Leeds must look again at light rail network as Extinction Rebellion protests grow – Yorkshire Post letters

From: Mike Obst, Moortown, Leeds.

Police remove Extinction Rebellion demonstrators from Waterloo Bridge in London.

THIS month has been momentous with regard to the raising of awareness of the impact of human activity induced climate change. Transport is one such activity.

It is perhaps even more astounding that a 16-year-old girl, Greta Thunberg, can draw global attention to the matter when established politicians are failing to do so (Bill Carmichael, The Yorkshire Post, April 26).

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Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg at the House of Commons in Westminster.

Yes, words of concern are uttered by our politicians, but in reality it is business as usual. This is certainly true when it comes to transport policy in the UK and Leeds.

Yes, Leeds is making all the right noises when it comes to reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality, but policies are driving the city in the opposite direction.

Leeds is still building a major new road and proposing another major scheme near the airport. All this will do is increase car usage. It is a proven fact that if you build more roads, they get filled and all that is achieved is more congestion elsewhere, with a subsequent need for further road improvements and building; and so, it goes on.

Ah they say, we can have clean electric vehicles. But electric vehicles consume resources and therefore produce CO2, and there are real questions whether there is sufficient generating capacity to charge all these cars. In any case, electric vehicles do nothing to combat congestion and the need for new roads.

Yes, electric vehicles have a role to play, but only as part of developing sustainable transport policies.

What is needed, and it has been said many many times before, is an effective alternative to the car, and that means a drastically improved integrated affordable public transport network in Leeds, with a light rail system at its core.

Yes, the present legislative background is not ideal for this, but surely Leeds can rise above this, as it has done on numerous occasions, by starting the process of looking at a light rail network that will become the hub of a future integrated public transport network. This could even just be a high-level study to start with, perhaps in association with Leeds University. This would put light rail on the political map.

Other cities in the UK and the world have done this, so why not Leeds?

From: Chris Broome, Sheffield Climate Alliance, Hackthorn Road, Sheffield.

THE actions of Extinction Rebellion have inevitably caused controversy (Bill Carmichael, The Yorkshire Post, April 26).

Most people now recognise that global warming threatens the future of the planet. The need to make more determined steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is evident. Urgent attention is required. But does the situation justify bringing gridlock to parts of London?

On climate change, we have seen some positive developments. The Climate Change Act was passed in 2008 – a major UK initiative. Universities and churches are pulling out of investment in fossil fuels. Earlier this year, Sheffield City Council, amongst others, declared a Climate Emergency. At the same time it has also become obvious that the Government’s progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions is far too slow.

On the protests, we understand that people going about their legitimate business will have been affected by the disruption in London. Extinction Rebellion’s actions have spawned heated discussion. The fact remains that the organisation has succeeded in gaining a level of attention that has never been afforded to more conventional lobbying.

Our democratic system must not ignore the fate of future generations. By definition, minors and those yet unborn can play no part in decisions being taken now, whereas their lives will be constrained and damaged by our failure to take radical action on climate change.

It seems to us that Extinction Rebellion are acting on behalf of those future generations and, as such, we support their actions.

Treat Trump with courtesy

From: Brian H Sheridan, Lodge Moor, Sheffield.

I WAS dismayed at the warmth towards Donald Trump revealed in ‘Feedback’ (The Yorkshire Post, April 25). I personally detest the persona of the US President as portrayed in the media.

He appears to be vain, unpredictable, ignorant and a habitual liar. However, he is not a murderer and, as the leader of our greatest ally, he should be treated with formal courtesy on his state visit.

On track to help freight

From: Michael Williams, Harrogate.

RECENTLY much has been written about improving rail infrastructure to enable extra trans-Pennine freight services (Henri Murison, The Yorkshire Post, April 27).

One idea that I have not seen is to link Clitheroe to Skipton by creating a short loop line at Hellifield. Admittedly this line would have less demand from passenger services, but it would, at relatively little expense, create a new east-west corridor on under-used track.

Soft sentences are to blame

From: Paul Morley, Long Preston, Skipton.

THE Home Secretary has stated that there is not one simple answer to stop knife crime. There is one easy start to solving the problem. The people with the power to make or amend laws and the judicial system have to accept that the lenient way criminals have been dealt with over the last 20 years has directly led to the mess we are in now.

There should be maximum custodial sentences for the first offence and no notice taken of mitigation such as being bullied at school, or no father at home.and definitely no release after half the sentence is served.