YP Letters: Awkward questions over HS2 viability

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From: Raymond Wilkinson, Windsor Drive, Barnburgh, Doncaster.

I HAD the pleasure of attending the HS2 information presentation in Mexborough. Following a demonstration of HS2 trains whispering through the countryside at 225mph, I spoke to a representative from HS2 and posed several questions. The answers were interesting.

Do you consider that £1,250 for every man, woman and child in the UK is good value for money? “Well, I haven’t used the NHS for three years and I don’t mind paying for it,” he responded. Forgive me, but the NHS is there for everybody, is free at the point of use and not a plaything for the rich.

Can you tell me how much time I’ll save travelling from Doncaster to London? This one proved tricky for him because Doncaster isn’t mentioned on their literature. Apparently HS2 will ‘free up capacity for local and freight services’. This seems to be HS2 speak for ‘Doncaster will form no part of high-speed connectivity and the East Coast main line south of York will become little more than a branch line’.

When I told him that I could already reach London in one hour 29 minutes for £6.85, he refused to believe it (thank you Grand Central – you are brilliant). What Yorkshire needs is not HS2, but much better local links with modern, frequent, clean and reliable trains across the region.

From: JA King, Thurgoland, Sheffield.

I KEEP hearing the term Northern Powerhouse from MPs, councillors, company bosses and political commentators (Michael Dugher, The Yorkshire Post, February 14).

I can tell them all there will be no Northern Powerhouse unless the North gets spending equality with London and the South East when it comes to health, education, transport, the arts and business support.

I now see that the Mayor of London is asking for another great wad of cash to build another new Underground line. Just for one moment think how we could improve the whole Northern area’s infrastructure with the money that would be lavished on that one Tube project?

And just a thought now that the Houses of Parliament are due for refurbishment. Close the building down for five years and let the contractors get on with it, then reassemble Parliament in either Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, York or even Newcastle and let all the MPs see just how the other half live.

From: Edward Grainger, Botany Way, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough.

TOM Richmond (The Yorkshire Post, February 9) is right to point out that our young people will fail to impress potential employers without the raising of educational standards across the North compared to London.

How refreshing to discover that John McDonnell, George Osborne and Dr John Sentamu find themselves at one in calling for the North’s schools to receive additional funding to match London’s allocation.

This most pressing issue overrides all others as Britain prepares to negotiate a withdrawal from membership of the EU. Should this result in a hard Brexit then the educational disadvantage that the North now experiences must be addressed as a matter of urgency, otherwise the Northern Powerhouse is a “dead duck”.

In defence of fracking

From: Lorraine Allanson, Rains Farm Holidays, Allerston, Pickering.

MAY I respond to the letters (The Yorkshire Post, February 15) related to shale gas?

Sue Cuthbert claims shale gas operations will ‘industrialise’ the countryside. I disagree. Over 25 years ago, the gas-powered Knapton Generating Station was planned, there were doomsday tales that tourism would be ruined. Now, over 20 years since the plant started operating, none of the scare stories ever came true. The generating station has no negative impacts on tourism and is only visible from the air. Wind and solar infrastructure would conspicuously cover huge tracts of our countryside, unable to be camouflaged.

Wendy Cross thanks me for ‘disseminating the news’ of companies dropping their contracts with Cuadrilla owing to bullying and intimidation by protester. She claims they were ‘peaceful’. Threats were made against the companies’ employees, hardly peaceful and hardly the actions of ‘brave people’. These are the actions of cowards.

As James Clark points out ‘No amount of blockading will make experts suddenly agree with the claims by activists’. The opposition to shale gas is not backed by science, hence the need to scare and bully. As Churchill said ‘Now is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps the end of the beginning’. Shale gas is just beginning and Yorkshire literally could provide the power in the Northern Powerhouse’ May it soon begin.

Your Opinion is valued

From: Ian Richardson, Beverley.

I AM an infrequent reader of The Yorkshire Post and it took the wonderful cover photo of Tornado steaming through the Dales to make me forsake my usual daily read and buy your paper (The Yorkshire Post, February 15).

I am most pleased that I did. Having enjoyed your coverage of the historic return of scheduled steam trains, I then turned to the most varied and interesting Opinion page. Three more contrasting pieces would be hard to find in one place.

I have little time for the bluster of Bernard Ingham and disagreed with almost every word in his column, but he speaks for many and one can perhaps commend his directness. The measured tone of the important piece by Chris Burn raising serious issues regarding the fallacies of target culture was much more to my taste. It was, however, the honesty and sensitivity shown by GP Taylor with regard to abuse victims that resonated most. Well done – I may well be reading The YP more in the future.