Letters, October 6, 2014

Blame our MP for rail freight decision

SIR – Following the decision to give the go ahead to the proposed rail freight development on the Radlett airfield site, I have been amazed by the volume of letters you have published praising “hard-working” MP Anne Main. The England football team worked hard in Brazil but, like Anne Main, they lost abysmally. Perhaps we should compare her failure to the success of Grant Shapps in getting Eric Pickles to veto the incinerator project in Hatfield. A fundamental difference between the two is that he is popular with the Tory Westminster hierarchy and she is not. Why so? Well in fiddling her expenses in extravagant style, Ms Main brought both herself and the Conservative party into disrepute. A group of local Conservatives even tried to get her deselected as the Tory candidate. It is a pity that they failed! Her popularity with the Tory leadership has plummeted further as a result of her consistent failure to support the government in Parliament. This is not the best way to get government ministers to do what you want them to. To be fair, Anne Main is not solely responsible for the rail freight debacle. We should apportion blame to those Tories who put her forward as the Conservative candidate, and even more to those of us who voted for her.

JON HUMPHREY Ryder Seed Mews, St Albans A variety of menaces on our roads

SIR – Readers will no doubt remember my clarion call a year or two ago about the over use of Chelsea tractors taking young Damien and Emily a quarter of a mile to and from their public and state schools every day. How these huge cars clogged up the roads, contributed to the premature deterioration of our road surfaces and reduced the air quality of our city with their high octane I-don’t-give-a-damn-Jack pollutants. Well it seems I was right. St Albans has now been voted the worst city polluter. It is a damning indictment of the unnecessary use of high powered motor vehicles which, due to Mrs Snorbens and Ms Harpenden, not forgetting Mr Jones (I’ve made it in life because I have a Lexus) need to use for every single journey however short – and whom their many neighbours no doubt wish to keep up with because owning a 4x4 is the aspirational “must have” of the 21st Century – has caused a serious diminution in air quality for those of us driving more humbler, leaner, eco-friendly cars which, let’s face it, are more respectful to the environment, more appropriate to the needs of the short distance road user and certainly cheaper on car tax. And whilst we’re on the subject of car tax, isn’t it about time that the “holier than thou” cyclists, road Gods unto themselves, have to pay a user license? After all, they drive with gay abandon on our roads, against the one way flow sometimes, cutting up cars, causing all kinds of mayhem and generally slowing the flow of traffic down all the while without paying a single penny in tax. Perhaps an annual levy of £50 per annoying pesky get-in-your-face cyclist would ameliorate a little of the angst us genuine tax paying motorists feel when, after paying good money to use the roads properly, these pesky fly like cyclists create their own rules going through red traffic lights and generally annoying one and all as do bluebottles around fresh meat. All I would say is, isn’t motoring fun in 2014? Answers on a postcard please, addressed to the Editor. I thank you.

BARRY CASHIN Green Lane, St Albans

Still questions over Luton flight plans

SIR – May I add to the article by Debbie White (September 18) regarding the current status of the RNAV1 proposal and the airline comment relating to flying the 210K option, i.e. it would require greater use of flaps, increase air frame noise, cause flap wear and increase crew workload. It begs the question why was the 210K option ever a part of the consultation or even trialled as it is well known in the industry as “dirty flying”, it is arguable whether this was ever a true option or just a filler for consultation. Many will remember the far more comprehensive NATS Terminal North Consultation of 2008, in this document it is explained that a proposal for a maximum speed of 210K under 3,000ft was increased to 220K by NATS at the request of pilots and airlines because planes, particularly the heavier types as at Heathrow, Stansted and Luton, could not fly a “clean configuration”. In my opinion this guaranteed airline response devalues the consultation, especially when you consider 56 per cent of those who responded chose no preference between 210K and 220K, and a further 13 per cent preferred the 210k option demonstrating a complete lack of knowledge of the true difference between the two options. The main reason for this response and indifference to the two options was simply because the gain for St Albans would be that the centre line of the route would be moved north no matter which was preferred, and the fact that this was a STAKEHOLDER consultation. LLAOL did not provide any workshops for the public to learn more about RNAV1 but nominated 102 key stakeholders of whom just 29 responded. It is difficult to guess the reason for this apathy but perhaps the non-respondents did not want to be stakeholders or perhaps the proposal originally being described as a “tweak” to the flight path rather than a major change to navigation procedure played a part In this relatively poor response. RNAV1, or similar, will eventually come to Luton but there are many aspects of this proposal, design and consultation that remain questionable.

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EJ ALFORD Pie Garden, Flamstead JC is really No 1

SIR –In response to the advert on Islam in the Herts Advertiser of September 25, ranking people of influence throughout world history, we would like to make an important comment. Jesus Christ, in paying the supreme price on the cross for the sin of manking (including Mohammed and every one of those 100 or so top ranking people) puts himself head and shoulders above all, unique as Son of God and unique in his sinless humanity. Unfortunately, many fail to find a rightful place for him in their lives, secular or religious!

JOHN & JOANNE TREDINNICK The Ridgeway, St Albans

Lack of manners in our schools?

SIR – I am an old age pensioner, living in St Albans. I find the manners of the pupils of secondary and academy schools to be in poor taste. When travelling on buses in the St Albans area, you will find pupils of the above with their feet on seats, and the pupils will remain seated while the likes of me and older and infirm pensioners have to stand on the buses. When asked to remove their feet or to give up their seats for the less able or old, all you get from these pupils is a mouthful of abuse. So you can imagine my surprise today when travelling back from Watford on the 321 bus, my being offered a seat by a pupil from Bushey Academy. The pupil was one of two travelling on the bus, and were of the lower age group of the academy, aged 11/12 years. It would seem manners are still being learned in Watford schools and academies, whereas this does not seem to be so in St Albans. I think the heads of St Albans schools and academies should have words with their pupils, as what they do outside reflects back on them and gives them bad names. I say more teaching of manners to St Albans schools would be a good thing. Does anyone else agree with me?

J NEWMAN Shottfield Close, Sandridge

We don’t want London expansion

SIR – Barney Stringer claims that commuter belt towns are “utterly dependent” on London for work and they should become part of London. My perspective is that London utterly depends on commuter belt towns to provide over spill accommodation for its ever growing population and workforce. A view that seems to be endorsed by the article in the Herts Advertiser of October 2, re: Boris Johnson’s push for the capital to expand north and swallow up chunks of St Albans and Harpenden. My husband and I moved here from north London over 40 years ago and it has been wonderful to live in this green and tranquil environment and bring up our family here, with a better quality of life, away from the hustle and bustle of greater London. We have seen considerable housing development over the years but house prices are vastly inflated, beyond the reach of many young people who grew up here. More developments are proposed and residents are concerned about increased pressure on local services, the roads are more congested, local hospital services reduced, school places more difficult to obtain. Many other commuter towns must be in the same position. Why should the south east be turned into a vast urban sprawl? In this day of modern communications and transport wouldn’t it be better to encourage companies away from London to provide work in areas desperate for employment where there is available housing or space for growth that isn’t to the detriment of the local infrastructure. Then maybe house prices would be more consistent throughout the UK, more people would be able to afford their own homes, less people would need unemployment benefit and many would enjoy a better quality of life.

LINDA BOLDING Lincolns Close, St Albans

Put Ryder statue where it belongs

SIR – According to the internet, in terms of viewing figures the Ryder Cup is the world’s third most viewed sporting event. Following the national interest shown in this year’s contest may I make an appeal to our planners to re-consider their siting of the proposed statue of Samuel Ryder and erect it in the most prominent place possible in his adopted city rather than hide it away in a little used by-way.

PHILIP WEBSTER Townsend Drive, St Albans

Absolute chaos at Luton Airport

SIR – I have not previously made an attempt to write a letter for your columns, however I feel I must pen a few words about the chaos at Luton Airport on Monday afternoon, September 8. I realise this may be old news for some readers, but I have just returned from holiday and was therefore unable to make these comments earlier. I am 88 years old and not on email, the internet etc. I was amongst the one and a half thousand passengers that were cleared from the airport buildings on that afternoon, and subsequently held in the open for three hours, behind barriers, like cattle in a farmyard enclosure, and later a further four hours inside one of the airport buildings. All this without any information from the relevant authorities. I understand that a suspicious package had been discovered in one of the security halls, but was a complete shutdown of the airport really necessary? After the initial decision, it would have been very easy to make an announcement over the public address system to inform passengers why their flights were being cancelled, and why many of us had to stay overnight at the airport in most uncomfortable circumstances until our flight was rescheduled for the next morning. I obviously cannot object if, for safety reasons, it was necessary to empty one or more buildings of passengers and personnel, but why couldn’t the management then let the passengers know what was happening, instead of being kept in the dark for seven hours? I consider that the administration of Luton Airport should have contingency plans in place, in view of the UK government’s previous warnings of possible terrorist activity, and not just appear to panic and shout “Everybody outside!” If they cannot manage the current flow of passengers properly, heaven help us, if and when, they increase the capacity of the airport in the future.

PETER STROUD Harvesters, Jersey Farm

Poor signage at new-look post office

SIR – I walked into the revamped St Albans post office the other day to experience the new look and was amazed to see two notices which make little sense. The first was the sign hanging over a counter position saying “wait here” when it should be hanging over the end of the railing where people have been used to waiting till a number is called. The second sign is the circular one saying “service this way” which no-one would think of looking up at but even then might ponder why the pointer is indicating the self service area. One would have expected the managerial staff to think things out before arranging for the works to be done.

JACK HILL Riverside Close, St Albans

Thanks for support

SIR – Animal Aid would like to thank the people of St Albans for their generosity and helping us to raise £348.75 at a street collection on Saturday, September 27. The money raised will help fund our peaceful campaigns and important educational work on all aspects of animal cruelty. For more information on how to prevent animal cruelty, please call Animal Aid on 01732 364546 or visit the Animal Aid website: www.animalaid.org.uk

ERICA RAWLINGS Animal Aid Collection Co-ordinator