for example, managing to find hospital equipment racist, is it not time that “Black Friday” be treated in a similar way?

Rodney Wildsmith, Great Ayton.