Letters, Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Have your say

‘Don’t care’ attitude towards tip site

I WRITE with regard to the letter from Alex Scullion “Let’s just fill in the quarry and forget about it” (Letters Page, May 14).

The writer is a well-known Labour activist who has had promotional leaflets delivered across the North East. Not a politically disinterested bystander then.

Unsurprisingly, he seeks to get Sunderland Labour councillors and their council “off the hook” when it comes to culpability over the landfill site.

Sunderland gave it planning permission in 1996 and has fought to keep it ever since. On the basis of a single letter he has seen reported, Mr Scullion claims Europe “realises” it isn’t Sunderland’s fault.

Unfortunately for Mr Scullion, he hasn’t seen the other letters and heard the other opinions from Europe. As the Lead Petitioner, I have. I was delighted and relieved to find the European Parliament is interested in defending the lives of ordinary people.

Fortunately for the protection of the citizens of Houghton, European Courts use the full facts and evidence to reach their rulings, rather than political dogma.

The idea that we should carry on dumping the huge mountain of waste in the middle of Houghton and then cover up “what lurks beneath” is a “don’t care” attitude that most of us find incredible.

In the meantime, Biffa is pumping away many millions of litres of contaminated water resources from underneath and surrounding the leaking tip.

Politicians who support Biffa and its tip should remember – as you sow, so shall you reap.

Sheila Ellis, Secretary, Residents Against Toxic Site, Houghton

Error of geography

AS a regular reader of the Letters Page I know that Sunderland Council is at the receiving end of much criticism, in some cases well deserved.

But the letter by your correspondent A. Stamp (May 13) regarding the cutting of roadside grass verges is surely the result of a geographical error on his behalf.

What he probably saw on his trip to Durham on Monday, May 9, was in fact dozens of Sunderland Council workers cutting and strimming the A690 within the city limits between Houghton and West Rainton where the county boundary actually begins and ends, and a fine job they do too.

The dual carriageway from the Sunderland city boundary westward from West Rainton into Durham City on the other hand is the responsibility of Durham County Council, and is without doubt the worst example of roadside and verge maintenance in the whole North-East region.

Durham’s grass-cutting programme doesn’t start for at least another month, when the weeds have reached the statutory four foot in height.

Fred Smith, Rowantree Avenue, Belmont, Durham

Lack of vision

ONCE again this council gives itself praise and a pat on the back regarding the revamping of the seafront. So what are we getting for a million pounds? Dull grey paving slabs and wooden seats.

This kind of thinking does nothing to enhance our lovely seafront. We need planners with vision for the future of our coastline. Think what could have been done if some of the millions spent on Hendon and Sunniside had been spent on Roker and Seaburn.

We are often being told by the council that you have to pay top dollar to get the right people for the job and what do we get in return? Lumps of wood, girders sticking out of the ground and a large rock with a hole in the middle and some gates on the pier. Hardly visitor attractions.

For whoever had the idea for these wooden coffins – sorry, seats – a P45 would be appropriate. From which planet does this council find these people?

Now we will be told it’s down to the cuts. We wouldn’t need these cuts if it wasn’t for the last 13 years under Labour with their spend, spend attitude, which got us into this mess in the first place.

Now it looks like this council will be here for another four years as Coun Paul Watson has been re-elected, with backing, to pick his own deputy and Cabinet members.

So nothing is going to change for the better in Sunderland with this present council in charge.

D. J. Wright, Appley Terrace, Roker, Sunderland

Child poverty rise

A RECENT press release revealed statistics showing that pensioner poverty in Britain in 2009-10 stood at its lowest level since 1984.

Child poverty in 2009-10 stood at its lowest level since 1985 and was “significantly below” the level just before Labour came to power.”

However, “Research by IFS economists .... suggests that child poverty will increase by around 300,000 by 2013-14, driven largely by cuts to the generosity of benefits and tax credits by the coalition government.”

“We’re all in this together”?

More like “suffer the little children”.

June Turnbull, Hamilton Court, North Haven, Sunderland