Letters, Wednesday, March 6, 2013

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Health fears over blasting plans

HAVING read Gemma Taylor’s letter to the Echo on March 1, I feel I must reply on behalf of the residents of Newbottle and Houghton, who are fed up with the diatribe dished out by this Labour Party spokesperson against anyone who has the audacity to disagree with the latest proposal by Biffa Waste Services to carry out blasting at Houghton Quarry.

 Of course, as usual, Houghton RATS get it in the neck from Ms Taylor because they dare to publicly show their concern for the health and safety issues of the residents, once the aquifer becomes even more contaminated due to the blasting proposals.

 Ms Taylor has informed us that she attended the planning meeting and raised concerns regarding the impact blasting would have on residents’ properties and also on the scope of the application.

 Perhaps Ms Taylor’s concerns would have increased significantly had she attended Sunderland Magistrates’ Court some three hours earlier to hear Biffa plead guilty to five charges of polluting our water supply aquifer directly below the base of Houghton Quarry Landfil.

 Charges so serious that they warranted a fine of £132,000.00 (including costs).

 Ms Taylor has mentioned the health and safety issues, I presume of the Biffa personnel working within the quarry, but what about the health and safety of the residents?

 Let’s be perfectly clear about this fact, our drinking water pumping station at Stoneygate is about one mile from our supply of drinking water contained in the aquifer below the Biffa quarry cesspit.

 The only barrier between the mountain of waste and the aquifer on the quarry floor is a two millimetre thick plastic liner (thickness of a beer mat) laid on a one metre bed of clay, within unstable ground as Biffa has stated.

 I honestly dread to think of the consequences should the force of the blasting open up new fissures within the quarry and shatter or indeed damage any part of the base liner with thousands of tonnes of waste bearing down on the damaged liner.

 It is an offence to pollute ground water, so where would Biffa stand in a compensation claim made by Northumbria Water, not to mention thousands of residents.

 In addition, we have the danger of damage to homes, schools and building as we had in the past, when blasting was carried out within the quarry. Would Biffa be accountable or would it be Sunderland Council, for failing to foresee the consequences of excessive blasting within a small, unprotected area?

Bill Angus

A complete tip

WHAT is it with people these days and the disposal of rubbish ?

 I live in Ryhope and every Monday, after the weekend games of football on the pitches next to the old golf course, there is always a complete and utter mess.

 Plastic bottles, food and crisp wrappers cover the pitches, why can’t the supporters take their litter with them, or put it in a bin?

 As the pitches are council-owned maybe they should enforce teams and their supporters clear up their mess or they won’t be allowed to play in the first place?

 The same goes for Ryhope Dene and the paths along by the beach.

 Rubbish everywhere, including doors, windows, car parts, baths, cans, broken bottles, the list goes on.

 It completely spoils the area and can also make dog walking hazardous as you never know what your pet is going to step on.

 Most of the dumped rubbish would have to be taken there by car, due to its size. So why don’t these idiots take it to the tip instead?

 I take pride in my appearance, my home and where I live. It’s a shame that some people in this area are happy to live in a tip and have no respect for themselves or others.

K Metcalfe,

Ryhope

Gambling toll

I WAS amazed to read that £113million was spent by gamblers on betting machines in Sunderland city centre in 12 months (Echo, February 14).

 How much was spent on all forms of gambling? How much was spent on the National Lottery in Sunderland? How much was spent on alcohol, cigarettes, tattoos, fizzy drinks, unhealthy eating, takeaways and mobile phones?

 There are more jewellery shops in the city centre than places that sell fruit and vegetables.

 How much was spent at Sunderland AFC and how much did the players and managers earn? How much was spent on pop concerts? How many more shops are we going to have in The Bridges which sell non-essentials and cheap clothes for teenagers?

 I am prompted to write this letter because we are told that there are children in Sunderland who are living in poverty and some are being sent to school without having anything to eat as their parents don’t have the money to buy food.

John Watson,

Sunderland