Letters: To be denied banking services ‘makes mockery of levelling up’

Last week I was unable to carry out a banking transaction in Leyburn as the Post Office, which is housed in the Co-op, was closed due to staffing issues.

Customers were directed to Aysgarth Garage Post Office, which is difficult to access without private transport.

We have no banks in Leyburn so businesses cannot pay in takings or access cash.

People cannot pay bills, receive pensions, send parcels or collect holiday money.

Staff are being recruited on minimum pay – totally derisory when the level of responsibility and complexity is considered. This is apparently Government policy to ensure the service is run as a commercial entity.

Leyburn is our main hub in the Dales. To be denied these services makes a mockery of any talk of “levelling up”.

Jennie White, Leyburn.

Red kite shooting

YET again we see North Yorkshire’s tally of persecution of birds of prey has risen due to the totally unnecessary and illegal shooting of a red kite at Westerdale – “Inquiry into death of rare bird of prey” (D&S Times, June 23).

This bird was found alive so must have been shot in the immediate vicinity as it would not have been able to fly any distance. Is it not time that a law was brought in saying that any dead or injured raptors found on land, the land owners should be held responsible and any legal shooting licences revoked for a year?

Red kites are scavengers and eat carrion so are no threat to game birds.

CP Atkinson, Great Ayton.

Redcar nostalgia

READING the article about the pier at Redcar brought back lovely memories for me – “A pier review from 150 years ago” (D&S Times, June 9).

My dad’s family all lived in Redcar, visiting was a second home for me.

The long queues at Middlesbrough bus station to get there and the same queues to get back home from Redcar bus station, all worthwhile as Redcar was buzzing with holiday makers, the beach with all its amusements, swings, roundabouts, donkeys and jugs of tea for the family, the last cup with sand at the bottom and a boating trip.

Years later, I was working at Clay Lane Iron Works, South Bank and on a Friday when work finished, a quick change of clothes at a friend’s home and off we would all go to Redcar pier to dance the night away, oh the memories.

Two weeks ago my family took me to Saltburn to celebrate my birthday – lovely blue sky and sea and lots of families walking the pier and enjoying special times together.

Time to go home, we went to see Redcar. The promenade, how empty it was and looking so sad, even Pacittos lemon top ice cream, although excellent, didn’t make me happy, no pier, no crowds and Redcar looking so sad.

As we left Redcar I could see in the distance South Gare lighthouse, I smiled as years ago my late husband was one of the last light house keepers before they were all automated.

At last Redcar made me smile again.

Betty McDonald, Northallerton.

Carbon levels

SUE HOLDEN and Alastair Welsh (D&S letters, June 16) both claim that analysis of ice cores show atmospheric carbon was at higher than present levels during geologically recent glacial periods and, by implication, that the current major spike in carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a driver of climate change.

In fact, ice core data indicates that CO2 remained significantly below current levels for at least the last 800,000 years, until impacted by the massive recent increase in greenhouse gas emissions, due mainly to the burning of fossil fuels.

I suggest that Ms Holden and Mr Welsh check the authoritative websites of the Royal Society and the Meteorological Office, not to mention the Antarctic Survey, for confirmation.

Both your correspondents also seem to be under the mistaken impression that reaching net zero carbon targets will result in a catastrophe for plant growth.

These targets are of course not intended to eliminate carbon from the atmosphere but simply to stabilise, then hopefully achieve a gradual reduction, in the current unprecedentedly high and damaging levels of greenhouse gases.

Another of your regular contributors, Mr Trevor Mason, makes reference to the ozone layer, apparently as an example of scientists crying wolf about environmental problems.

The threat of the expanding hole in the ozone layer is, in fact, a brilliant example of scientists and policy makers working together to tackle a major threat to the future of humanity. The Montreal Protocol of 1987, signed up to by more than 140 countries, resulted in the virtual elimination of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from industrial uses (particularly in fridge coolant systems and aerosols).

If CFCs had not been banned, the continued expansion of the ozone hole beyond Antarctica would have had a disastrous effect on the planet’s human, animal and plant life by the middle of this century. The success story on ozone provides some hope that a similar global effort could avert the imminent climate crisis.

Frank Broughton, Brompton on Swale.

Climate change

I AM surprised that so much space is given to deniers of climate change.

The evidence supporting man-made climate change is overwhelming, and the consequences of doing nothing are catastrophic. A recent book, “Here comes the sun”, written by Steve Jones presents the evidence thoroughly.

People used to believe that the earth was flat, that it was the centre of the universe, and that evolution didn’t happen. As Darwin said, “ignorance more frequently breeds confidence than does knowledge”.

Dr Leslie T Kinsman, Leyburn.

Teesside Airport

RECENTLY I was passing Teesside Airport and decided, on the spur of the moment, to drive in and take a look.

After all, as Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has told us, we’ve “got our airport back”. Frankly I wish I had not bothered. The first shock was to find the access road to the airport war memorial behind locked gates.

The memorial oval stands before the former RAF Officers’ Mess and consists of a cairn, memorial garden, Canadian maple trees and the iconic statue of Andrew Mynarski VC.

It is estimated that the ashes of over 100 veterans lie here. The Mynarski statue was paid for by public donations and involved various veterans’ groups and local schools. Peter Barron, former editor of your sister paper The Northern Echo was a prime mover in this process.

The memorial oval is a place of pilgrimage to veterans’ families and others, both from this country and Canada.

It is listed on numerous websites concerning war memorials. Any visitors now will be met by locked gates.

Over 2,000 young aircrew gave their lives, during the Second World War, flying from this place and their sacrifice is commemorated here.

I cannot think of any other war memorial in this country that has been shut off from the public.

I then noticed that the whole site, previously an open area, now had multiple signs threatening motorists with fines of £100, for that most heinous crime of stopping. What a way to welcome customers!

Mr Houchen would do well to redeploy the authoritarian regime responsible for making the place unfriendly, and set them to work attracting holiday flights. After all, that’s what people elected him to do.

There is an interesting parallel to be drawn here. When Boris Johnson “got Brexit done” he announced to all the world that Britain had at last got control of its own borders – but still the boats come. No change there.

Similarly, when the mayor took control of the airport, he told us that we had “got our airport back” – but still Teessiders are trekking to Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds/Bradford for their holiday flights and Teesside Airport with its unwelcoming and threatening signs, has the kerb appeal of a prison camp.

Ian Ferguson, Thornaby.

Time for tea

BREAST Cancer Now’s Afternoon Tea is back this August and I can’t wait to dust off my whisks and stick the kettle on to raise vital funds for Breast Cancer Now. Every ten minutes, someone in the UK hears the words “you have breast cancer”.

Sadly, that’s exactly what happened to my sister Sarah and I when we were both diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Although her initial treatment was successful, in March 2022 tests revealed Sarah had secondary, incurable breast cancer and she died just five months later.

Taking part in Afternoon Tea was my final gift to her. But shortly afterwards, I was given the devastating news that my own breast cancer had spread to my bones, making it the same incurable disease my sister had died from.

Just like Sarah, I’ve experienced the relentlessness of this disease. I also know how vital Breast Cancer Now’s research and support is, which is why I’ll be hosting another Afternoon Tea this year. By joining me, you can raise money that helps provide award-winning health information, fund cutting-edge research projects and give someone like me much-needed reassurance from expert nurses on Breast Cancer Now’s free helpline, which can make all the difference.

So, if you enjoy baking or simply want to raise a cuppa, join me this August by signing up for your free fundraising kit now at breastcancernow.org/cuppa.

Theresa Kelly, on behalf of Breast Cancer Now.

Energy prices

WE are all aware of the decisions of Ofgem which determine the price cap used to calculate energy prices for our homes. A light bit of research reveals that they and therefore their decisions are not at all independent as they claim.

The Ofgem board are all appointed by the Secretary for Energy and looking at the members’ information, there does not appear to be one of them who has ever had difficulty paying a bill.

So basically we have a nationalised energy policy and whilst the prices that Ofgem determine are subject to VAT there is no propensity for the government to promote low energy prices, so we are stuck with high prices folks until maybe a change of government.

Chris Greenwell, Darlington.

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