Bridge crossings

THE new much delayed Northallerton road and railway bridge is a splendid sight.

It has tarmac, white lines and lights that come on at night.

It has everything, it would seem except pedestrian crossings, but who would want to cross except several hundred Brompton residents including numerous schoolchildren?

Nobody in authority could ever have anticipated that. You never know, in another six to 12 months it might open to traffic.

Dr Jonathan James, Brompton, Northallerton.


THE front page headline “Community divided over solar plans for farmland” (D&S Times, Jul 29) highlights an issue about the level of actual support for the Scruton solar scheme as opposed to more broad support for green energy.

Many of the supporting emails posted on Hambleton’s planning portal are not from local residents and appear in a standard format which is electronically generated.

They are the result of a social media campaign which invites support for the application without providing any details.

This is now common practice for controversial large scale solar farm applications.

Some readers who are Facebook/Instagram users may recently have received postings from Lightrock Power urging them to “help North Yorkshire tackle the climate emergency” by supporting its planning application for Woolpots Solar Farm.

There is almost no further information, but supplying a name, address and pressing the "support" button results in an email to the official planning portal.

Woolpots will cover 246 acres of good agricultural land below Sutton Bank and the White Horse.

It will be an industrial complex containing 155,000-plus solar panels, a two acre electricity substation and battery storage compound, 155 shipping container type buildings, miles of eight foot boundary fencing, prominent security cameras and a network of internal roadways and gates.

The solar complex will be highly visible for miles around and cannot be screened due to the surrounding hills.

The Howardian Hills AONB and North York Moors National Park together with Historic England have lodged strong opposition to the application because of its impact on nationally protected landscapes and neighbouring conservation areas. Local businesses are concerned about the impact on visitor numbers – which will also be a concern for the wider rural economy.

Local MP, Kevin Hollinrake, has spoken out against the use of agricultural land for solar at a time when the country is prioritising food security because of the climate emergency and when the Government is promoting off-shore wind as the preferred renewable energy source.

We are not against solar energy but not at the expense of food security and the loss of unique landscapes which are nationally protected for a reason.

The PR tactics being used by Lightrock to garner support amount to nothing more than "greenwashing".

For further information on this application, please refer to our website

Philip C Hewitson, on behalf of Protect Rural Husthwaite Action Group, Husthwaite.

Food impact

REGARDING the application for yet another solar farm near Scruton, for many, many years our farmers have had to fill in endless forms and keep paperwork about the crops and productivity of their land.

If an application is made to take land out of agricultural use, the planning authority should look at this information and take into consideration how much food comes from that land and where it might come from in the future – and at what cost.

Marion Moverley, Easingwold.

Church plans

LAST Friday our daughter messaged us "isn’t this where Granny and Grandpa are?"

The link to a D&S article described the planning application to convert St Andrew’s Church in Great Fencote into a dwelling – “‘Distasteful’ plan for old churchyard” (D&S Times, Jul 29).

Living a few miles from where my parents lived in Kirkby Fleetham, we were unaware of the application.

After the initial shock, a quick trip to the churchyard confirmed both that their grave is unaffected and the damage that has recently been done to some of the graves.

Both the planning and church authorities seem to have washed their hands of any duty to inform the families of those that were laid to rest at Fencote.

They would probably take more interest in a badger sett or a newt.

We can understand both the need to a find a use for a historic building and the strength of feeling of those whose families are directly affected.

Reviewing the comments on the planning portal there were some constructive ideas to minimise any intrusion from the proposed development.

Thank you to the D&S for publicising this issue.

Geoff Solomon, Danby Wiske, Northallerton.

Post Office woe

I FEEL that I must write about the situation I and my family have encountered at Northallerton Post Office. On Tuesday I queued for 30 minutes to get served and when I left the line waiting was half way down the shop, I dare not guess how long these poor souls had to endure. The same afternoon my wife had the same wait.

Despite all the assurances we had at Christmas, things don't seem to have improved. This cannot go on, something positive must be done.

I feel really sorry for the staff. No wonder the turnover of staff seems so high. They are being asked to do to many varied tasks and since all the banks are shutting the demands have got a lot worse.

Nobody seems to be able to use the self service machines without the staff coming out to help.

In Romanby a shop lies empty. Why? No one seems to know. Post Office management need to reverse the decision to keep it closed and concentrate on W.H. Smiths. That shop just can't handle the demand for all the services they wish to sell.

Please reopen the Romanby shop, the demand locally and town-wide is there and then everybody should be happy.

Andrew Reid, Northallerton.

Cyclist route

ISN’T it time that Darlington Council did something to sort out the mess they have made of Duke Street?

Since the council deemed Duke Street as one way for all, it is almost impossible to find a safe route out of town for a cyclist from the High Row or Skinnergate.

Duke Street is the obvious route, avoiding the main trunk roads, with the option when one gets to Stanhope Road to go in various directions on relatively quiet roads.

The "temporary" red and white barriers serve no purpose. They could be used to create a temporary cycle lane until the council finally gets round to its permanent solution.

Some of us have used it to head out of town, but someone in their wisdom has now closed off the ends. This added to the decision to require cyclists to dismount in Skinnergate, makes one think that someone is trying to make life difficult.

Of course, there will eventually be a cycle lane in Woodland Road, which will be seldom used, as most cyclists prefer to use the side streets, away from the noisy traffic and exhaust fumes.

In the meantime, perhaps the council might find a way to siphon off a tiny portion of the money being spent on Woodland Road and use it to create a temporary solution for cyclists in Duke Street.

Jim Whitton, Darlington.

Rising costs

WE are in a financial catastrophe at the moment, and apparently energy costs are possibly to hit the £4,000 mark this winter if predictions and press are to be believed, child poverty is on the rise, food banks are needed more and yet all the major fuel suppliers are publishing massive profits over a short amount of time.

So how do they explain this profiteering, as I suspect the only ones gaining are the shareholders and the bosses bonuses? Why does the government not do something?

CP Atkinson, Great Ayton.

VAT cut

THE two horse race to become PM is on and Rishi Sunak again appears not to stop and think before making wild statements, the most notable being that he would cut VAT on fuel for one year. Great, absolutely fantastic, he cannot lose on this one he may think.

But sadly he has not thought it out again, for when it comes to the last month of that year fuel sales will go through the roof. Many home garages and garden sheds will be full to capacity with cans of both petrol and diesel, some of which are highly volatile substances just waiting for the smallest of sparks, yes, it may be illegal to store fuel like this but to many, worth the risk to save money.

Should Mr Sunak ever carry out such a VAT cut on fuel for the 12 months in question then perhaps he should think again, his last red diesel blunder is already costing millions of pounds, this one may possibly cost lives.

Trevor Mason, Swainby.

Economic knowledge

MANY people, including Members of Parliament, do not have a sound working knowledge of economics and finance.

The UK is a highly developed, but debt ridden country.

Many politicians and media personnel do not realise this.

UK debt is the third highest in the world after the USA and China.

Using data from UK debt exceeds £2,710bn and is increasing at over £5,000 per second.

At present, the UK is forced to borrow to pay debt interest – imagine having to do that in your own household!

It is not economic sense to cut taxes unless inflation is drastically reduced and controlled, as any benefit will evaporate courtesy of inflation.

Any politician promising immediate tax cuts after the new Conservative Party leader is appointed is living in cloud cuckoo land.

Although many other areas of government are very important, it is essential to reduce inflation and, obviously, the debt burden.

Unfortunately, due to recent events taxation has to be kept high to avoid further debt everyone would like lower taxation.

Debt is the major problem, it needs facing and dealing with.

David Williams, Great Ayton.

Food inflation

READERS will have been horrified to discover food, including staple items, going up in some cases by as much as 100 per cent.

Yes, doubling! Not up by the official rate of nine per cent or the real inflation figure of 11 per cent.

We are witnessing threats to our food security not seen since the Second World War.

Currently the UK is only about 58 per cent food self-sufficient. Fifty per cent of UK cereal production feeds animals and 40 per cent of all production is wasted.

Globally, 250 million people are on the brink of famine. The UN warns that “the spectre of food shortages could last for years”.

Meanwhile City traders, speculators and big food corporations make millions.

One company, Cargill, controls 70 per cent of agricultural trade and four companies collectively have tied up world grain sales.

All the while Britain faces an obesity crisis, fuelled by processed food.

The Food Foundation reveals that high sugar products cost 60 per cent less than fruit and veg, per 1,000 calories.

While this Tory government waters down UK climate and environmental goals we urgently need to reward farmers for more biodiversity, soil fertility and carbon capture.

We need to stop rip-off speculators making obscene profits out of hunger. We need to stop the giant supermarkets exploiting growers.

But is this on the mind of Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer?

C Walker, Darlington.

Life threat

THERE are two issues which threaten to bring an end to human life on this planet. The first issue is climate change.

Climate change is occurring and, if not addressed, will be catastrophic.

It has already killed many people, is currently killing and will kill many more in the future.

Beyond that it is the cause of despair and misery to many more, and many, many more have experienced hardship in its wake.

We can either continue to ignore climate change and accept its continued, accelerating consequences in order to have a good life while we can, or make big personal sacrifices to stand up to it and hope something will appear on the horizon to put it right. Ideally everybody in the world can make those sacrifices.

That’s not likely, but do you want to be among those that do or those that don’t?

The second issue is the threat of nuclear war between Russia and the US.

Both countries know that that event is mad and as a consequence back away from it but at the same time brandish their nuclear capabilities.

The problem is that the UK especially, is increasingly aggressive and may recklessly push the nuclear opponents to the brink; a point where accidents may happen.

Nuclear weapons themselves are mad. Britain has a few of the many which threaten this planet. Do you want to be among the few who want to give them up or do you want to be among the many who share in their madness?

C Pattison, Richmond.