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XR’s wrong targets

I CAN feel little sympathy for Ms Ripley and her XR protestors and see little honour in their arrest - their ‘non-violent, peaceful protest’ disrupted the lives of many and cost taxpayers incredible sums of money in managing the protests and their fallout.

The sadness is that, despite the passion and ignoring the discussion around the darker objectives for XR’s leadership, I can see little of any thoughtful agenda as to how the country is to achieve XR’s stated ambition. The absence of any understanding of industry’s investment cycles and government and industry’s capacity to pay is lamentable.

With the benefit of some twenty years helping in the development of international standards on Green House Gas Accounting, on Carbon Foot-printing, on measures to assist in climate change adaptation, I have also been privileged to undertake capacity building projects on climate change understanding in both China and India. I can re-assure XR that they are barking up the wrong trees.

Their protests would be better taken to the steps of the embassies of countries like India, China, the US and even Australia, where the leadership in relation to reducing carbon emissions is significantly more relaxed than in the UK.

The proposed demonstration on the steps of County Hall would be laughable if wasn’t so sad - Wiltshire Council have been identified as one of the leading councils in the country in it endeavours to reduce its carbon impact.

The UK’s carbon emissions are a very small proportion of the global total and the country is in the vanguard of addressing climate change - overtly, for example, through it support for low emission policies and discretely for its support, for example, for my colleagues and I in developing techniques and good practice to encourage international industry and commerce in its efforts to address the problem.

I make no comment on the carbon footprint of the mass assembly of protestors in London and the consequential emissions from idling engines in vehicles caught up in the protestors and would exhort XR to direct their attention to the real offenders with greater capacity to move things forward.

Nigel Carter, Great Western Close, Devizes

Most are against XR

I WAS astonished to read Jo Ripley’s letter in the Gazette and Herald.

No Ms Ripley, you were not criticised by ‘some’ you were criticised by the vast majority of people asked about your organisation’s antics, ask the angry commuters who dragged your idiotic protesters on the roof of electric trains which are surely a lot less polluting than ordinary trains.

Your organisation lost most of its support in the Bristol area when your blocking of the M32 stopped a man trying to get to the Bristol Royal Infirmary to see his father before he passed away.

With your senseless protests in London your organisation actually caused several small businesses to fail, ask the owners and staff if they were happy with you, cost London untold millions of pounds, police had to drafted into London from every force in the country leaving their areas ripe for criminal activity.

The City of London had to tidy up your organisation’s rubbish left behind after you left twenty tons of rubbish according to Westminster and in one particular night six tons was left behind for the City of Westminster to tidy up in Trafalgar Square. Hardly the manners of an organisation intent on saving the Planet.

Why on earth do your organisation stage these protests in this country, one of only 23 countries in the world to set a date to be carbon neutral as early as possible? Why don’t you protest in the real polluter’s countries, China, India or closer to home Hungry and Germany (for all their fine words still building dirty coal power stations).

I expect because you know that the shocking antics you get up to in this country wouldn’t be tolerated there. Anyone thinking I’m being harsh to this worthy group should investigate them more, they actually want to take us back to the stone age.

Stuart Eels, John Aubrey Close, Yatton Keynell, Chippenham

You’re missing out

LAST Friday, the Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford on Avon staged a wonderful concert by the Bath Philharmonia. There were sparkling works by Tchaikovsky and Debussy. The highlight was a magical rendering of Tchaikovsky’s First piano concerto. The soloist was a diminutive Georgian lass called Mariam Batsashvili. Her fingers danced over the piano keys . She is well worth looking out for in the future.

What was interesting and somewhat perplexing was that most, possibly almost all, of the audience were new faces for us and must have come from Bath. This is understandable to some extent as the orchestra comes from Bath, but folk are missing treats if they don’t get to the Music Centre concerts. It’s a case of booking early for the popular concerts.

David Feather, Broadley Park, North Bradley, Trowbridge

Local rail is vital

REGARDING B. Johnson going the ahead with the HS2, another example of those who do not live in the everyday world, the rest of us live in.

What is needed regarding commuting is the old rail branch lines where possible reopened and new ones built, needed to take pressure off the clogged roads, while such as HS2 is just a showy idea. Certain business people think getting from London to the midlands is the prime need, when it is obviously local commuting.

Surely this fancy HS2 project will be outdated before and if it’s ever finished, more importantly destroying ancient woodland which take hundreds of years to mature, so planting sapling is a farce.

Also being destroyed are wildlife habitats worked on by volunteers, old family farms, villages; it’s pure vandalism. So much for talk of care for our environment, Johnson is doing as his pal Trump is doing, destroying our environment for short term gain and profit.

David Thomas, Hisomley, Dilton Marsh, Westbury

Is it time to retire?

CHURCHILL Retirement Living’s controversial plans to build a large 39 apartment block in Calne town centre were turned down a second time by Wiltshire’s Planning Committee (voting 9:2 against) on 29 January.

Both of Churchill’s applications for this development – and there is not a great difference between the two sets of proposals – have also been unanimously rejected by Calne Town Council’s Planning Committee.

Wiltshire Council have received about 200 letters of objection to these plans from local residents.

Given how unpopular and how unwelcome their proposals to build in Calne town centre are, readers might think Churchill would now gracefully withdraw from the fray, and seek another more acceptable site in the town upon which to build. I doubt it. The company is very likely to appeal against Wiltshire’s refusal of planning permission.

But is there anyone, outside the boardroom of Churchill, who thinks this would be a good place to build a large retirement living block?

Churchill have failed to engage with the local residents and ignored what the Calne Community Neighbourhood Plan says about the type of development appropriate this town centre site. If they care about Calne and respect the views of its community, and those of the Town Council, I say to Churchill, now is the time to retire.

Cllr John Boaler, Calne Town Council, Calne Central Ward (Labour), Woodland Park, Calne

Ironic storm damage

TWO weeks from the anniversary of Wiltshire Council acknowledging the Climate Emergency it was somewhat ironic to find myself at the Mayor of Calne’s Civic Service at St Mary the Virgin, Calne, and while the gathered multitude waited for the great and the good to arrive and take their seats there was the most earsplitting crack and roar as Storm Ciara brought down a pinnacle and part of the castellation on the south side of the church, where it crashed onto the lower roof shaking the building and its occupants in the process.

The Mayor’s talk focussed around three themes, the climate emergency, and the Mayor’s two charities, Dorothy House and Thrive, a charity to support the mental health of Calne’s youngsters, set up to help support them now that Conservative cuts have done away with the youth service.

So ironic on many levels, and whilst an ‘Act of God’, one could speculate on a number of related judgements from on high.

As I walked to see if I could spot the damage after the service, I met James Gray MP as he returned to his car. He told me that on his way to the church he had seen a tornado approach the spire. The Mayor Cllr Robert Merrick said that he had never seen anything like it, with the sky turning white with rain, while a garden shed was seen flying through the air.

We can all be thankful that no one was hurt.

Dr Brian Mathew, Liberal Democrat Wiltshire Cllr, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for North Wiltshire

We’re better off out

AS someone who spent 29-and-a-half years living and working and mixing with several friends in Brussels and also hearing of the “goings on” in the E.E.C. (later the E.C) through these friendships, I feel I am in a good position to comment.

Initially I was very enthusiastic as I had obtained employment before leaving the U.K. with an American company and stayed with them for five years. During this time I saw also how American companies were taking over European companies also in Britain. I also Learned thru conversations of manoeuvring in the EEC circles.

From knowledge gained through my friends all of different nationalities, I disliked the way Europe (and even more so when Britain joined the EC) was heading. For these reasons I am very glad that we have opted by referendum to leave it. Thank you Boris for what you are doing. The British Isles is open to the world once more.

Shirley Matthews, Devizes

Take diabetes survey

WE know that diabetes technology, like Flash glucose monitoring, continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pumps can greatly improve people’s health and quality of life. But too many people still don’t have access to the technology they need to best manage their condition.

Shockingly, in some areas of the UK, only 5% of people with type 1 diabetes can access Flash, compared with more than 70% in other areas. What’s more, we’re seeing growing numbers of people with type 2 diabetes self-funding Flash because the technology isn’t available to them on the NHS.

People with and affected by diabetes have told us they want to see better access to diabetes technology. And we agree. But now we want to hear about your experiences.

So talk to us. Our survey at smartsurvey.co.uk/s/diabetestech – is now live, and is open until 1 March. Whether your experiences have been positive or negative, whether you want to talk about yourself, or about someone you care for, your views will help shape our work in this vital area.

With your help, we can ensure that everyone who could benefit from diabetes technology can access it.

Phaedra Perry, Diabetes UK South West Regional Head

Hunt for heart hero

THE British Heart Foundation (BHF) will host its third national Heart Hero Awards ceremony this year.

Last year was a fantastic and emotional night which celebrated winners and nominees from different walks of life and from every part of the UK. They ranged from inspirational children to remarkable fundraisers and heroic individuals who stepped up to save the life of a stranger using CPR.

We know there are many more unsung Heart Heroes out there and we want to shine a light on their selfless achievements. This will help the BHF raise awareness of the need for continued funding to bring new hope to the seven million people in the UK who are living with conditions such as stroke, coronary heart disease, vascular dementia and diabetes.

That’s why we are calling on your readers to make a valuable nomination for the Heart Hero Awards 2020.

A ‘Heart Hero’ can be anyone from a nurse or doctor working in the field of heart disease to a young person with heart disease that has shown incredible courage and determination.

Those shortlisted will be invited to a glitzy awards ceremony in London in September, when the winners will be announced.

There are three categories open for public nominations: My Healthcare Hero, Inspiration and the Young Heart Hero Award (under 18).

To find out more about the categories or to make a nomination, visit www.bhf.org.uk/heartheroes

Entries close on February 29 – we wish everyone the best of luck.

Carolan Davidge, Interim Chief Executive, BHF

Share your stories

IT IS widely accepted that we have an epidemic of loneliness, not just among older people, but younger people too. But almost half of 22-35 year-olds we polled spend time with someone aged 65+ who they are not related to - like a neighbour or friend - every week, and turn to them for advice.

The people in our care homes, retirement living and community support services across Britain have shared their life lessons as part of our Words of Wisdom campaign (mha.org.uk/WoW), encouraging people to value the wisdom gained with age.

We’re calling on people to reach out to older people and ask for their life lessons. Even small acts like having a chat and a cup of tea with an older neighbour, can have a huge impact on strengthening bonds and bringing people together.

Sam Monaghan, Chief Executive of older person’s charity Methodist Homes (MHA)

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