Letters, Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

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Have your say

Sewage system inquiry is vital

IS it not time that Sunderland Council admitted we have a problem with the Sunderland sewage system before someone is killed?

I will explain. Walking along the River Wear just below the university buildings recently, the flow of untreated sewage going into the river from St Peter’s pumping station overflow was horrendous. So was the stench and it went as far back as the Glass Centre.

Although we had had some heavy rain, we have a storm sewage system at Whitburn which was built to handle that very type of storm and more. The fact is it failed, to the point where had anyone been walking from Roker Beach towards the Ravine they could have been washed away. Worse, they could have been killed when the flaps from the tunnel overflows burst open spewing sewage everywhere.

Recently we were told thousands had been spent replacing manhole lids in Roker Park and down the Ravine. These lids also failed. The situation was horrendous, not only at St Peter’s but Roker Ravine and Seaburn where the overflow also burst out down the beach.

One has to ask why this is being allowed. Is it not time that the Environment Agency’s incompetence was investigated and it was held to account? The EA refuses to discuss the situation and has failed to explain why the flow calculations for Seaburn discharge consent are incorrect and being used outside the terms of the consent.

Let’s hope the Sunderland councillors get their finger out and insist there is an inquiry into the Sunderland sewage system before Northumbrian Water is allowed to sell.

Bob Latimer, Whitburn

Wildlife corridors

WITH reference to your article about overgrown verges, in my opinion the council are too tidy with the grass cutting. There is now no cover for wildlife like there used to be. Animals like hares, hedgehogs and voles are dying out at an alarming rate.

I grew up in the 50s, in the Thorney Close area. We never had any grass cut and we had beautiful meadow land. The place was teeming with wildlife. Birds like skylark, grey partridge and other ground-nesting birds have all disappeared.

Also, pesticides are sprayed around the trees, which is not beneficial to wildlife either.

I think the council should plant wild flowers where the grass has been cut and that might bring some of the wildlife back and would look much better than just grass.

I thoroughly agree with Councillor James Blackburn in creating wildlife corridors.

Joe West

Brilliant show

I SPENT a most enjoyable afternoon watching a group of young starlets perform The Wizard of Oz in the Empire building in Houghton.

Those youngsters gave a performance that to my eyes was equal to any that I have seen in the Sunderland Empire.

I am most surprised that no one

else has sent words of praise for this wonderful production.

Please let these kids know how much pleasure they gave to the audience in their little theatre.

S. Thompson, Leeholme, Houghton

Barbecue thanks

WOULD you please say a big thank-you to everyone who made the barbecue at Shields Road Allotments possible on Sunday, August 14. Everyone had a great time.

The award-winning artist Grayson Perry came along to experience some northern hospitality and looked like he enjoyed himself.

I would like especially to thank Pam, Peter and Norman from the committee who put a lot of time and effort into organising this event for everyone to enjoy.

Tom and his band also made the day go so well. So thank you all for a wonderful day.

J. Smith, Allotment holder

Wrong targets

IT would appear that police marksmen are trained to hit between the eyes or through the heart. I wonder if they could be re-trained to aim at the right shoulder or the left kneecap.

This would practically ensure the survival of innocent victims, who are armed only with a table leg or innocently sitting in a taxi or going to work on the Tube.

It would also provide subsequent inquiries with evidence from the wounded victim rather than just the often limited police version.

Brian McGill, South Bents

Wonderful staff

I RECENTLY spent five days in Sunderland Royal Hospital. I would like to thank all of the staff on Ward D48. Nothing was too much trouble, the ward and the bathroom was immaculate and the meals lovely.

I shared the ward with three lovely ladies who agreed that our stay was very pleasant. All of the staff were run off their feet yet always friendly, caring, helpful and very cheerful.

Well done and thank you.

Allison Bonson, Caroline Street, Hetton

Pavement cyclists

I WISH to highlight the growing problem of cyclists who endanger pedestrians by riding their cycles on the pavement. This is a dangerous practice and will inevitably result in injury to pavement users

My understanding is it is an offence to ride cycles on the footpath, yet this offence is routinely ignored by the police. A cycle travelling at high speed could easily cause as much injury to a pedestrian as a car travelling at the same speed should a collision occur.

If motorists committed an offence by driving their cars along the pavements, the police would be quick to act. Why then do they ignore cyclists who do the same thing? Are cyclists considered to be above the law?

The correct place to ride cycles is on the road or in dedicated cycle lanes, not on pavements.

It is the duty of the police to protect the public, and in allowing cyclists a free hand to ride wherever they please without sanction they are failing in that duty.

As things stand, a cyclist involved in an accident with a pedestrian or others for which they were at fault could not be easily identified. They could leave the scene of the accident and thus avoid their responsibilities. While I would not like to discourage cycle riders, I feel it is high time that action is taken to regulate their activities for both their own safety and that of others.

All cycles should be registered and carry a clear registration mark to enable them to be identified in the event of an accident or road traffic infringement. In addition they should pay tax and have compulsory third party insurance. For their own safety all cyclists should have to pass a proficiency test and hold a licence in the same way as motorists are required to.

I realise the police are very busy, but this is a growing problem. Perhaps a senior police officer would like to explain why no action has been taken to resolve this problem.

No doubt a lot of your readers will be able to provide evidence of problems involving those who flout the law with impunity. Action should be taken now before somebody is seriously injured or worse.

Kevin Hutchinson, Whitburn

Sincere thanks

FOR the many wonderful day trips and holidays enjoyed by members of Doxford Park Community Association, may I say a very heartfelt thanks to Winnie, Pat and others who made our Wednesday coffee mornings such a warm and friendly meeting place.

You will certainly be missed, but all our best wishes for the future. Thanks again.

Jennie Carr, Silksworth