Readers’ letters - December 16

A reader calls the response of some customers to the 5p carrier bag charge as 'absurd'. See letter
A reader calls the response of some customers to the 5p carrier bag charge as 'absurd'. See letter

Absurdity of 5p response

This autumn, a five pence mandatory charge was introduced for single use carrier bags.

Its aim is to reduce the number of bags that end up in landfill or scattered around our streets and rivers killing wildlife and costing taxpayers millions of pounds to clean-up.

In 2014, as a conservative estimate, some seven billion bags were issued by supermarkets in England. These bags blight our towns and countryside.

They are used on average for 30 minutes but can take hundreds of years to degrade.

Similar charges in Ireland and Wales have resulted in an 80 per cent reduction in the number of carrier bags issued. A number of European states have had similar results.

In the past month I have been told by employees in supermarkets and retail shops of the numerous complaints made by shoppers on being told they had to pay 5p for a carrier bag. Some beggar belief.

Here is a small sample:

a) A customer was in the process of buying a computer for over £1,100. On being told he had to pay 5p for a bag, he objected strongly and walked out without the computer.

b) A lady refused to buy two dresses because of the bag charge.

c) An employee was abused in a well-known supermarket by an angry customer when told that by law 5p had to be added to the bill for a bag.

The groceries were replaced and the customer walked out.

To object to paying 5p in a good cause is, frankly, absurd.

Years ago we all had our own bags.

Is it too much to ask that we do so again?

I wonder if there would be the same reaction if 5p was added to a pint of beer or a packet of cigarettes?

Dr Barry Clayton

Address supplied

Still miss my husband

It is four years now this Christmas Eve since my husband died. He had Alzheimer’s for eight years.

I miss him as much now as four years ago when he died, although realistically I had lost him those eight years before. Does one EVER come to terms with the loss of a partner ?

There is always some moment every day when I think of him and wish he were still here. May a cure be found soon for this dreadful disease and it will be beaten. I guess it is more poignant to me because of the time of the year.

Thank God for my family and my friends.

To anyone who has lost a loved one in this way I say “There will be a cure one day”. We have to hope and pray for those who still suffer, either themselves, or their loved ones.

Joan Bithell

Address supplied

Euro trains are better

I have just had a go at Belgian state railways, travelling 
from Brugge to Oostende and 

The first thing that impressed me was how clean the trains were.

They were also speedy, reliable, punctual, spacious, cheap – all the things our trains are not.

They even had wi-fi.

I am also told that German, French and Dutch state railways are just as impressive.

It makes quite a change when foreign governments realise the value of strategic industries like the railways.

It is a great pity that the British government cannot run the shambles which is our railways which still run with rolling stock built in the 1980s.

Mr Cameron take note.

Melvyne Smart via email