Letters May 19 2016
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Manners maketh man, and woman
SIR - It might be worth reminding some of the candidates who attended the recent election count that it is good manners regardless of the result to shake hands and acknowledge the opposition. When the result was about to be announced for Marshalswick South, David Dickson (UKIP) Richard Harris (Labour) and the Green candidate Jill Mills came up on the stage. After the result was announced, I shook hand with both David and Richard who graciously accepted my hand. When we all did the same for Mrs Mills, she flounced off the stage refusing to shake hands or even acknowledge my gesture to her. This is the height of bad manners and her behaviour which shows a total lack of respect to other candidates and to other persons at the count. It also does the Green Party no favours whatsoever in the eyes of the electorate, many of whom were at the count.
RICHARD CURTHOYS St Albans District Councillor for Marshalswick South Hornbeams, St Albans Better in than out
SIR - Anyone looking for a balanced argument about the European Union referendum will be climbing the wall by now. On one side, Dave and Jeremy say Britain is in some kind of EU-topia. We risk unknowable horrors without it. On the other, Nigel and Boris tell us that Europe is bleeding us dry. Unbridled joy will greet us beyond the door marked Brexit. The Green Party wants Britain to stay in. Not because the EU is perfect – it isn’t. Neither is Westminster. But we believe that we flourish when we work together on the shared challenges we face. Addressing these challenges isn’t always easy, and there’s lots to do to improve how the EU operates. It needs to be more democratic and more accountable. But to make that happen we need to stay in and reform it. A reformed EU will be better at controlling big business and finance. It will do more to protect people’s rights at work and as consumers. It’s already made our beaches and power stations cleaner, our wildlife safer, and our air less polluted. It already provides each UK household with £3,000 worth of economic benefit a year, according to the CBI. In return, the UK’s contribution is equivalent to just £340 per household per year. It’s succeeding in its original and most important aim, to prevent war between European nations. And now more than ever we need the EU to help us face new international challenges: the refugee crisis, terrorism and climate change. We should build on the EU’s successes, and change it for the better. But we can only do that by staying part of it.
CLLR SIMON GROVER Green Party Clifton Street, St Albans
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Thanks for support over new bus service
SIR - Just wanted to say a big thank you to all the residents and bus users on the Verulam estate, councillors, and our members, etc. who have lobbied long and hard to get a ‘better bus for Verulam’. The estate currently gets an hourly service weekdays to Marshalswick, but recent changes such as a 10 per cent increase in the electorate plus younger families and children and students moving in and commuting, extending homes, new homes, etc. have led to a surge in demand for rail access. We hope to have a new peak hour service from the estate introduced this summer, with full details to be announced shortly.
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Blame game over school places
SIR - The main reason there is a shortage of primary school places is because there has been population increase in St Albans over the past 20 years due to immigration from Europe. There are now many more families with young children living in St Albans from Europe. This means there is a shortage of places, as no new schools have been built in the district to deal with the increase in our population. It is a ticking time bomb that is also affecting our secondary schools! Some children have to go to Hemel, Hatfield or Welwyn to study.
MIKE LEWIS Hedley Road, St Albans
Getting it right on over-flying flights
SIR - As a long-time organisation representing those in this area adversely affected by Luton planes, we’re pleased to see Mr Hutchison’s efforts in similar vein (May 12). However, it‘s important to get the facts right – even being sure the planes he sees are indeed from Luton. If they’re not, Luton’s management will likely dismiss his complaint as “not ours” - so, note the direction (we suspect some are northbound from Heathrow, heavy laden and still low). Thus he seems concerned by the departure route going Eastwards between St Albans and Harpenden, as used for example by Luton’s increasing East European traffic. But the centre-line of that section of the flightpath has barely changed and never did “go over Harpenden”. What used to happen is that Air Traffic Control regularly allowed some departures to take an early short cut over there, while, further downtrack, others veered to the right over Jersey Farm. LADACAN successfully pressed for that to stop to protect St Albans, by requiring they stick to the track until east of the railway – and most now do. Also, since last August, modern navigational methods have been in use to narrow the track followed, so allowing the airport to claim that despite its near doubling in size, fewer people overall will be overflown (but some much more so of course). Rather than “blaming Harpenden residents”, which during the recent run of easterly winds have had many Luton planes overhead from 6am onwards, Mr Hutchison should concentrate on the real culprits: Luton Borough Council, as in our earlier letter (April 21), and the “frequent flyers” (CAA figures indicate that many of the well off in areas such as this make approaching a dozen leisure trips a year).
JOHN DAVIS For LADACAN (www.ladacan.org) SIR - In your front page article for May 12, you state that the subject of your article “points the finger of blame at Harpenden residents who lobbied for air route changes” for increased airplane noise over St Albans. Also that the flight path from Luton Airport “historically passed across Harpenden” before being moved to a more southerly position. The implicit suggestion is that all would be well if only all Luton Airport traffic were to be directed over Harpenden instead. The reality is that Luton Airport is no more Harpenden’s airport than it is St Albans’, though I imagine the residents of both towns use its services. Historically too, aircraft noise has not been a significant issue over Harpenden until recent times, and then only as a result of Luton Airport expansion and apparent adjustments to flight paths. In response to the ensuing concern, the authorities have adjusted the flight paths to follow routes between the two urban conurbations of Harpenden and St Albans in order to minimise the number of people who are overflown and adversely affected by airplane noise. At the same time, I understand that greater use is being made of modern technology to enable aircraft to stay more closely on track when following the designated flight path. What I imagine some residents of St Albans are experiencing is that some flights may be straying from the flight path and I can certainly confirm that the same is happening in Harpenden, where some aircraft also pass directly over the town, especially in the early morning, notwithstanding the designated route which is supposed to avoid this. Rather than “point the finger of blame” at other Hertfordshire residents, wouldn’t it be better to join together and campaign for sensible limits to continued Luton Airport expansion and for more rigid adherence to the flight path which is intended to minimise disturbance to the people of both towns?
ALAN TURNER Hillside Road, Harpenden
High price of deputy commissioner
SIR - After a recent visit to Norfolk, where I had an opportunity to read the local equivalent of the Herts Advertiser, I wonder if David Lloyd, recently re-elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire will follow the lead set by Lorne Green the newly re-elected PCC in Norfolk and abolish the role of Deputy Commissioner and allocate the saved funds to improved local policing? Apparently the police in Norfolk will have an additional three bobbies on the beat as a result of this decision by Mr Green! Nearly 44 per cent of all PC’s choose NOT to have a deputy. I wonder how many local voters realise that the cost of a unelected deputy is in the vicinity of £75,000 per year!
IAN BARNES Mount Pleasant Lane, St Albans