Cyclists are paying for rotten roads

Have your say

From: Paul Alexander Sherwood, South Kilvington, Thirsk.

THE recent correspondence from Miss M Boot (The Yorkshire Post, April 11) regarding her views on cyclists is somewhat disingenuous when it comes to her opinion of financing the road structure.

She states that she pays road fund licence, car insurance, MoT tests, along with fuel costs, and due to this she appears to want a monopoly on road usage. It may come as a surprise to her that so do a lot of cyclists. I pay for having two vehicles on the road, neither of which are getting used when I cycle.

As a cyclist, I feel somewhat aggrieved that not only do I pay in excess of £1,200 per annum in vehicle excise duty and fuel duty for two vehicles, plus I know not what as a percentage of income tax and community charge allegedly allocated to highway maintenance, and yet the roads – especially in North Yorkshire – are unsafe to cycle on.

It is generally unsafe to cycle closer than a metre from the verge due to the appalling condition of collapsed road edges, sunken gully covers all brought about by lack of maintenance over the past decade or more.

Yet North Yorkshire County Council is spending several million pounds on several Swaledale and Wensleydale roads to accommodate a few cyclists on one day in July.

However, she does have a point; I see no reason why cyclists do not pay a third party insurance – providing pedestrians do as well!

the wildlife

From: Robin Arundal, Wolds Barn Owl Group, Butts Lane, Tibthorpe, Driffield.

I NOTE with concern two recent articles in Country Week by David Boulton of Carter Jonas and Dorothy Fairburn of the CLA.

Both draw attention to the removal of the requirement for planning permission to change the use of farm buildings to residential use, as of April 6, and exhort farmers and landowners to take full advantage of this.

While I have no problem with this in principle, I am very concerned that neither writer took the opportunity to remind their readers that such conversions still need to be considered together with the requirements of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The Act requires that where species such as the barn owl, which are protected under Schedule One use the building as a nesting site, the owner of the building must ensure that mitigation measures are undertaken in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time by an experienced licensed person to compensate for the loss of the site. Failure to do this may result in a fine of up to £5,000 and/or six months in prison. Those are the hard facts. However; it should be noted that permission to proceed with conversions will not be denied because of the presence of protected species. Farmers must just ensure that the necessary mitigation work is completed before proceeding.

Dated views can backfire

From: Ian Smith, Colston Close, Bradford.

WHO needs Ukip to entice Tory voters away when, unwittingly, on their behalf there’s grumpy old Bernard Ingham running down the Prime Minister and modern spin doctors (The Yorkshire Post, April 16)?

As one who’s only a few years behind Bernard, who also tends to critically compare today with yesteryear, I suggest he wakes up to the facts – that the Tory party can well do without his dated stories, historical comparisons and his criticisms at this moment.

Move on Bernard, you’re not helping; and that’s from an unlikely Tory (potential Ukip) voter in May.

From: David W. Wright, Uppleby, Easingwold.

TWO current examples of politicians being totally out of touch with reality are William Hague and Alex Salmond.

Our Foreign Secretary is clearly out of his depth on the Ukraine issue as he continues to preach to Vladimir Putin et al as well as telling Syria and other troublespots how to run their affairs (The Yorkshire Post, April 17). Meanwhile closer to home, the Scottish Nationalists continue to peddle their hare-brained ideal of divorce from the UK. David Cameron, our fake Conservative PM, is masquerading as a champion of free enterprise and right of centre politics, but he is clearly a Lib Dem and should come clean and join Clegg and Co as the two parties suffer from the emergence and success of Ukip.

Blame Labour 
for failures

From: Jack Brown, Lamb Lane, Monk Bretton, Barnsley.

BOB Wilson asks why pensioners can’t contribute to fares to save services and Roger Dobson derides Ed Miliband’s hint that he may “renationalise” the railways (The Yorkshire Post, April 12). The two issues are linked by the failure of John Prescott who was given the task of delivering New Labour’s public transport policy.

Prescott was under pressure from the Passenger Transport Authorities (PTA), dominated by Labour local authorities, to return services to them.

He failed to do so and the political backlash was such that Gordon Brown introduced the national free bus travel policy which prevents PTAs from imposing charges.