Readers’ letters - January 4, 2012

No time limit

THE directors of coaching at Gemini Gym Club, Carolyn Devereux, Sarah Houston and Jill Pope, would like to thank the many, many parents who supported our application on the North Somerset Council website for an extension of time at our current premises.

This application has been passed by North Somerset and there is now no time limit on us.

We value the support of all our parents and look forward to many more years of gymnastic coaching.

CAROLYN Devereux, Sarah Houston and Jill Pope

Gemini Gym Club, Blackfriars Road, Nailsea

Solidarity

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I SHOULD first of all clarify that I do not work in the public sector; like Roger Stinchcombe, I work in the private sector. Unlike him, however, I have heard of the idea of solidarity.

When I reach retirement age I will not be driving around in a Rolls Royce or playing golf in exclusive clubs, as I’m sure Mr Stinchcombe likes to imagine I will be. I will be going through the same struggles as he will.

His letter highlights exactly the point I made in my original letter. Nowhere does he say anything about the obscene pensions of the bankers.

Instead of attacking those who got us into this mess, he is attacking those who, like him, are suffering the consequences. Why is he not angry at Eric Daniels, the former CEO of Lloyds TSB, whose bank had to be rescued by the Government and who has taken a �5m pension? Mr Stinchcombe seems to be perfectly happy to pay for the bankers’ failure, yet feels no pity for those victimised by their actions. To me, that speaks volumes.

ALEX BLAKE

Claverham Road, Yatton

* Editor’s note: This correspondence is now closed.

Hard decisions

I WONDER if I might offer some explanation to Mr and Mrs Hinton, and others who no doubt feel similarly on the subject of street lights, why the decision to turn them off after midnight in many places is probably a good one.

The process of climate change is only in its infancy and already the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is such that there is almost no chance of keeping the rise in temperature, averaged around the globe, to less than 2C.

The consequences for billions of people will be devastating - those who live by the great deltas of the world such as the Nile are already losing their land to saltwater invasion and poverty beckons. Africans are facing increasing droughts, interspersed with almost equally damaging floods, and the low lying islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans look likely to disappear within the next century.

Of course, turning off the street lights in North Somerset is not of itself going to stop the situation worsening but unless we in the developed world take steps like this - and others, much harder - a really bad situation will become catastrophic.

Of course, there are those who refuse to believe the science of climate change but even they might recognise simple economics. I am a parish councillor for Pill and Easton-in-Gordano and we have seen our electricity bill for street lighting double this year (without any increase in numbers of lights) and we expect further increases soon. North Somerset Council is in a similar position. The money that might have gone on other things - youth provision, for example - is being used to light up the sky.

The culture of expectation that has been encouraged over the last generation simply cannot survive the economic truths of the future and hard decisions are needed. Personally I would vote for less lighting after midnight, and more youth clubs and libraries, rather than the reverse.

Finally, I would take issue with the statement that “the world is more unsafe than ever.” There are, of course, places where that is true, but Britain is not one of them and there can have been very few populations in the history of the world who have lived as safely as we do now. Whether that situation will persist if the current problems with economies around the world persist is perhaps another question.

BOB LANGTON

Churchpath Road, Pill

Bizarre reason

I WAS dismayed to read that the request for a post office to be opened at the top of Avon Way had been rejected.

The reason given was that is was ‘due to the site’s close proximity to a former post office which was forced to close’.

This reasoning seems bizarre to say the least. What we need is a post office at the top of the town. Why not give it a try?

RON PIPER

Nightingale Rise, Portishead

Kindness

I WOULD like to express my thanks to the woman who found my handbag hanging on a trolley in a trolley park at Tesco, Clevedon, on a dark, cold and wet evening on December 14.

It contained all that I hold valuable and was returned intact to the Tesco service desk where the staff were able to identify and contact me.

This act of kindness and honesty is so greatly appreciated, especially in these financially hard times, I only wish I could thank her personally.

MRS D REED

Hillside Road, Portishead

Feral youths

DESPITE the photographs of smiling faces that appeared following Portishead’s Victorian Evening, behind the scenes there were other occurrences that the majority of the public were probably unaware of.

Namely large packs of feral youths, mostly drunk causing damage to cars (ours at �300), being abusive to the PCSOs, causing obstructions in public spaces and generally being a complete pain to the majority of people.

Either there has to be a serious crack-down on under-age drinking and/or an effort to provide them with distractions such as the fairground rides that were around some years ago. I appreciate this isn’t the answer, but it may help.

In light of the above concerns and the littered state of the High Street - not just the normal litter, but all the stuff that sticks to the pavement - it may well be time to abandon the event all together?

MIKE JOHNSTON

West Hill, Portishead

Prime targets

THE spate of lead thefts reported in the December 7 edition is typical of what is happening all over the country, and it can only get worse.

Schools and churches are prime targets and many have been victims several times. Simply replacing stolen lead with more of the same is like an open invitation to thieves to call again. The various security measures that have been tried have only limited effect and a far better solution is to use a good alternative material.

The latest lead replacement products look very much like lead from a few metres away but have no scrap value, so thieves quickly learn the difference. They are also safe to handle and are cheaper than lead.

Specifiers and users should be more willing to recognise that things have moved on from the early lead replacement materials which look more suitable for a garden shed than a high profile building. The latest products look good, work extremely well and are readily available locally.

COLIN HAWKINS

Woodhill Park, Portishead

Electricity not wasted

MS SARANN Roberts’ letter (Dec 21) about her mother’s solar panels is only partly true.

As Ms Roberts states, her mother benefits from free electricity during the day, but that is not the only benefit.

The electricity is also fed into the National Grid and the housing association which paid for the panels is paid at a good rate for this electricity.

I hope the housing association’s profit, when the panels have been paid for, will benefit all the tenants, including Ms Roberts’ mother.

Since the electricity is fed into the National Grid it can be used by anyone anywhere in the country.

Most electricity is used during the day rather than at night by industry and commerce, so the electricity from solar panels on house roofs is certainly not wasted, even if Ms Roberts’ mother and other householders do not use all their own solar panel electricity on a hot sunny day.

Electricity from solar panels is simply used along with electricity generated by any other means such as coal, gas, oil or nuclear power stations, wind turbines, hydroelectric etc.

The problem with electricity generated from fossil fuels is that the fuel will eventually run out. The more electricity that can be generated from sustainable methods means that fossil fuels will last longer.

Eventually – not in my time but later this century – all electricity will have to be from sustainable sources if our way of life is to continue.

DEBORAH YAMANAKA

Wrington Liberal Democrats

School Road, Wrington

Panels are a fair deal

I HAVE just read the recent comments of your two correspondence regarding solar panels.

Ms Roberts states that with the weather we have experienced recently they are virtually useless. She does not mention the size of the system or type of inverter.

My 3.78kw 21 panel solar system on a south facing roof was installed on November 16. To December 23 it had generated 126.9kw in 38 days, somewhat disproving Ms Roberts comments unless the weather in Wraxall is any different to the West End of Nailsea.

As I am home all day I would have used everything generated, saving about �14.56 on my next electricity bill. I also have the benefit of the subsidy 43.3p/kw and as it is assumed that 50 per cent generated by the system goes back to the grid a further 3.1p/kw on 50 per cent. For my investment this looks to be a fair deal as I should regain my investment in six or seven years with guaranteed FIT payments for 25 years.

Mr Townsend would comment that I have accepted a bribe. We are all paying extra on our energy bills, but some of us decided to get it back!

Some comment that the panels are an eyesore. So were TV aerials, satellite dishes and Tesco at the end of the High Street when they first arrived.After a while we fail to notice them.

C NEIL PALMER

Leighwood Drive, Nailsea

* Editor’s note: This correspondence is now closed.

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