Green space loss: As a resident of Catterick, I was amazed by the statement made by our local MP and Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, that he "wanted to make sure our green spaces are protected".

Given the sheer volume of housing development in the area, plus, for examples, planning consents for yet more housing, a motorway service station, a garden centre, warehousing etc plus a designer village in construction, his statement appears contradictory to say the very least!

In the recent past, significant urban green spaces have already been destroyed, for example in Richmond, where the Lidl store and car park now stands, was once green space left to the community, and in Catterick, the Aldi car park is built over part of Coronation Park.

Princes Gate obliterates what was the green field of a sports stadium.

Even if green belt land does remains off limits for the time being, the overwhelming evidence is that green spaces everywhere, rural and urban alike, will continue to vanish under concrete at appalling speed.

Susan Chipping, Catterick Garrison.

Jab difficulties

WHY does the NHS seem hell-bent on sending me for a Covid-19 vaccination in the Bradford, Wakefield, Pontefract area of West Yorkshire, all places at least 40 miles from where I live in North Yorkshire?

That is if I am looking for a walk-in centre.

If I am prepared to make an appointment, I can attend one in some inaccessible pharmacy on Teesside or in the Darlington area, invariably at a place without a direct bus service from here.

Some of these are only 12 to 20 miles away, but I would rather not go there.

There seems to be an assumption that everybody drives or owns a car.

This is the second private and confidential letter I've had from the NHS in Bristol this year, either because I'm old or considered vulnerable.

Well, thanks to the Deputy Lead NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, but I'm not sure why she is arranging things in this Byzantine way.

I shall wait and see, crossing my fingers meanwhile.

What baffles me is that there are two doctors' surgeries in Northallerton where I live.

If I happened to be registered with the other one, I could already have had a Covid-19 vaccination from my doctor.

Otherwise, I have to wait or travel for it. It's not quite a postcode lottery, but seems to be a GP one. Can anyone explain please?

Phoebe Newton, Northallerton.

Ultimate blame

IN an interview regarding the Teesworks controversy Simon Clarke stated that for the last 50 years Labour had done nothing for Teesside.

Considering that the Tories have been in charge for 33 years of that time and Labour only 17 years whose party bears most responsibility?

Also, in reply to Nigel Boddy's letter “PFI deal costs” (D&S Times letters, May 19) condemning Labour for the Wynyard hospital fiasco, it needs to be pointed out who was responsible for what.

Yes, New Labour regrettably continued PFI as a policy introduced by John Major.

New Labour used PFI mainly to build new hospitals to replace those that had been run down during the previous 18 years of Tory rule.

Wynyard Hospital was given the go ahead by New Labour but shelved by David Cameron.

The present planning condemned by Nigel Boddy is the responsibility of the present government.

Ian Wilson, Guisborough.

New beginnings

WITH a new logo, new values and promised new behaviours, the first full council meeting of North Yorkshire Council happened last week.

The motion to write to the government asking them to use Proportional Representation (PR) at all levels came back to full council.

It was a meeting that showed poor examples of social behaviour and standards (presumably modelled on that of the Tory party at Westminster).

Since the last time this came to council many of the councillors had had letters from their residents in support of PR, a petition with just under 600 signatures had been given to the chair and there was a small protest outside the building.

Two members of the public and other councillors spoke to the meeting, drawing members' attention to examples where Tory voters had seriously lost out in the May elections because of the first past the post system.

Dr Rosemary Livingstone reminded them that senior Tories were now saying “we ignore PR at our peril”.

Baroness Harris shared the research from the Social Science Research Council showing that from their surveys, over half the population now want proportional representation.

The Tory councillors voted against, even when offered the stamp to send the letter.

One wonders how members are squaring this up with their promised values and behaviours:-

Be inclusive, seek the views of others and respond positively even when there are differences.

Adapt to a changing environment by listening to others.

It was not a proud moment for North Yorkshire. To quote the song: “Things can only get better."

Georgiana Sale, Richmond.

Social media

IN regards to Kevin McStravick’s comment “Social block” (D&S Times letters, May 19).

I found it interesting to find that at least one other concerned voter has been blocked from social media comments in response to a local MP's post.

In my case I was raising what I considered legitimate concerns directly related to a post on Teesside Freeport by Mr Simon Clarke MP.

I quickly found my comment deleted and myself blocked from viewing Mr Clarke's posts and giving comment on them.

John Harrison, Guisborough.

More blocking

KEVIN MCSTRAVICK’S letter brought back painful memories for me, “Social block” (D&S Times letters, May 19), for I too have faced the ignominy of being “blocked” from commenting on a politician’s social media channels.

However, unlike Mr McStravick it is not our MP who has “blocked” me, my censorship comes from the left side of the divide from Jenny Chapman to Lola McEvoy. On this painful journey I have even been “blocked” by “community” pages run by Labour councillors.

This suppression even stretches to Diet Labour, or as they like to call themselves, The Green Party.

No longer can I ask their councillors about the effect Darlington going net zero will have on global CO2 output, my ability to express myself has been curtailed.

What can Mr McStravick and I do?

Must we forever be confined to screaming at Politics North on a Sunday morning?

We refuse to take up the valuable space of the newspaper letters’ pages, where oh where can we turn?

I think I have an answer, the Facebook page “Darlington Politics” is frequented by many Conservative councillors and MPs, let’s get the Labour, Diet Labour and the Lib Dem politicians involved and we can all discuss this exciting time for Darlington, perhaps some journalists will join, you never know, there might be a story for you.

Michael Walker, Darlington.

Fuel addiction

IN your letters page last week, Alastair PG Welsh claims that “cutting (atmospheric) carbon dioxide is folly. Carbon dioxide is plant food”. “Solar farms” (D&S letters, May 19).

No climate scientist would deny the role of carbon dioxide (CO2) in enabling plant growth.

However, the elevated and rapidly increasing level of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere experienced in recent decades is the major contributor to a climate crisis which is already under way and is likely to get catastrophically worse unless we can curb humanity’s addiction to fossil fuels.

To focus on just one issue, surely anyone who has seen news coverage of the disastrous effects of recent forest fires in Australia and the USA can appreciate the scale of the problem we face and the dire need for urgent action.

Frank Broughton, Brompton-on-Swale, Richmond.

Sewerage spills

I READ with interest news that the water industry is, to deal with "overspills" of sewerage with a £10bn investment (D&S Times, May 19).

I am sorry but the problem is not "overspills". I witnessed raw sewerage being dumped in our local river.

There was no rain the previous evening or that morning. These pollution incidents are not caused by "overspills".

Raw sewerage is routinely being dumped in the rivers.

Had I not witnessed this with my own eyes I would not have believed this.

I visited Middlesbrough recently in the neighbourhood of the railway station and police station.

The air was rank with the smell of raw sewerage. Presumably the tide was in.

The case for renationalisation is becoming irrefutable. The water companies are simply not fulfilling their contractual obligations.

Nigel Boddy, Darlington.

Warming planet

WE write in response to the letters from Trevor Mason “We need oil” and Peter Gibson “Protestors” (D&S Times letters, Apr 28).

We note with interest that both are determined to dismiss Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion (XR) as "left wing loonies" and that net zero targets are just a left-wing plot to take power and subvert democracy. We sincerely wish that this was the case.

Unfortunately for all of us the urgent need to achieve net zero reflects the stark reality of physics. Greenhouse gas emissions are causing the planet to heat up and the more emissions the warmer the planet will be.

Already this year Asian countries including India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Laos have seen record breaking temperatures.

This follows the protracted record heatwave seen in China last year. Spain is in the grip of a record-breaking drought with wildfires already burning out of control.

It is clear that the warmer the planet, the more agriculture and our food supplies are under threat.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports state clearly that: “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."

To reach this conclusion 240 scientists reviewed 14,000 scientific papers. They are sure, there is no doubt, human activity is warming the planet.

In the words of Peter Kalmus, US climate scientist: “We scientists have been trying to warn you for decades we’re heading towards a [expletive deleted] catastrophe, and we’ve been ignored. We’re not joking. We’re not lying. We’re not exaggerating."

The International Energy Agency, agree saying that development of any new fossil fuel reserves is not compatible with the survival of our civilisation.

If the Government took action, as they are legally obliged to do under the Climate Change Act, then there would be no need for Just Stop Oil or XR.

Bridget Holmstrom, for Climate Action Stokesley and Villages.

Offline challenges

IN this day and age more and more firms don’t want to know you if you can’t do business online. Like many people of a certain age, I don’t want to use a computer for personal dealings especially when you hear about all the scams that are going about.

Makes you think back to the good old days before computers.

G O Wright, Sadberge.

Philip Schofield

DOES the departure of Philip Schofield from This Morning warrant headlines news on the BBC and ITV?

There are bigger things going on in the world. No doubt in the next few weeks there will be some new quiz or talk show for him to present then everything will be forgotten about.

It's a strange world we live in.

John Brant, Darlington.