Scotch Corner: Residents of villages in the Scotch Corner area, especially Middleton Tyas, and motorists like myself who use the roundabout on a regular basis, are subject to almost daily chaos and enormous frustration at often long delays.

The traffic lights are being blamed by some including National Highways for this but the bottom line is that the roundabout cannot cope with the volume of traffic using it.

We have seven live planning applications in the immediate area and they are projected to give a 30 per cent increase in traffic if they go to completion. This is a frightening statistic.

Various modifications to the roundabout are proposed by National Highways as part of the A66 upgrade which is to commence next year.

This is all well and good but what of the predicament now?

When the recent planning application for ten acres of storage units on the south side of the hotel was heard, National Highways had no comment to make regarding the projected increase in traffic from this application.

Indeed their only contribution to the problem has been to put a number of signs round the roundabout apologising for delays and thanking everyone for their patience.

I asked the Executive Member for NY Highways last week for his view of the problem and what could be done from the council’s point of view, given that National Highways appear to have a very disinterested approach.

His reply was: “We believe there is an increasing need for us to take a higher strategic approach to the location, so we have asked for a Cumulative Transport Assessment to be prepared so that the impact of all phases of the development at Scotch Corner can be considered.”

We all look forward to this and the fact that the council will be using the emerging NY local plan as a further opportunity to ensure acceptable traffic impacts resulting from development at Scotch Corner.

I am assured by Keane Duncan, the Executive Member for Highways, that he will use a forthcoming meeting with national Highways to discuss the Scotch Corner location.

In the meantime the delays and frustration will continue.

As I said in a recent planning meeting: “If we are not careful Scotch Corner will be well named as North Yorkshire’s biggest car park.”

I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to that.

Angus Thompson, North Yorkshire Councillor for North Richmondshire.

Not alone

PHOEBE NEWTON is not alone in questioning why she is expected to travel long distances by bus to have her current Covid-19 jab, “Jab difficulties” (D&S Times letters, May 26).

I am currently having a conversation with NHS England about this very issue.

Leyburn has population of about 2,700 including a far higher proportion of elderly residents than surrounding towns and villages.

Yet, we are expected to get ourselves 31 miles to Cottingley to a walk-in centre (not possible by public transport) or go on a 34-mile round trip to Hawes, right at the head of Wensleydale.

I recently chose the latter option and went on the volunteer driven mini bus.

When I got to the chemist's shop in Hawes there were already six people sitting in the shop waiting for their jab.

I pointed out that my return bus to Leyburn left in three quarters of an hour.

As time ticked by I said I would have to get that bus, jabbed or otherwise, as the one after that wasn't for three hours.

Two people kindly allowed me to jump the queue. Thank you again to them.

On the bus back I talked to two elderly women who didn't drive and were out for the day by bus. They lived in Romanby which is within spitting distance of the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton. They had been instructed to go to Thirsk – again, some distance away.

I now realise that these directives are coming from NHS England based in York.

The staff appear to have no comprehension of just how difficult it is to get anywhere by public transport in this rural area.

We have a surgery in Leyburn which deals very efficiently with the annual flu jabs.

Why has NHS England decided to send us to a cupboard in the back of a chemist's shop in Hawes instead of using a much better, more accessible facility in the town?

At the moment it is people over 75 who are being called to have the jab.

If there isn't a more sensible venue on offer, getting to Hawes, should we have a bad winter and need a further Covid jab, could prove far more difficult.

I'm beginning to think that those who choose these places just put a pin in the map to decide where we go.

There appears to be no logic or common sense involved. Please enlighten me if I am wrong.

Sheila Simms, Leyburn.

Oil demand

IN the Sixties we were told that oil would run out in ten years. In the Seventies we were told another ice age was approaching. In the Eighties we were told many people would not survive because of the impending acid rain, few crops would grow. In the Nineties we were told the ozone layer would soon disappear. In 2000 we were told the ice caps were melting.

However none of these predictions by the so-called experts and politicians happened, but all resulted in higher taxes for those of us who worked.

The Government is now targeting net zero by 2050. I am willing to bet they dare not open a book on its success.

So, to whom it may concern as the old adage goes, "they" can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but no matter how hard "they" try, "they" cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

As for the ban oil brigade, to do so then we would all starve as in a very short time food would run out.

Oil is needed to work land and harvest crops and is also needed to transport goods and produce. Every single piece of machinery needs oil and grease for lubrication including electric vehicles, oil is also required to heat thousands of rural homes.

So before getting on your soapbox as most of us like to do, think through the pros and cons to ensure you get it right.

Trevor Mason, Swainby.

Executive power

I READ the article by Thomas Barrett with interest “Greens say Conservatives putting politics before climate” (D&S Times, May 26).

I noted that the Green group on the new North Yorkshire Council (NYC) want “a new politics” which involves more collaboration between politicians of different hues in seeking and implementing solutions to address climate change.

My perception as a citizen is that much of the British public want “a new politics” too: one where issues being faced by the public are the priority concern of a representative government that works for lasting solutions with all who have an interest in the outcome.

I don’t see any sign of this at NYC.

I felt moved to write because the reporter claims that, on NYC, the Conservatives are “far-and-away the largest party”. I think this is misleading.

The Conservatives are the largest political grouping on the council but they have an overall majority of two and got 41.2 per cent of the popular vote in the 2022 elections.

There are many parties represented on NYC at full council level – Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour, Greens, Independents.

However the Executive of the council, which the NYC website tells us is “the leader and nine other councillors” that “makes most decisions”, contains only members of Conservative group.

They have all nominated and voted for each other.

This is neither representative or democratic since “most decisions” are being made by a closed group. One, we learn elsewhere in your paper, that will resort to physical restraint of any member of their group who might break ranks “Apology after voting incident at meeting” (D&S Times, May 26).

It certainly isn’t anything like "new politics".

The Conservative Party is now nationally unpopular, not least because of its persistent focus on itself rather than the nation’s interest.

The national party is starting to consider new ways of doing things, which they must do, if they want to retain any hope of a decent showing in the next general election.

NYC councillors would do well to consider too, as their current conduct is equally introspective.

They have closed the door on proportional representation, rejected co-operative working and dominated through disrespectful behaviour, all in one meeting.

That’s not fit for the 21st Century, and I wonder if it could be seen as fit for the 20th. It’s more like something from the Tudor court.

As a citizen, I could not be more disappointed.

Kathryn Streatfield, Richmond.

Trust turnaround

REGARDING Stuart Arnold's report “Major turnaround for hospital trust” (D&S Times, May 26) on the CEO’s remarkable turnaround of the status of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who knew things had got so bad?

Congratulations Sue Page. How did you do it?

I do hope that the centralisation of GP referrals for diagnostic tests that now causes long delays for patients to receive appointments is not one of the measures taken?

I can see the fast tracking for potential cancer diagnosis would make big indents into “improved care need”.

Is this at the detriment of normal GP practice?

For example should someone be fast tracked for a CT scan, have a problem identified then be moved off the “urgent” list?

The slow track is where patients are re-referred for outpatients consultation and they wait without definitive diagnosis for a long time. Is this good practice?

Certainly I know that appointment centralisation can result in inappropriate appointments being made miles away from the patient and virtually inaccessible to the elderly. (The appointments clerk need a geography degree to deal with patients over such a wide area.)

GPs do not refer patients for other scans for no reason, a six week wait for an appointment resulting in the offer of a three hour round trip for ten minutes is inappropriate for the elderly/infirm.

A letter saying “you have an appointment at an appropriate hospital no one knows when but if you have not heard in six weeks’ time phone that hospital” is not helpful to anyone.

Perhaps Ms Page would be better advised to write to all GPs asking them not to refer for diagnostic tests and advising them to reassure all patients “you will be seen at A&E if/when your problem becomes acute”.

But well done Ms Page, you are improving things.

Barbara Gardner, Bainbridge, Leyburn.

Honours list

IT is rumoured that Boris Johnson's resignation honours list is to be published soon.

Amidst the on-going controversies associated with the former prime minister this would be an apt occasion for Rishi Sunak to demonstrate the values of accountability and integrity he said would characterise his term in office.

Mr Sunak has the power and authority to intervene decisively in this matter and to signal clearly his values as a politician and a leader.

A man of integrity would recognise the shallow nature of Mr Johnson's much leaked list with its cohort of sycophants, sharp-elbowed placemen and self-seeking party donors.

The list on this occasion should be severely pruned or nullified completely.

Failure to do so would make Mr Sunak complicit to an abuse of position and would taint his own brand by association.

I await with interest the Prime Minister's response.

Gus Pennington, Stokesley.

Wildlife sensitivities

I’M writing to alert dog owners to the danger that their pets may cause to nesting birds at this crucial time of year.

While walking at the weekend along the River Swale at Reeth, I witnessed a couple walking with their dog off the leash on the shingle beach near the swing bridge.

Two oystercatchers were calling in obvious alarm and mobbing the dog in defence of their nest. The dog's owners seemed oblivious to the disturbance that their pet was causing.

Could all dog owners when out in our beautiful countryside be mindful of the damage that their pets may cause to our endangered bird life and keep their dogs on a short lead when walking in wildlife-sensitive areas.

Petra Lloyd, Croft-on-Tees.