Readers' letters - December 14

Could fracking increase the number of sinkholes?
Could fracking increase the number of sinkholes?

Sinkhole trouble may be waiting under the ground

Sinkholes on Channel 5 has been a programme full of surprises.
Not only do they occur in places like Florida, where whole lakes are created, but it seems
that beautiful Ripon is the sinkhole capital of the North of England.
Repeatedly, the programme pointed out that underground Britain is full of man-made holes, the result of hundreds of years of mining, mostly for coal, but for other minerals, too, including iron, lead and tin.
A new house, built without investigation of the site, on an area full of holes, can suddenly disappear into the ground.
People have died, and houses on the same site become unsaleable. This is the inheritance we have from the past.
What of the future?
What of fracking?
More disturbance of the geology that underlies our towns, villages and countryside.
Do we really need it?
Diana M Priestley
Address supplied

Will it be worth us leaving?


So we have a deal on phase one of Brexit – or have we? Our Government has an agreement on maintaining the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. The ‘Brexit Divorce Bill’ has been settled – or has it? We do not know exactly how much this will be until we know what else is on offer.
We have agreed to a frictionless border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This is problematic as we do not have a free trade deal at the moment. If we do negotiate a deal then goods moving across the border will be fine, but what about people? Our Government has stated the free movement of people between the EU and the UK will end when we leave the EU, so how can we keep an open border? All of the above have yet to be put before the EU.
We are often told that the EU Commissioners have all the power. They have not, they are civil servants and are there to enforce the rules set by their political masters.
So now we are moving on to talks on a trade deal with little idea of what we actually want. The Conservatives are hopelessly split on every aspect of our relationship with Europe. Many seem convinced we can create a new world where they make the rules. This will lead us into a low tax-low wage culture with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
The Labour Party is sitting on the fence as they are terrified of losing the votes of their supporters who voted for Brexit. Labour are also heading for civil war as Momentum deselects any candidate who does not subscribe to their Corbynist views.
With our two largest political parties not being in a position to agree the way forward on Brexit negotiations, I see little hope of a successful outcome to these trade talks and we will probably leave the EU with no deal and fall back on to World Trade Organisation rules where our imports and exports will be subject to tariffs.
I believe we could negotiate a free trade deal with the EU, but will have to compromise on a number of issues. We will not be allowed to remove workers’ rights, environmental standards, farming subsidies and so many other things as these would be regarded by the EU as unfair completion. We would probably also have to continue to pay into EU finances.
So when we know what it is going to cost to continue free trade with the rest of the EU, is it worth it?
Kevan Benfold
Liberal Democrat