Your letters to the Herts Ad...

PUBLISHED: 11:50 24 April 2018

Have your say and write to hertsad@archant.co.uk

Have your say and write to hertsad@archant.co.uk

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Reading a recent article in the Herts Advertiser it would appear that not enough people are complaining about aircraft noise.

I would guarantee that if a serious and efficient door to door street by street survey was carried out in the areas where the homes are most affected you would find the majority would complain. Especially with the summer on its way.

The noise starts around 6am and continues sometimes at five minute intervals for up to 20 hours each day.

The stream of traffic of course is dependent on the wind direction and the time of year.

When the aircraft take off facing east, the aircraft not flying to Europe bank hard right and fly directly over Wheathampstead then turn south to continue their journeys.

When they take off facing west the flights turn sharply left and fly either over Wheathampstead or along a route parallel with roads such as Tudor Road and backing up to Old School Drive.

Then on some chosen days we also have LHR traffic one after another flying north to north west sometimes for periods up to an hour, as they lumber over our gardens.

Even helicopter flights north and south and light aircraft are directed across AL4.

Strangely enough the area most effected by this continuous noise from all these money spinning flights is rarely mentioned. As a result of a more recent confluence of flights, Wheathampstead in particular, probably suffers the most from the noise including probable pollution.

I personally have been to two meetings and found that this change of routes on behalf of Luton Airport and the CAA is/was at that time already a fait accompli and it appeared that no alternative consideration was being discuss or taken into account.

This might possibly have also been the impression given by the 100 or so people who attended both the meeting in Sandridge and latterly in Wheathampstead. I consider it extremely unfair to suggest that only a ‘handful of people’ are noticing the noise. But they would say that wouldn’t they !

Of course people want to travel, but it’s only been during the past three to four years or so that the noise and traffic has increased so much. Prior to this time Wheathampstead was never noticeable on any of the flight paths. And if we are honest that’s when the protests started, but it’s largely been ignored. I think the authorities have adopted a “let them eat cake” attitude.

Others have asked quite rightly why can’t the flights fly over Bedfordshire when traveling east to Europe?

There is no reason they have to fly south after take off then turn east and quite often take short cuts north westerly right over Wheathampstead (there’s that word again) especially noticeable after dark. I wonder if they think nobody will notice.

One can only rightly assume that Luton council, who let’s be honest, with their Spanish partners, are making many millions out of all these flights, don’t want upset their own Bedfordshire residents. There is apparently no other reason why these flights cannot follow a route straight across Bedfordshire to Europe. No reason whatsoever.

At the meetings I have been to, those present were told about a beacon at Brookman’s Park is where the aircraft take directions from. As far as I can understand this beacon has been in situ and in operation for very much longer than the sudden change in direction of the flights three to four years ago.

There now appears to be a deliberately dedicated confluence of flights right above the AL4 area. Even helicopters and light aircraft fly right across AL4, clearly this is not a coincidence.

Clearly from his comments, mentioned in the article, Mr Dontas is lucky enough not to live under the flightpaths as he seems to have little understanding of the distress, discomfort and other issues this noise is causing to many more than just a handful of local residents. And possibly even resulting in devaluation of their much cherished properties in a once very tranquil area.

And frankly I believe that Neil McArthur is quite correct in what he says, it was the impression I and others I spoke to had picked up from the rather terse and premeditated Q&A at the meeting.

I also agree with Andrew Lambourne as the flights track between Sandridge and Wheathampstead they are never seen to be gaining altitude. We were specifically told the flights were going to reach 1,000 feet this is quite clearly not being achieved.

I hope others who are bothered about being fobbed off regarding all this noise, will ‘take up the cudgel’ as it were.

PAUL EDMOND

By email

We find the article about unauthorised school absences in the Herts Advertiser to be misleading to parents.

The schools named in the article, Roundwood Park, Samuel Ryder and Marlborough Science Academy all have attendance rates which are well above the national average and have very low levels of persistent absenteeism.

One of the chief reasons for this is that they take a hard line in refusing to authorise term time holidays.

They work closely with parents to ensure that attendance rates remain impressive and that students continue to achieve well by being in school and thriving whilst they are there.

We continue to be proud of the work done by all the schools in the area on attendance.

ALAN HENSHALL

Chair of the St Albans and Harpenden Secondary Headteachers Association (STASSH)

Carol Wray’s letter published in your March 29 edition, records her encounter with a lady who thought the Alban Bun too expensive.

We are always sad if our customers are not satisfied and would like to invite the lady back for a free bun, and to assure her that, in fact, we don’t charge more for toasting and that a toasted bun and a pot of tea costs less than £4.

The Alban Bun was produced for us this year by an independent baker based in Luton using the original, secret recipe and incision method attributed to a St Alban’s monk, Brother Thomas Rocliffe, who first distributed buns to pilgrims on Good Friday in 1361.

Modern variants of the Alban Bun, now known as the hot cross bun, are usually factory made and have definitely evolved.

The original Alban Bun is handmade, with fresh ingredients and has a rustic style and taste. They may cost a little more than the factory variant, but they are robust, filling and nourishing.

We generally only sell them at Lent and Easter, but look out for some free samples on the High Street towards the end of April!

HEATHER SMITH
St Albans Cathedral administrator

What wonderful news that a real effort is being made to improve the Ver through St Albans. The Ver is a precious chalk stream but it is in a poor condition through our town.

These proposals stand a good chance of getting back the biodiversity that has been lost. Wonderful news too that there is money to pay for it. Despite the cuts the government is willing to spend money on environmental improvements and some of it is coming our way.

Quite rightly there is an ongoing consultation and I hope that local people and organisations will contribute to it. But I hope their attitude will be, ‘Great idea, how can we make suggestions to improve it?’

It would most hypocritical if, while being worried about climate change, upset about the catastrophic decline of birds and insects and so on, we opposed improvements in our own backyard because, say, we might be inconvenienced by having to move our allotment! [I speak as one whose allotment is going to have the rerouted Ver going through it, so we are going to have to move. A small price to pay for a revitalised river]

But I’m sure the vast majority of Albanians will welcome this scheme and rise above being NIMA’s [Not in my allotment] And I’m sure too we will find plenty of ways to improve the scheme rather than just being negative about it.

LAURIE GIBSON

Verulam Road, St Albans

Maggie Cartwell (Killing the ‘weeds’ (March 22) may well be right when she suspects that Harpenden Town Council will be using weed killer to “deep clean Harpenden’s roads”.

In any case, an FoI request to St Albans council revealed that St Albans use Glyphosate (the most commonly used herbicide) on shrub beds and hard surfaces: where weeds are present, football pitches as a selective weed killer, on bowling greens as a fungicide and also on cricket pitches /bowling greens as a worm suppressor.

As well as Glyphosate, Rayzor, Greenor and ClearCast Green are also used.

In spite of often being displayed in an almost cosy manner in garden centres and supermarkets, the safety of Glyphosate is highly controversial.

According to the WHO, it is highly probable that Glyphosate is carcinogenic.

It also causes a range of skin and eye problems

It is chemically stable and soluble in water, thus posing a danger to all forms of aquatic life and soil organisms, including earthworms (see above).

In a Europe wide study, it was found that 70 per cent of Brits and Germans have Glyphosate in their urine,

If Harpenden intend to use Glyphosate or any other herbicide, this will be against the trend in many countries.

It is banned or severely restricted in Sri Lanka, Argentina, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Germany (where it has been banned in all urban public spaces) to name a few countries.

In the UK it has been banned, or severely restricted so far in Shaftesbury, the London borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, Glastonbury, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Alternatives exist, such as hot water systems, some of which use a sugar solution which covers the weeds as foam, thus “cooking” the weeds.

Such systems can also double as street cleaning apparatus to remove chewing gum etc. and could, for example, either shared by a number of authorities.

Or could be hired out by an authority hiring it to others, thus cutting costs?

PHIL FLETCHER

Green Party Candidate for Cunningham Ward, Sopwell Lane, St Albans

Thameslink’s proposed timetable change due to be implemented in May this year will see a marked reduction in morning rush hour trains travelling into London.

This comes just as East Midland Trains will no longer be calling at Luton resulting in thousands of extra passengers using this service before it reaches Harpenden.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, according to the Local Plan thousands of new homes are planned for the district and it’s fair to assume that many of the new occupants will be commuters.

When you take all these factors into account and the resulting increase in passengers, you have to ask where the joined up thinking was when they decided that reducing the number of trains was the right thing to do.

We already pay the most expensive fares in the country and now it looks like we’re about to get a worse train service for our money.

DUNCAN MACKNESS

Barley RIse, Harpenden

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