Freight could help dredge our rivers

From: David H Rhodes, Keble Park North, Bishopthorpe.

MY memory retention is not as good as it used to be, but I hope the gist of a conversation is still there (Yorkshire Post, February 8).

A chat involving dredging of rivers arose and a friend said, ‘Don’t forget the paper barges that once ran on a stretch of the River Ouse’. These barges had a draught of 7ft 1in and even in summer the Ouse had a depth of 7ft 2in as the barge screws churned up the riverbeds and kept a channel free. Now in summer the river depth is approximately 4ft only.

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This method of transport stopped as a local privately-owned company charged £140 per barge.

The cargo of paper was going to a printing works whose modus operandi changed to cartridge by lorry. Economics then caused the closure of the printing works and the work is now carried out in Glasgow.

My point is this, industrial usage gets the river dredged at no cost to the taxpayer and provided a level of employment as well. Could a reintroduction of freight movement on rivers and canals prove beneficial along with a lorry reduction on our road network?

From: Michael J Robinson, Park Lane, Berry Brow, Huddersfield.

I SAW last week a picture of the huge circular machine cutting through the last ground as it completed the tunnel for London’s new Crossrail.

Also last week I learned that when IK Brunel built the recently devastated railway line along the vulnerable south coast through Dawlish, he only did so because he had been unable to raise the money to build the tunnel which would have been necessary to run the line inland as he had wanted.

Now that the tunnelling machine has finished its work in London, what will happen to it? Couldn’t it be taken to Devon and run through where Brunel wanted his tunnel? And then it could be taken to Sheffield to bore a good new serviceable tunnel at the Woodhead Pass for traffic to Manchester. And then taken to Marsden to create a second rail tunnel through Standedge to enable capacity to be doubled between Leeds and Manchester.

But it will probably be sent for scrap, or just left to rot underground where it ended.

In view of the Government’s remarks that there is not enough money to protect both town and country from flooding, isn’t it about time we stopped sending millions of pounds in overseas aid to countries such as India, which is now in the space race, and places where bribery and corruption is writhe with large amounts of money being siphoned off before it even reaches its designated destination?

From: J Hutchinson, Kirkbymoorside, York.

IT is very short-sighted to let hundreds of acres of fields languish under water, especially as this Government is already allowing thousands of acres of good agricultural land to disappear under bricks and mortar. Farming land is this country’s greatest asset and should be looked after extremely carefully with an eye to the future.

It is complacent to think that we can always augment our needs for food with imports as you only have to look back a few decades to see how vulnerable we are in the times of conflict. It was not for show that one of the most important posters of the Second World War had a message with an underlying warning of deprivation and taking into account the continuing growth of population would we have enough land to feed the people by following the advice of ‘Dig for Victory’?

Fighting for democracy

From: Mrs BJ Cussons, Curly Hill, Ilkley.

IS it not ironic that in the year when we remember the sacrifices all made in the First World War we are letting our country be dominated by other people and cultures?

Immigrants flee from countries dominated by dictators, theocracies and multicultures who seem more and more to 
end up in civil war.

Among them are their home-grown terrorists who try and inflict their dangerous beliefs 
on others and pass on their 
ideas to current British 
residents.

We are a small country with limited land resources. Part of our kingdom is trying to break away due to an individual’s personal wish for power.

United we may stand; divided we will fall given the falling proportion of English in our country.

Where are the British who will fight to retain our current democracy? It may be imperfect but it, together with our Royal Family, creates one of the best places to live in the world.

Will you help to keep it that way?

Remembering the Martyrs

From: David Houlgate, Blind Lane, Knaresborough.

I WRITE to congratulate Harrogate Theatre for the wonderful performance of We Will Be Free last Saturday, highlighting the injustices experienced by the Tolpuddle Martyrs way back in 1834 for swearing a secret oath as members of the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers and seeking a rate of pay their labours deserved.

They are rightly revered by trade unionists.

This was a fine performance by the cast (of two) and much appreciated by the sell-out audience.

It was also quite timely as workers today, in both the public and private sectors are seeing their pay eroded year on year by below inflation rises and pay freezes.

There are other opportunities to catch this performance in our region – at Hull Truck on March 6, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough on March 18, Carriageworks, Leeds, on April 3 and Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, on May 4.

Let’s have more of this kind of performance.