Readers’ letters - March 11

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People and the land – we need each other

England’s green and pleasant land is under an increasing multitude of pressures, ranging from climate change to housing. It’s time to manage the land we have right now, to ensure that we have homes, food and well-being for our ever increasing population.

People count, people matter. People and the land need each other. CPRE has released a new pamphlet, Landlines: Why we need a strategic approach to land. The pamphlet brings together experts from a wide range of sectors to argue that England’s fragmented approach to land use, with different organisations responsible for different issues, just isn’t working.

Architect Sir Terry Farrell, chairman of the Woodland Trust; Baroness Young; and UK Committee on Climate Change chairman Lord Deben are among those arguing for a more joined-up way of deciding how to use England’s limited land supplies.

We can’t keep making big decisions in isolation without considering the bigger picture. We need sustainable development and to get that we need a coherent Land Use Strategy to ensure we optimise the use of land we have to maximise those three key sustainable factors – social, economic and environmental. We talk about brownfield first. Use up what we have before ploughing up food-producing land. It doesn’t happen in practice though. It’s less expensive and more profitable for developers to use green field land.

As Mr Hammond manages the country’s finances, we want to see the same emphasis on managing the country’s land for this generation and those of the future. With a little joined-up thinking and a land use strategy, it can be done and it should be done.

Jules Marley

CPRE

Punishing our

entrepreneurs

For a party supposedly of “wealth creation”, it is difficult to see how the Tories could present their Spring Budget as such. It has been described by some as “boring” yet will have detrimental effects to some 2.45 million self-employed people, entrepreneurs, who represent the future of the UK.

The Chancellor has increased National Insurance Contributions (NIC) to the self-employed by two per cent , which will add around £1,000 to their tax bills.

These are the very people that we should be encouraging rather than discouraging as we prepare to leave the EU.

He said it was fair, as the self-employed enjoyed the same services as those who are employed, but he did not mention their risks, responsibilities, as well as the fact they do not get holiday or sick pay.

While they are happy to hand out over £13bn every year in overseas aid, in many cases to corrupt regimes, this Tory Government appears determined to punish its entrepreneurs.

How can they be trusted on anything?

Philip Griffiths

North West President, UKIP (UK Independence Party)

Railway guards are undervalued

I write in response to Northern Rail’s proposed introduction of Driver Only Operation (DOO).

The following are some of the questions to which I feel rail passengers deserve answers (from Northern Rail or Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate).

Who will assist the many wheelchair users to board and exit trains? If the driver has to assist, trains will be delayed. If the driver is taken ill, who will be present to arrange emergency service cover?

Many railway workers are qualified in first aid and they do a speedy and excellent job when passengers are taken ill, who will do this?

Many station platforms are on a curve, how can the driver see a train from the cab to ensure all doors are clear of users? How can a driver see all doors in foggy conditions? Many new railway users are reassured by the presence of a helpful guard.

Guards provide an excellent service to many rail users, they ARE the railway and are very much undervalued.

CV Barton

Address supplied