Readers' letters - December 28

A correspondent suggests greener options which would, he says, reduce air pollution and congestion
A correspondent suggests greener options which would, he says, reduce air pollution and congestion
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We need better and safer alternatives to driving

The Green Party is not calling for a car-free world but we want to rapidly reduce the choking transport pollution that contributes to seven million premature deaths a year across the globe. “Polluter pays” is the principle behind Green Party policies, using taxes to ensure the cost of different types of transport reflect their social and environmental impacts.
Currently the NHS is at breaking point, picking up a massive bill for pollution-related health issues.
We hope that a rapid transition to electric or hydrogen-powered cars will make a big difference, although they are not pollution free.
We would like to have seen the Chancellor increasing incentives to help people take diesel vehicles off the roads in the recent budget.
Overall, people urgently need better public transport and safer cycling and walking options so they can choose to leave their cars at home.
This would reduce congestion for all road users while improving dangerous air pollution and road safety.
Martin Phipps
via email

UK’s attitude is behind the times
Now that we are on the brink of leaving the EU, it seems we as a nation have never regarded ourselves as true Europeans. Our weakness with foreign languages is legendary and I suppose this is a symptom of our reluctance to engage with our near neighbours.
The history of Europe is a chequered one but past enmities between France and Germany have not prevented these countries from burying their hostilities. We, on the other hand, tend to emphasise and dig up our differences.
True, we go abroad a lot but chiefly to the sunnier south Mediterranean, and we export our own customs and ways when we holiday or settle over there.
Our tendency to stand alone and plough our own furrow is behind the times in an increasingly inter-dependent world. It is an ingrained outlook and it’s probably too late to change now. Unfortunately we are swimming against the tide of history and it will go down as one of this country’s biggest blunders.
Don Burslam
Address supplied

Uncontrolled migration

The vast majority of people who voted leave were not concerned about trade or the customs union.
Immigration and the population explosion affecting everything in this country – from the NHS to all public services being overloaded –was the trigger for the 17 million vote.
I, and none of my contemporaries, can remember ever being asked if we wanted uncontrolled migration. This was imposed on this country without any thought of the consequences.
The housing crisis is a direct result of too many people wanting a place to live.
Barrie Crowther
via email

Let’s not carry on screaming

How has it come about that the seemingly acceptable reaction to anything at all these days, whether it be expected or surprising, is to scream?
I remember when this was an indication of fright, and the normal response to anything pleasant or a job well done was “jolly good show”. All right, maybe this is slightly tongue in cheek, but the current habit of screeching seems to me similarly ridiculous.
When Prince Harry recently appeared in public with his fiancee Meghan Markle for the first time, the reception from the crowd when the couple alighted from their car was a unanimous screech.
Now this behaviour is possibly understandable for pop stars, but for royals?
Similarly, when Joe McFadden won Strictly Come Dancing, he expressed the usual sentiments about not in his wildest dreams did he think he could win etc, whereas his professional partner Katya Jones seemed unable to utter a single word, instead screeching at the top of her voice. Oh dear!
Susan Towle
via email