Station no-brainer

FOLLOWING comments in the D&S Times on June 17 regarding traffic issues at Teesside Airshow, and following all the good work on the day, it is unbelievable that no comments have emerged regarding the obvious "people mover".

I'm sure there are many people like me who would like to know why the railway station was not brought into the equation? Was the railway even on the agenda?

Why do we have an airport expansion plan with a railway station already on site, which cannot be brought into use – even for such a potentially once in a year occasion?

I don't want to hear political arguments, all parties must see that this is a no brainer. What are the plans for the railway station and when will they be realised?

Surely with the East Coast Main Line approximately five miles from Teesside Airport Railway Station (less than ten minutes' train journey) there is a massive potential to recoup extra flyers through our reinvigorated airport, easily taking back many fare payers lost to Leeds and Newcastle airports.

For people who planning this event, what made them put all their efforts into road traffic without due consideration of the stress-free smoothness of the railway?

I would welcome suggestions as to what can be done to rectify this situation please – no blame mongering thanks!

Steve Crighton, Yarm.

Good day

HAVING just attended the Sunday race day at Croft Circuit for the BTCC championship round, I must commend the organisers and staff of Croft for their brilliant work in traffic management, customer care and making the day a fun, safe and inclusive experience.

Clearly, their years of experience is invested in ensuring the customers’ and driver teams’ enjoyment is paramount.

From having one way traffic on the approach to the circuit entrances, very clearly marked routes well in advance and plenty of friendly and competent marshals, it all smacked of a well run, well organised event and one which they, and the area, can be rightly very proud.

Well done everyone concerned.

Andy Bramfitt, Darlington.

Small correction

WITH reference to the excellent tribute to my brother David Barker, “From riding Shetland ponies to the Olympics” (D&S Times, Jun 24), I would like to make one small correction.

I was not the “travelling reserve” as stated but on an equal footing with the other show jumping team members (David, David Broome and Peter Robeson).

Only three of the four were allowed to compete so the selectors had to decide in Tokyo who would be reserve.

Unfortunately, during a practice session my mare, North Flight, had an accident and was ruled out and so I was classed as the reserve.

We narrowly missed bronze in the team event and gained bronze in the individual.

William Barker, Thornton-le-Street.

Hogweed threat

THERE seems to be little interest in dealing with the Giant Hogweed problem which used to be – and possibly still is – rife along the river banks upstream of Yarm.

As Japanese Knotweed has to be legally destroyed wherever it appears, the same needs to apply to Giant Hogweed, unless it can be proved part of the food chain, either animal or insect.

The correct elimination method has to be high temperature flame gun at the base of the plant.

The heat bursts the plants cells and effectively kills it.

Simply wearing protective kit and cutting them down is a pointless exercise and waste of cash.

GB Butler, Stockton-on-Tees.

Cinema memories

IT was lovely to read the content of Andy Bramfitt's letter "Chapter end" (D&S Times letters, Jun 24) relating to the imminent closure of Darlington’s Odeon cinema.

It is sad about the closure but then I am one of the people to blame as I have never attended the venue while it has had three screens.

It's years now since I have been a regular cinema attender.

Andy goes back to 1977 and although it is not a competition (more a matter of age) I can go back to the Regal (which I think it was then) to the late 1950s when I used to attend the Saturday morning matinees.

However I remember well October 27, 1966 when I invited my now wife to attend the now ABC (I hope) to watch "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" (starring Elvis Presley). That was our first date.

We returned four weeks later to watch Elvis in the film "California Holiday" (also known as "Spinout"). I'm sure in between we were out on other dates but we were mainly playing badminton.

On the evenings we were watching the two films I was a little bit naughty (don't jump ahead too far readers) because they were both Thursday evenings when I should have been attending my maths O level GCE class. Between 1966 and 1971 (when we were married) we did attend the ABC and the Odeon (Bondgate) regularly. Being married, children came along and with a mortgage to pay and on one salary (my wife had ceased teaching) we just couldn't afford it. I still have the LPs of the above mentioned films in immaculate condition.

Since those days I have only visited the cinema rarely and those visits have been to Teesside Park, my apologies to the Odeon.

As for the maths exam I failed it miserably but I would have done anyway – too complicated.

Mike Taylor, Darlington.

Rwanda scheme

STUART Brennan in his letter “Collaboration” (D&S Times letters, Jun 26) attributes to me the view that the Rwanda scheme, which I defended, is “a form of punishment to deter other individuals from attempting to seek asylum in the UK”.

The point, as I see it, of the Rwanda scheme is not to punish or deter but rather to avoid creating extraneous rewards and incentives.

It addresses the question of how to distinguish between those for whom the high level of danger they face at home is a sufficient reason to move and those for whom other advantages of moving play a part.

The answer it provides is to offer substantially improved safety without any other advantage.

It creates a practical test of motivation which Mr Brennan’s “proper functioning process to evaluate applications” has no hope of emulating. I am pleased that the government has belatedly seen the merit of this.

I do not dissent from his position that people want to come here because this is a “good, safe place to live and to work”.

More precisely, it is a much better place to live and work than where they are coming from. I do not suggest that this is a bad motive. I only deny that (as he seems to imagine) this makes them genuine asylum seekers.

If entitlement to refuge were decided as he implies then a very substantial proportion of the world’s population would qualify.

For us to accommodate their wishes would be an absurdity amounting to our suicide as a nation.

John Riseley, Harrogate.

NATO views

NATO is the equivalent of a gang. It offers security through its combined strength but it does not account for the target it presents to rival gangs.

A new member must contribute something to the combined strength without offering a greater liability.

One of the ways that NATO ensures this is by professing a false intention to its members while it really has no practical way to live up to it.

It is not a security alliance.

The real world demands that every issue is dealt with only in a pragmatic way. NATO members form a pecking order.

The head of NATO’s pecking order is the US. If it is in the interest of the US to renege on its NATO commitments, it will do.

Those countries that lose out are just the first losers. There may be a pretence to provide security, more to convince its unaffected members than support for its vulnerable ones.

But there will be losers.

NATO is currently encouraging Finland and Sweden to join. These are rich countries and their two per cent of GDP contribution is significant but even more attractive is their geographic situation, especially that of Finland. Finland’s vulnerability is equal to its attractiveness.

At the moment Finland has no intention to host nuclear missiles. In the future governments will change and that policy too will change, there will be a change in popular opinion, aided by NATO’s not insignificant propaganda.

Ukraine was not in the running to be a NATO member but it was invaded now when it was not a threat, the threat was in the future.

NATO is becoming ever more belligerent. The threat of war with Russia is becoming more real. Russia sees NATO as a growing threat and responds.

At some point Russia will attack a NATO country, this is ever more likely. World War Three may start then or as it will be a nuclear war where we will all lose, the US may call a stop there.

This is an incredible game of chicken and considering the personalities involved who do not like to lose face, it is weighted more on the side of us all being losers.

Chris Pattison, Richmond.

A real nail-biter

FOLLOWING his early dismissal in the Test match this week the TV cameras followed the England cricket captain Ben Stokes, who seemed to spend several hours munching his way through a complete set of his fingernails.

This doesn’t look like a vote of confidence in the catering at Headingley.

Martin Birtle, Billingham.

Obvious answer

I'M amazed that Northallerton Town Council thought it necessary to conduct a survey to find out if people want public toilets in the town “Plans for public toilets, but location yet to be revealed” (D&S Times, Jun 24).

Libby Harding, Leeming.