Parking row

STELLA Colley confirms that at a recent meeting with local residents held at the new HQ the police said it is not an offence to park on the pavement (D&S Times, March 9). It is not clear whether this was the meeting to which I referred in a previous letter at which a police officer had said it would be alright as long as space was left for a double buggy or whether this was the more recent meeting and the nonsense had been repeated.

There is no doubt whatsoever that it is illegal to park on footpaths. By asserting it is alright the police were misleading local residents and in the light of subsequent publicity making fools of themselves, particularly in the eyes of serving and retired police officers and others who know the law. In the meantime vehicles have been repeatedly parked on footpaths, including vehicles parked by police staff, and nothing has been done about it.

The position should be clarified. I cannot believe the D&S Times is not read at the police HQ and therefore senior staff there must be aware of this issue aired in your columns for several weeks. It is unacceptable for police officers to mislead the public, not least given the inaccurate assertions were made at meetings presumably intended to deal with the concerns of residents suffering the chaos recently imposed on them.

The chief constable or one of his fellow chief officers should write to you either attempting to explain why I am wrong about this or accepting it is indeed illegal and explaining both why residents were misled and what is to be done about it. The disabled and mothers with prams should not be put in danger because police staff commit offences and no action is taken.

I understand that last week a meeting to discuss parking was held at the Allerton Court Hotel attended by representatives of the county and district councils, the hospital, the fire brigade and the police. It was not publicised in advance and it was not reported in your columns afterwards. I am told no solution was agreed.

Your readers will not be surprised to learn that yet again the PCC was not present at this important meeting. Her repeated disdain about resolving the parking problems she has caused matches that of the force itself about dealing with offences committed by its own staff.

David Severs, retd chief superintendent, Northallerton

Grave risk

IS history repeating itself? I was interested to read Chris Purser's letter in last week's D&ST on the subject of the Sowerby Gate development and the lack of provision of affordable homes in the development.

There is a grave risk that there will be a similarly disappointing outcome in the North Northallerton development.

Hambleton District Council sets a target of 40 per cent affordable housing within such schemes in Bedale, Northallerton and Thirsk and 50 per cent in Easingwold and Stokesley.

However, the actual provision is subject to negotiations and in particular the "viability assessment" which allows for a reduction in the target if the developer cannot make a 20 per cent profit on the scheme.

As a result of this, the actual target in the important North Northallerton development has been reduced to 13.4 per cent. In phase one, no affordable housing has been included and there is every possibility that the 13 per cent figure will not be achieved in subsequent phases.

Our local councillors need to be resolute in resisting profit being made a priority before homes and Mrs May must follow through on her recent statement on the provision of affordable homes.

Charmian Walter, Brompton

Wake up

REFERRING to Peter Williams letter (D&S Times, March 2) - due to the snow storms the National Grid announced demand for gas was outstripping supply and there was a danger the UK would run out of gas.

This should be a massive wake up call to all the anti-fracking tree hugging snowflakes. Their hysterical screams that fracking causes earthquakes, water pollution, air pollution are ludicrous. These uninformed opinions are based on the events in the USA when 60 years ago fracking took off in a “wild west” stampede and was not regulated, hence all kinds of problems ensued.

By 2010 60 per cent of new oil/gas wells worldwide were fracked. By 2015 40 per cent of UK gas came from the North and Irish Seas. The rest came from Russia (via Holland, Belgium), Norway, Qatar, Nigeria, Algeria and Trinidad. The latter four supplying liquified gas. By 2030 75 per cent of UK gas will be imported. Now when evaluating the political stability of some of the countries above only a fool or a Corbyn supporter would have confidence in our long-term gas supplies.

Eighty per cent of UK homes are heated by gas which equates to 40 per cent of total UK gas usage. The rest is used in industry for making, steel, glass, bricks, chemicals, fertilisers, cement, ceramics, paper and food products to name but a few. It is estimated that the UK has gas reserves for 25 years, so to sustain our industries with a competitive edge and heat our homes we need every cubic inch of shale gas.

Mr Williams claim that the generating costs of offshore wind farms has plummeted could not be further from the truth. There is not one commercial wind farm operating without Government (aka tax payer) subsidies. It is unlikely that renewable energy will supply more than 12 per cent of our needs.

The Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society and Public Health England have carried out studies on fracking and all of these distinguished bodies have concluded that there is no danger to the environment providing strict regulation is enforced during exploration, production and reinstatement. In this respect the Oil and Gas Authority, in conjunction with the HSE, issues strict regulation for all fracking activities. The Regulatory Road Map covers protection of ground water (aquifers), treatment of drilling waste water, flared gas to the environment and treatment of any radioactive material.

If the tree hugging snowflakes had been active 250 years ago there would have been no coalfields in the UK, then no Industrial Revolution then no Great Britain.

Trevor Nicholson, Leeming

Prison drugs

WITH reference to the article ‘Nurse tells of prison drug issue at inquest’ (D&S Times, March 2) - it is apparent from the evidence given at the inquest touching the death of Mr Abel that the unlawful use of drugs has long been a problem in our prisons.

If, as a society, we are going to take away someone’s liberty then we should at least do so in an environment that is safe both for inmates and staff.

I am not advocating a soft system, just one that is decent and fit for purpose.

The bottom line of the article states “A jury reached a verdict of suicide” which although accurate should be a starting point and not the last word.

Timothy Wood, Guisborough.

Reducing crime

I CANNOT agree with the common view that, to reduce crime, we need harsher and longer sentences.

This was the system at the beginning of the 19th-century, when crime was at far higher levels than today.

In the 1820s, the Home Secretary, Robert Peel, started inspecting prisons on humanitarian grounds. This was an attempt to make prison a place of reform, rather than deterrence, for Peel realised that the harsher the conditions and the longer the sentences, the less chance there was that criminals would change their ways.

Peel also knew that crime was not reduced by the severity of punishment, but by the certainty of arrest. In 1829, he created the Metropolitan Police for London. It was England’s first regular police force, with 3,000 paid constables, known as "Peelers", or "Bobbies". They were so effective that Peel’s model soon spread throughout the land.

Human nature hasn’t changed since Peel’s times and we still need plenty of bobbies on the beat. As far as prisons are concerned, there should be an element of deterrence. But a prison’s main purpose should be to help criminals return to the straight and narrow, not to brutalise them.

Cllr Steve Kay, Moorsholm

Litter shame

A NUMBER of years ago North Yorkshire, supposedly, became the “Garden of England” - lifting the crown from Kent, which had held the title since Adam was a lad. But does it deserve the title now? Most certainly not!

Take a look next time you drive along our country roads and lanes and you'll find them heavily strewn with all manner of litter, much of which is plastic and in many cases recyclable. It's disgusting.

And if you are one of those people who sees fit to throw rubbish from your vehicle, rather than dispose of it correctly, then shame on you.

Our cash-strapped councils have better things to do with our rate money than clear up your mess. Trying to maintain a library service, providing care for the vulnerable and a decent education for the next generation to name but a few.

John Elm, Northallerton

Comic great

I WAS saddened by the news of the death of Sir Ken Dodd, he was the last of the great British comedians whose shows you could go to with your gran and be certain you would never be embarrassed.

One of his trademarks was his over-running, but he may find it difficult to over run this appearance.

I wonder if he will be buried with his tickling stick?

Condolences to your wife and rest in peace Doddy. I doubt if ever we see your like again.

Terence Fineran, Darlington

Snow thanks

THE recent snow and extreme weather conditions brought a very challenging period for all, and it’s no secret that to keep businesses in operation in our remote area, was tough.

Now that the weather has settled, I wanted to write to thank all those involved with helping to keep the Wensleydale Creamery running as smoothly as possible. Without the hard work, resilience and cooperation of our local community, dedicated farmer group and milk tanker drivers, and of course our team at the Creamery, when the snow and freezing temperature hit, we simply couldn’t have continued to run our business and make cheese.

The snowfall caused disruptions to milk collections, and we saw some great acts of teamwork to help transport the milk to the Creamery. With our whey plant frozen and unable to process whey, our silos were full, and we enlisted the trusty help of Metcalfe Farms to tanker our whey out.

For me, although challenging, the recent weather conditions proved a perfect example of the true Yorkshire community spirit, with those working in our deeply rural area, really pulling together to get the job done.

We are most definitely Yorkshire through and through, and we’re very proud to be part of a community with such positive force. Our customers and consumers can rest assured that we can be relied upon to keep producing great quality dairy products, for them to enjoy, even throughout such testing times.

David Hartley, MD - The Wensleydale Creamery

More thanks

AFTER the recent appalling weather, I do think a few “thank you's” are due.

For example our milkman has still managed his deliveries somehow in the night, our “older” paperboy still brought our papers about 7.30am in the morning (a lovely man who also posts letters etc., for people on his round, I hear).

The bin men, still getting round with, I’m sure, some tricky manoeuvres needed especially on the ungritted roads, but always with a smile and a wave.

Also, everyday we’ve had our post delivered – with a smile and woolly hats.

Thanks everybody – you are all much appreciated.

Betty Woodhams, Sowerby

Time for change?

I AM definitely not a fan of Shameless actress Tina Malone, who has been reported as retweeting a picture said to be of James Bulger’s killer Jon Venables.

But if she was the one telling the public who Venables is under his new ID then she deserves some good publicity for a change. What’s the point of having law and order if it doesn’t give justice?

Venables is still a danger to the public, yet the taxpayer is being forced to pay for his new identities, and his “rehabilitation”. Time and time again we see freed offenders re-offending. For some it’s obviously a lifestyle and it is about time the law was amended to make sure these offenders are not released, or released early.

If our laws are not doing what they are supposed to do then we need to change them. The same with judges, if they cannot give a required sentence due to the current law then they should be actively working to change it.

Keith Howdle, Darlington