Your Letters – Friday June 8, 2018

Another rubbish headline...

Letter of the Week: Paul Young, Batley (Twitter: @BatleyBATs)

Once again, last week, we had a letter from a local resident about the litter and fly-tipping in Kirklees.

This doesn’t surprise me, the state of our streets and parks is an absolute disgrace.

When will Kirklees get to grips with this issue?

Fly-tipping has increased since the new rules were introduced by the council two years ago.

These changes were brought in to save money, but the tidy-up costs, environmental and other knock-on effects (who will look to invest in an area where rubbish regularly lines the streets?) surely outweigh the benefits.  

When residents in Batley have small items of rubble and plasterboard what are they supposed to do?

A trip to the waste site in Dewsbury makes no sense for them financially, so invariably many will hide it in their normal waste bins or resort to fly-tipping where it is already prevalent.  

All this then costs money to clear up, in the meantime causing inconvenience for other residents. 

Neighbouring Leeds and Wakefield seem to have more effective plans and offer a multitude of bins for household, recycling, garden and glass waste. 

Is it time for our council to rethink its strategy?

No problem for Brookes

From: D Hirst, Dewsbury

Your recent headline story is my reason for writing this letter. I first became acquainted with George Brooke in the late 1950s.

I found him to be a simple, hard-working joiner and undertaker, he was a married man with three small children.

For several years I knew him in a professional capacity and found him to be kind, honest and totally dedicated to his job as an undertaker.

My friendship with the family has lasted all these years, and I have seen his three children grow into adults. They followed in their now-deceased father’s footsteps as undertakers.

Their expertise as undertakers is beyond measure and they are widely known to thousands of families for their honesty and kindness.

They have been sadly let down by an employee but it will not, or should not, have any impact on the good name of George Brooke Ltd.

Long may they continue to serve and have no worries that their honest repututation has even been dented. 

Scooters can be a menace

From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike

I’ve seen mobility scooters involved in near-misses, one when an elderly lady, walking on the pavement in Heckmondwike town centre, stopped to look in a shop window.

A man riding on a scooter, much too close to the lady, stopped just in the nick of time, or she could have been quite seriously hurt. 

He then started to yell at her in a loud, aggressive voice.

Are there any rules or regulations covering these scooters? Well to answer my own question, yes there are.

The rider must  have difficulty walking because of an injury or have a physical disability or medical condition, and must be 14 years old to ride Class 3 scooters that can go on the road, but Class 2 can only use the pavement. 

To go on the road they must have efficient brakes, front and rear lights, indicators and reflectors, a rear view mirror, and a horn.

To use a duel carriageway, it also needs an amber flashing light. No licence or tax is needed, and insurance is advised, but not compulsory. 

The top speed for Class 2 scooters is 4mph, and for Class 3 scooters is 8mph.

I find it hard to believe insurance is optional, and surely they should be banned from dual carriageways, although anyone riding on such fast roads would have to be insane.

I have the utmost sympathy for anyone disabled in any way, but the rules need tightening up, as mobility scooters are involved in four crashes every week.

Riding a mobility scooter on the pavement is a danger to pedestrians, likewise, riding on the road is a real danger to scooter users, and very frustrating for other road users.

Short-sighted decisions

From: Ben Marshall, Liversedge 

I see the developers of the previous ridiculous housing plan in Heckmondwike have altered it on a technicality (and no mention of landfill, I see).

I am a professional driver who drives in the area, and we don’t need more traffic chaos. Coincidentally, I see the gas mains are up in that area. That IS just a coincidence I hope, rather than forward planning in lieu of a potentially higher demand from new properties needing utilities?

I am a keen steam buff (yawn – I know!) but having been born after 1965 I have no experience of trains on the Ringway or Greenway, however I feel both have been mothballed with no chance of them ever being used (unlike in the south where many have been reclaimed by Network Rail and historic societies) for their purpose.

In these days of enviromentalism both these tracks could and should have been used for a co-ordinated public transport plan, perhaps alongside a Greenway path, which would reduce pollution and traffic without using more land.

However with short sighted planning decisions leading to dim-witted housing estates on the Greenway and Ringway at Heckmondwike and the A62 by Lillibets, this is never going to happen, so I presume this is an excuse to put more homes on it!

The only thing is with these old lines, aside from the massive original build costs of excavation/bridges etc, is we still pay for the upkeep of them (think St Peg Lane bridge for example, or the viaduct at Horbury Bridge further down the line). Will fat-cat developers pay afterward? Or the public? The Ringway should have some cash spent on it, like the Greenway to make the best of a missed opportunity.

They’ll say ‘owt for a vote

From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge 

I note with some scepticism the oft-used phrase first used by the late Jo Cox in her maiden speech to the House of Commons, “We have more in common...”

Fine sentiments undoubtedly, but like all fine words, living by them is somewhat harder than endlessly trotting them out.

To elaborate.

What an old cynic like me finds somewhat hypocritical, is that the very people who trot out this phrase, are the last to find commonality between themselves and say Trump and his supporters, Jacob Rees Mogg, Brexiteers, closer to home the local Tory Party, forever cursed by the legacy of Thatcher etc. But hey, I suppose that’s politics for you. Say ‘owt for a vote.

More worrying in today’s snowflake culture is the trend to harness words and phrases to shut down debate and criticism of anything the leftie, luvvy, or not so luvvy find remotely unpalatable.

The youth really ought to give social media a rest for a week, and read 1984 by George Orwell. Originally published in 1949, it is a vision of the future when most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and public manipulation.

Ring any bells?

Trade war woe

From: John Appleyard, Liversedge

Donald Trump was pleased when the UK voted ‘out’ in the EU referendum.

As a businessman he saw Europe as a strong contender to US business interests, claiming that the US and the UK had a special relationship, though it has always been on the American president’s terms.

Now he has slapped tariffs on our steel and car industries, which will lead to thousands of job losses in this country.

The EU is the only economy big enough to stand up to Trump and our withdrawal next year leads us into a weaker world position.

The danger of trade wars is that they can get out of hand and lead to military conflict, and as Trump keeps reminding the world his button is bigger than ours.

The Tory government supports the Trump administration, but we the people don’t have to, and we should all now protest and demonstrate at his proposed visit to the UK on July 13.

Far-reaching decision

From: Robert Cowan, Sandal

The implications of President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on British steel and aluminium imports to the USA of 25 and 10 per cent respectively are worryingly far-reaching.

The effects of this imposition on the British steel industry whose employees have shrunk massively for a variety of reasons from 320,000 in 1971 to around 30,000 today cannot be overstated.

In imposing identical tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and other EU countries, at the same time as seriously raising trade tensions with China, Trump believes he is protecting national security interests while merely ‘rebalancing’ US trade with other nations. 

His blatant protectionist trade policies however, are extremely short-sighted and could damage not only the economies of some of his major allies but ultimately that of the US itself.

Yet in typical gung-ho fashion, Trump has used Twitter – an appallingly unstatesmanlike form of communication – to tell the world that ‘the US has been ripped off by other countries for years on trade’.

But surely even this volatile US president should be able to foresee that there will inevitably be ‘tit for tat’ reactions as countries involved retaliate by imposing their own tariffs on US goods.

The major danger is that such measures and counter-measures will cause an escalation resulting in an eventual trade war.

Trump, undeterred by such a possibility, declared, once again on Twitter that ‘trade wars are good’, putting him at odds with practically all prominent economists who firmly believe that such wars present a ‘lose-lose’ scenario which can only result in higher prices and a loss of jobs on both sides.

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