Readers’ letters - October 25

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We must resist the domination of the car

All the research shows that the more roads you build and the wider you make them, with additional lanes, the more traffic expands to fill them. It produces a constant game of catch-up in which Tarmac is the only winner.

We also know from research findings that the car is bad for all our health, bad for the individuals who are driving rather than walking or cycling, and for the rest of us who are breathing in the exhaust fumes. Car pollution is not visible like the 1950s smogs, but the polluting effects are just as serious for the health of the whole community.

Buses are badly coordinated and expensive.

I have been to many US cities and the most successful are those that have controlled their cars, expanded their public transport and opened up green spaces in the heart of their city.

I lived a year in Portland (Oregon), regularly voted the most liveable US city.

The car is virtually absent from the downtown, which is served by a free bus service. The central square used to be a giant car park, but now it is a vibrant public space with culture and commerce thriving. This in a city whose downtown used to be skid row.

The citizens of Portland voted to tear down the freeway and flyovers that dominated the river front and convert it into a linear park of several miles. This park now hosts festivals and other outdoor events, criss-crossed by paths and cycle ways, and is always busy with families enjoying what was once a noisy, fuming strip of tarmac. Conversely, cities like Los Angeles have pretty much abandoned their downtown area as the vested automobile interests long ago killed off the public transport system, but LA is one big parking lot, because the more freeways and fly-overs that they built, the more traffic increased to clog them.

As long as cities are places to visit and not to drive through, we must resist the domination of the car.

It is literally killing us.

Mark Doel

Address supplied


EU saga’s like

a soap opera

Well, it was hardly worth the wait, was it, for Theresa May’s much-vaunted address to the other 27 EU nations? Our Prime Minister went over to Brussels wearing her ‘kitten-heel’ shoes to try and inject life into the stalled EU negotiations. We were led to believe that there would be a new energy and purpose, but what did we actually get ?

There were the usual insincere handshakes and predictable statements as both sides pronounced that progress had been made, but not enough to discuss trade, and so the next round of talks would resume in December. Is this their definition of progress? So where are we now, 16 months on from EU referendum? Apart from triggering Article 50, we are no further forward.

This is becoming like a soap opera as, week after week, we hear the same old bilge. This was supposed to be an important process that would shape Britain’s destiny in a world without the EU. All we have had are unreasonable demands as the EU struts around like the beach bully, kicking sand in our faces.

Michel Barnier demands a ‘divorce’ bill that Britain is not legally obliged to pay and deals with the British protests with a Gallic shrug of his shoulders as he says “Non!” How much longer will we have to put with this intransigence? It would be in the best interests for Britain and the EU to reach a sensible deal, that is beneficial and reasonable for both sides.

But we are not dealing with reasonable people.

How can we possibly negotiate when we are not even allowed to say no?

No deal would not be the end of world for Britain, nor would it be anywhere near as bad as what Barnier and his cohorts are offering.

One more thing, what was Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer doing in Brussels?

No doubt trying to influence affairs that are no concern of theirs.

This is the real Labour position on Europe!

Treachery and Treason with a capital T, as they connive with Brussels.

This is not what more than 17 million people voted for last year.

Theresa May has a task to complete. It is time she asserted herself by stomping those kitten-heeled shoes on the EU and on some of the more treacherous members in her cabinet.

Enough is enough.

Time to walk away now, before it is too late. If the EU won’t talk, then Britain has to walk !

Will Heyes

via email


Driving age ban won’t work

In reply to Name and address supplied (Cut number of drivers on road, LP Letters,

October 19). Does this person not realise that, by the age of 25, many young people have served apprenticeships in the motor industry, for instance as mechanics, panel beaters. auto electricians, car salesmen etc. How do you propose they get to work? This is just one example.

Look at the ages of our modern day paramedics, firefighters and police force.

None of these people would be able to pursue their profession to the full until they were 25 years old.

There are also men as well as women in these jobs, so someone must have taught them to drive in the first place! Do you personally drive a car? And if so, do you always fill it to capacity?

Also, it is of no concern to anyone else but the driver, whatever age, how they fund the purchase, maintenance and insure their vehicle.

You didn’t state your age, so maybe there should be a cut-off at the other end of the scale, giving younger people more space on the roads. If that being the case, maybe, at 71, I should be travelling by public transport. Unfortunately the bus service is diminished in my area!

Alan Heaton,



N-word just unacceptable

I have been waiting in vain for a complaint about the Graham Norton show (October 6),when Chris Rock used the N-word. On the sofa was Idris Elba,who laughed his socks off. Graham also rocked around laughing.

Why is it acceptable for this chap to use that word? I assume that because he is a famous black comedian it’s so funny. We need to move on. Nobody should use this. We cannot pick and choose who is able to say this. Why didn’t the BBC edit it out?

Gary Speck

Address supplied