Dales buses

TRAIN operator LNER is currently providing a subsidy for the popular Northallerton-Bedale-Leyburn-Aysgarth-Bainbridge-Hawes Sunday and Bank Holiday DalesBus 856 service, from its Customer and Community Investment Fund. This is because the railway company recognises the great value of the connections provided at Northallerton station for passengers boarding and alighting from trains.

In recent years, a number of local and regional businesses, local councillors and other donors have also generously provided funding for this particular service.

The Wensleydale Flyer 856 runs all year round, through wonderful scenery and into the National Park.

Valid passes for free travel are accepted, but unfortunately the service doesn't qualify for North Yorkshire County Council support.

Although there is much talk of possible government funding for future bus services, at present no reassurance can be given about the continuation of the DalesBus 856 beyond Easter when the LNER funding ends.

A written approach is therefore being made to all the 19 town and parish councils along the 40 mile route between Northallerton and Hawes (and other parish councils close enough to it for their residents and visitors to use the service).

The aim of the volunteers making this appeal (of which I am one), is to raise a substantial proportion of the subsidy required for the financial year 2022-2023 for formal approaches to be made to external bodies for match-funding. They nearly always require evidence of local effort first – hence our theme of "do-it-yourself or do without".

Today's motorists may feel that bus services have nothing to do with them (except during snowy conditions or when the car is being serviced or repaired).

However the pressures and impact of rising fuel prices and climate change may bring a dependency on public transport that most people can barely imagine as yet.

Letters are being sent to all the parish councils concerned along the route. Donations or sponsorship from individuals, local businesses and organisations, would also be very welcome. For details of how to contribute, please see www.dalesbus.org/news

We hope local support will help secure the future of this remarkable through service, which connects four market towns and all the villages between them with three return services every Sunday and Bank Holiday.

Ruth Annison, Askrigg, Leyburn.

Food security

REGARDING the planning permission for a solar farm near Richmond “Plans lodged for £30m solar farm close to town” (D&S Times, Nov 26), when agricultural land is developed, whether for residential housing, roads, retail or business parks, or even for solar farms, there should be a report made on the productivity of that land. Does it grow food? If taken out of production where will that food come from? Will it come from abroad?

If so, will the methods of production and welfare be equal to those in our own country? And what will be the cost of bringing that food here?

For the sake of food security we should grow as much of our own as our country can sustain. These things should be considered and weighed against the advantages and disadvantages of any planning permission that involves agricultural land.

Marion Moverley, Easingwold.

Welcome exchange

I HAVE just read a note from A Booth stating they had not been able to change a £20 note for 20 £1 coins at his local post office “A poor exchange” (D&S Times letters Nov 26).

I assume they mean the Northallerton one, I have been there for the last two Saturdays and exchanged a £20 note for 20 £1 coins.

I can only assume the staff don’t all read the same memos.

Colin Tipton, Leeming Bar.

Defending Boris

THE former Labour MP Dave Anderson has taken to writing with polemic attacks on Boris Johnson “Time to go, Boris” (D&S Times, Nov 26).

Last week his letter was a negative list of grievances, mixed with hyperbole and invective.

As balance, I ask readers to consider the wider picture.

Under Boris and Rishi Sunak, Brexit has allowed the Teesside Freeport to launch, and we have a massive investment from General Electric as a result.

The Teesside carbon capture scheme paves the way for decarbonisation of power and raw materials production, which will contribute a huge amount to lowering everybody’s carbon footprint.

The Government’s new Economic Campus in Darlington has already had an impact on stagnant property values in the town, creating asset growth for domestic and commercial property owners, and is contributing to rising wages as a significant number of new posts are recruited at above average salaries.

In the wider North East, we are no longer the place of the highest unemployment in the UK, during my working life unemployment has often been around ten per cent – it was 5.1 per cent last month.

Things are getting better in Yorkshire too, recruitment might be tough for employers (I know I am one) but the far-sighted Covid support schemes devised and implemented by Rishi have given the economy a chance to lift off after the pandemic.

Although a new variant is a worry, the reopening this summer now looks wise and considered, helping to smooth out the level of new infections. Meanwhile, investments in multiple vaccines have suppressed the numbers of hospitalisations and deaths. We are in a better place than some EU neighbours as we enter the coldest winter months.

There have been some adjustments to big spending on trains, but the core policy still involves much more money and improved connectivity. Sir Keir Starmer once opposed HS2, now he’ll spend every penny demanded.

There might be glum Conservative readers of your newspaper, but all is not lost. Labour’s policy vacuum, its knee-jerk support for every "woke" cause, its addiction to public spending beyond even the high levels the Government is committing from taxpayers, will not endear it to the public.

The "levelling-up" agenda is only just getting started; it is working in Teesside because we have a Mayor who got our area ahead of the game. Over time its effects will be felt elsewhere too.

Dave Anderson says “Time to go, Boris”, I say, "Time to go on, Boris”.

Graham Robb, High Coniscliffe, Darlington.

Scientific research

IN response to Trevor Nicholson “Climate culprits” (D&S Times letters, Nov 19).

"It’s warming. It’s us. We’re sure. It’s bad. We can fix it." Kimberley Nicholas, climate and sustainability scientist, Lund University, Sweden.

We are quoting a climate scientist. The people singled out as being scientifically illiterate, from John Kerry to children, are all only asking us to follow the advice that is being given by the scientific community. As Greta Thunberg has often repeated "don't listen to me listen to the scientists".

We hope that no one is accusing the scientists of being scientifically illiterate. On the contrary, we wonder who Mr Nicholson is quoting for his opinion that volcanoes are a significant cause of global warming because that certainly does not agree with the published scientific research.

Finally, the recent report from the IPCC, AR6 Working Group 1, has been compiled by more than 200 scientists over three years, drafting and redrafting information distilled from 14,000 scientific papers written since 2013.

Their conclusion: "It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred."

Mr Nicholson would be well-advised to read the available science and fill the gaping holes in his climate science knowledge before accusing activists and politicians of scientific illiteracy.

Climate Action Stokesley and Villages (climateactionstokesleyandvillages.org) would be happy to discuss the matter further and facilitate sessions around global warming and climate change.

Bridget Holmstrom, on behalf of Climate Action Stokesley and Villages.

Wake up

REFERRING to the letters from Frank Broughton and Bob Sampson (D&S letters, Nov 26), two classical examples of people who refuse to , or can't, answer simple questions such as:

1. Why has the planet suffered 11 ice ages (the last one 11,700 years ago)?

2. How have coal seams been formed from vegetation at depths of between 300ft and 600ft apart over billions of years?

No one I know has disputed that humanity can have an impact on the climate but this is minimal compared to the influence of Mother Nature.

Mr Broughton indicates a propensity to believe every word a scientist says. Quoting claims from Nobel Laureates and Nobel Prize winners who have produced models to predict climate change is not cast in stone.

A model is simply creating a mathematical equation to predict an outcome. To obtain accurate information on climate change the subject should be studied analytically for a period of, say, 200,000 years to obtain credible facts.

With regards to Mr Sampson accusing me of paucity for suggesting the majority of the kids protesting at COP26 were probably studying humanities subjects as opposed to maths and science subjects, I challenge him to conduct simple research.

This would involve canvassing, say, a combination of eight or ten comprehensive, high schools and sixth form colleges at random in North Yorkshire and Durham to assess the ratio of A level humanities students versus maths and science students.

For the kids who protested at COP26 on a Friday (not Saturday or Sunday), it was an excuse to bunk off school for the day.

Trevor Nicholson, Leeming.

Narrow road

IF we have any self-respect we will try to be moral. If anybody is like me they will not find much guidance in the Bible, it is jungle of sometimes contradictory stories which can be interpreted in multiple ways.

However, there is one section which seems simple enough, it is the Sermon on the Mount, and it is worth reading several times.

One of the sayings is "take the narrow road". The narrow road is the more difficult and sometimes harder to find.

With climate change, migration is becoming more and more of a problem.

One thing that is worth accepting is that it is more of a problem for the migrants than for us. To cross the Channel in an open boat is a pretty brave or desperate act.

The obvious reaction is to deter the migrants. By neglect make the open boats necessary. Push them back, make the lives of migrants harsh once they get here. Even send them away to an offshore detention centre. None of this seems very moral.

It is harder to find a real solution, but possibly making a viable route to coming to the UK for everybody is the answer. The narrow road involves accepting migrants.

Chris Pattison, Richmond.