Are we really winning the war on British road deaths?

From: Allan Ramsay, Radcliffe Moor Road, Radcliffe. AMID all the grief of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the wars against gun crime and knife crime, it's good to see that we are at last seeing a winning trend in the war against "terrorist" drivers. But it's not exactly something to celebrate. Indeed, it's pretty shameful is it not that it's taken so long to get a reduction in road casualties?

The first person to be killed by a motor vehicle was pedestrian Bridget Driscol, way back in 1896. Since then, more than 30 million people have been killed or seriously injured on UK

roads.

Some will have brought it on themselves by being so disrespectful of the Highway Code, but you can be sure that most will have been totally innocent – children, cyclists, horse riders, pedestrians and passengers.

So for their sake the question is: will the winning trend continue, or is it just a blip?

Whatever, figures on paper can always be made to look better than what the situation actually is. As a cyclist I will get little confidence from this casualty reduction, for every time I go out on my bicycle (which, because of the price of petrol, and other rising costs, I'm having to do more and more, even in the pouring rain) I see disturbingly huge numbers of drivers ignoring the mobile phone ban. All potential killers are they not?

The worst of them are the texters. Not even looking where they're going - head tilting forward, eyes and brain totally engrossed in anything and everything other than safe and responsible driving.

Anyone who cycles on the road will regularly be in the firing line of these brain-dead "terrorists". Is it any wonder then that we get cyclists on pavements?

Is it any wonder that millions of grown-ups won't cycle and won't let their children cycle? So what chance the wars on congestion and carbon reduction?

What we need now, especially with record oil prices making cycling a necessity for many, is much tougher penalties for drivers who ignore the mobile phone ban. Let's also see the Government recognise

motor vehicles and mobile phones for the potential instruments of death that they are, and as with knives and guns, let's see them confiscated when they are used other than in accordance with the rules of the road.

Aren't untaxed vehicles confiscated? Does a vehicle without a tax disc make it any more of a killer than a vehicle driven at excessive speed or by a 'mobile menace', or under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

People enjoy moor without spilling blood

From: Jim Davenport, Chapel Row, Copt Hewick, Ripon.

SO Michael Booth (Yorkshire Post, June 28) believes that the difference between grouse shooters and the rest of the users of Ilkley Moor is that the shooters will be making a financial contribution to Bradford Council.

Presumably then, the walkers, orienteers, climbers, cyclists, bird-watchers, nature lovers, photographers and picnickers that were out enjoying the moors this weekend are all non taxpayers.

No, Mr Booth, the real difference is that all these disparate groups were enjoying the moor and tolerating each other in a morally and socially acceptable manner.

Blasting birds out of the sky for some sort of sadistic pleasure by a few bloodthirsty bully boys probably does not fit very comfortably into the mind set of other moor users. That is the real difference, Mr Booth.

Soundbites aren't enough to change the airport

From: Michael Ross, Weeton Lane, Dunkeswick, North Yorkshire.

YOUR article about improvements to Leeds Bradford Airport (Yorkshire Post, July 1), and accompanying quotes from Tony Hallwood, would be of some interest if we had not heard it all before, and more, for

the last 40 years to my knowledge.

I don't know what Mr Hallwood has been doing in the two months since his recent installation as Commercial and Aviation Development Director at LBA, but he has certainly not researched any of the history.

Had he done so, he would realise most Yorkshire folk are not so stupid as to be taken in by his "give Yorkshire an airport it can be proud of'" and "fast growing, in the top 10 per cent of UK airports" etc, etc.

These are only soundbites used where there is very little else to say.

If, however, they want to attract the business community, and the major airlines, then they have to make radical changes starting with the Mickey Mouse culture that pervades the whole place.

The owners of LBA have some major decisions to make. The first one might be to take the "International" out of its title. Any airport that feels it needs "International" in its title obviously is not, unless of course it has a separate domestic one elsewhere.The experts who can tell us nothing

From: RC Curry, Adel Grange Close, Leeds.

TOM Richmond (Yorkshire Post, June 28) hit the nail on the head with his comments about advisors and their reasons for poor behaviour amongst the young.

The expression about "the devil making work for idle hands" is absolutely true with young people.

Why it should need the expenditure of any money at all to indulge in research to substantiate this well known fact is a mystery.

The phrase "the experts say" is frequently followed by no more than the common sense observations of many ordinary citizens garnered from practical experience over the years.

It does not need an expert to say that expenditure on wasted initiatives instigated by this government in the last 11 years must be a record for any administration in the last century.

The hand on the tiller has been "Prudence" Brown, who has so cash strapped the economy while Chancellor that as Prime Minister he is unable to take measures to alleviate the serious problems now arising due to global pressures.

An expert would say that he has made an absolute mess of the job. The common sense citizens in this case would agree.

The top priorities

From: John Healey MP, Local Government Minister.

JAYNE Dowle's article ("I'm paying my council tax, but what do I get in return?", Yorkshire Post, July 3) wrongly implies new local priorities do not tackle local people's top concerns when the opposite is true. Priorities are not imposed by central government. They have been set by councils and the agencies that work with them.

This means that their top priorities are clearer to local residents and local residents can be clearer about the improvements that councils want to see for their area. And it means that councils will have to report on progress more clearly to the public.

These priorities councils have picked reflect local people's concerns. Across Yorkshire, these include some of the basics councils must get right, like lowering crime, cleaning up the streets, and delivering effective refuse collections.

Sweet successes

From: Liz Bastone, British Soft Drinks Association.

FOLLOWING your article "Wrong sugar blamed for fuelling obesity epidemic" (Yorkshire Post, June 26), I would like to highlight a number of issues not considered in the reports on this research.

Firstly, the level of fructose consumed by the adults taking part in the study was far higher than anyone could actually consume on a day to day basis. It also exceeded official recommendations for the quantity of sugar in the diet.

Secondly, people need not be concerned about the claims made in your article about high fructose corn syrup. This ingredient is used in a very small minority of soft drinks in the UK, and even when used, contains only slightly more fructose than ordinary sugar. So, even if the claims made about fructose in this research were valid, (which they aren't) the ingredients used in soft drinks are not a factor.

Fruit juice and smoothies are an excellent way of consuming one of the recommended daily portions of fruit and vegetables so far from deterring people to drink fruit juice we should be encouraging them to do so as part of a balanced diet and healthy active lifestyle.

Subjects at the synod

From: Roy Thompson, Member of Synod, Diocese of York.

I UNDERSTAND perfectly the points made by Michael Brown in his General Synod article (Yorkshire Post, July 1).

For balance, I would point out that my own Private Members' Motion attracted more signatures at the close of February's synod. So the Business Committee was bound to invite me to lead a debate on my motion, rather than Paul Eddy's, if they were to follow normal practice and Standing Orders.

Paul has conducted a campaign through the press to make the point that he was unfairly treated, as he is perfectly entitled to do. All I am doing is pointing out that Michael Brown does me less credit than is due when he pushes for second place to be elevated against the "rules".

My motion on church tourism is bland, and non-controversial, and entirely suited for its Sunday afternoon slot, especially in a weekend likely to be politically "hot". Mr Eddy will then be able, if he still has most signatures in February, to bring his interesting motion to Synod.

Home truths for MPs

From: Alan Carcas, Cornmill Lane, Liversedge, West Yorkshire.

WILL somebody please explain to me why any MP whose constituency is within reasonable commuting distance from Westminster, should need a second home (Yorkshire Post, July 4)?

They rarely work beyond 7pm these days, and increasingly, important votes are held at 6pm. All-night sittings? Don't make me laugh!

Commuting is a way of life, essential, for millions of their constituents.

Why not for MPs? They don't work any harder than most people I know in business, or on the shop, factory, or office floor, and get longer holidays.

A sensible allowance for a second home for those whose constituency is far away is right, as is allowances for maintaining it, but at least a proportion of the profit made from it should be returned to the taxpayers who funded it. But there is abuse by the minority, which is making it difficult for those who need that support.

Perhaps selection committees should do a more thorough job in

assessing the candidates before them when the next selection comes round. In the meantime, David Cameron should crack the whip –

hard! Gordon Brown won't have the bottle.

Irish stance on Europe

From: P Arber, Leeds.

RICHARD Corbett (Yorkshire Post, June 20) is closer to the truth than most Eurosceptics might like to admit.

His suggestion that Ireland and other member states might try and find a compromise was attacked by some correspondents, but in fact this is the position which most closely reflects the current consensus in Ireland.

Following the referendum, 76 per cent of 'no' voters said they would be happy for the Irish government to renegotiate exceptions within the treaty while 89 per cent of people

(both yes and no voters) supported Ireland's membership of the EU.

This suggests that the people of Ireland still understand the importance of the EU but are determined to have a greater input in shaping its future.

Eating meat

From: June Frais, Cavendish Mews, Leeds.

IN reply to Eileen Jones's flippant article on her change of attitude towards vegetarianism (Yorkshire Post, July 2) I strongly doubt that eating red meat has no digestive consequences.

I am surprised that her sports therapist would encourage her to eat bacon butties with no concern to the future condition of her general health but especially her heart.

Her final foolish point that someone has to eat them, ie the lambs, so it might as well be her, that has to be for her conscience to decide.

NHS policy

From: DW Downs, Mountbatten Avenue, Sandal, Wakefield.

WHILE I welcome most of Alan Johnson's proposed changes to the NHS, they are arguably poached from the Opposition.

I do not agree to the reduction of finances to ill performing hospital trusts; this only penalises the patients and not the poor management/

authority.

The only sure way of keeping up standards is to completely replace the non-performing management and the Minister in charge if necessary.

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