November 27: Future infrastructure plans must address climate change

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From: Chris Broome, Hackthorn Road, Sheffield.

LORD Adonis has ambitious plans for new roads and railways between Northern cities (The Yorkshire Post, November 17). These will all be long term projects that need to be right for the future.

In particular, they should fit in with an overall economic plan that recognises the need to address climate change. When the Government consulted last year on a national programme of new roads, it was decided that the extra emissions that would result could be ignored because they would be within 0.1 per cent of all those for the entire country. That may not sound much until you consider that transport emissions need to be considerably reduced over time. That will mean taking measures such as introducing low-emission vehicles but also a halt to the constant increase in traffic.

When the Public Accounts Committee considered the case for spending £50bn on HS2, they concluded it was based on “fragile numbers, out-of-date data and assumptions that do not reflect real life”. The same could be said about the environmental case. This was based on the decarbonisation of the electricity supply to a level that now appears unachievable.

I wonder if Lord Adonis read the headline “Fresh storm warning after floods disrupt road and railway travel” in The Yorkshire Post the same day. I suspect its significance would have been lost on him. We do need more infrastructure but of the kind that enables us to live well and sustainably.

From: James Bovington, Church Grove, Horsforth, Leeds.

FOR the sake of my health and my wife’s sanity, I have largely been keeping out of the debate about Britain’s future in the EU. However I have to take issue with D Wood of Howden who described the EU (The Yorkshire Post, November 21) as “an abominable German dictatorship”.

In some ways, I wish it were. Modern Germany bears no resemblance to the Germany of the past and in many ways it can teach us a thing or two. Leeds could do well to develop a rail-based transport system similar to those that are commonplace in modern German cities. Our transport system is woefully inadequate, yet that of our sister city of Dortmund is first class.

There is no evidence whatsoever that the EU is a German dictatorship. Is this the best that the anti-EU brigade can do? Let me remind D Wood that modern Germany is a prosperous peace-loving federal state in which the various constituent states such as Bavaria are loathe to cede power to Berlin, let alone Brussels. This is the problem with the Europhobes. One minute the EU is centrally controlled by unelected commissioners imposing their will on the unwilling citizens of Europe, the next it is a German plot to dominate the continent – well it can’t be both!

I for one rejoice that we now live in a Europe in which our youngsters meet each other in the context of cultural and linguistic exchanges rather than on the battlefield. Which option does D Wood prefer?

Refugees and religion

From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery lane, Leeds.

WE were in New York when news broke of the Paris slaughter by IS. I was amazed at their reaction. They were terrified that they would be in trouble and convinced that it was due to Europe allowing large number of young men into the area as immigrants.

I have to say that I agree with them that the Eurozone was a bit naive in not examining the age and sex profile of all the “refugees” as it seemed inevitable that IS would use this route to infiltrate Europe. Thank goodness David Cameron agreed to take only those most vulnerable who had been in the

refugee camps for some time.

From: Graham Lakin, Sheffied.

NICK Baines, the Bishop of Sheffield, described the decision of cinemas not to screen the Lord’s Prayer as an irrational reflex, which regards religion as a problem (The Yorkshire Post, November 23). Sir, a vast majority see religion as the greatest threat to mankind at the present time. Paris and Belgium would probably agree.

From: Chris Schorah, Gascoigne Avenue, Leeds.

JAYNE Dowle asks some important questions about British values: who lays them down and how do we practise them (The Yorkshire Post, November 23)? Sixty years ago, I could have answered her.

It was God who gave them to us, as they were based on Christian principles.

But now we’ve ditched God as the accompanying article by Nick Baines, about cinema chains refusing to screen the Lord’s Prayer, demonstrates. And so we no longer know what values to believe in or how we should express them. Taking the opportunity this Christmas of reintroducing ourselves to Jesus Christ would be a step in the right direction.

Profligacy of pen-pushers

From: Les Arnott, Sheffield.

I HAVE friends in the NHS, police service, HMRC and education. All bitterly complain about how expensive bureaucracy has become. Why does no Government make paper-pushers a target? Why, too, are profligate quangos untouchable? All of this before we even consider the vast burdens imposed by the EU on struggling families.