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Recorder letters: parking, Gatwick Flyer, planning, hate crime and more.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 October 2019

The Gatwick Flyer ceased trading from Wednesday, October 2. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

The Gatwick Flyer ceased trading from Wednesday, October 2. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Too many rules make profit impossible

Doug Brown, Coram Green, Brentwood, writes:

I don't wonder Gatwick Flyer ceased trading. There will be more. The rules, regulations and bureaucracy make profit impossible. Speed cameras, road humps, driver hours, DVLA, VOSA, exhaust emissions. I could go on. I was a mechanic for five years, a bus driver for six years and a coach driver for 18 years.

I just had to get out of the industry as the bureaucrats were starting to do my skull in and if I had to do any of these jobs today, I would expect to be sectioned under the mental health act.

A bus driver is the only job where you cannot eat, drink or go to the toilet when you want to. Maybe the bureaucrats should turn the driver's seat into a commode.

All residents should have a say on parking review

Terry F Matthews, LLB (Hons), Clement Way, Romford, writes:

Havering Council have started a consultation regarding parking, it is stopping the vast majority of residents having a say.

Allowing only one response per dwelling is a disgrace. What happens when residents disagree? Who gets to fill in the questionnaire?

The democratic way would be to allow all those shown on the voters register to express their view but the Havering Council administration has shown by its actions, muzzling the opposition in debates for example, that democratic is something they cannot claim the council is.

The consultation is far from comprehensive and I would challenge the council to publish their reasons for refusing residents of this borough their democratic right to have their say on any subject affecting them and other residents.

Leading questions designed to aid specific agenda

Cllr Stephanie Nunn, chairwoman, Hornchurch Residents' Association, writes:

The much awaited parking consultation finally arrived on October 11 after announcements by Cllr White that it would be a letter sent to all affected residents during August and September. Instead it is an online "consultation" preventing many users from knowing about it or indeed engaging with it.

Paper copies are to be left in libraries - libraries that are only open part time and again not used by everyone. Once again a broken promise.

On to the 'consultation' itself, residents have written to us to express their dissatisfaction, comments have included: 'there is no free form text for comments or questions about what we would like to see' and 'a clever use of leading questions to construct a response that aids a specific agenda'.

Apparently the aim is to find out what problems residents and businesses have in parking locally.

Unfortunately this question has not been asked.

The main questions appears to be "If restrictions were brought into neighbouring streets which may cause problems in your street, would you then consider supporting some kind of parking restriction on your street?" The obvious answer to this question would be yes and therefore the administration will be telling us next how most residents would consider parking restrictions in their roads.

Parking restrictions that have been requested by residents have been put on hold for over a year waiting for this 'consultation'.

Another promise stated by Cllr White is that a CPZ will not be implemented in a street if the majority of residents do not want it. Let's hope he sticks to this promise.

In the meantime please engage online if you can consultation.havering.gov.uk/coo/parking-review/ or go to the library to collect a form or get in touch with us if we can help you.

Closing date is November 22.

Local authorities obliged to follow planning laws

Cllr Jason Frost, former chairman, Strategic Planning Committee, writes:

You may also want to watch:

In his recent letter 'The high cost of super-towers' my colleague Cllr David Durant once again assails these pages with his idiosyncratic approach to dealing with reality.

According to his analysis, Havering Council should simply ignore directions from central government and the mayor's office with regards to housing delivery and do as we like instead. But this is not how the planning system, or local government works (as much as we may all wish it did).

Local authorities are obliged by law to follow centrally determined planning legislation, in turn London local authorities (as well as those in Manchester, Birmingham and other city regions) are provided with a legally determined framework for development. Each local authority must then itself produce a Local Plan which takes account, in Havering's case, of both the national and London-wide planning framework. Failure to follow these directions leads to the planning functions of the council being removed and handed to the Mayor of London.

In advocating that the council disregard the law, Cllr Durant is essentially arguing for our planning functions to be taken over by the mayor of London.

His group have form in this area, just before the last round of local elections representatives within his party voted down a planning application for the Beam Park development in which the committee had succeeded in negotiating a reduction in the height of the proposed blocks.

This decision was challenged by the mayor's office, and the application was granted on appeal.

But having taken over the development, the mayor's office was able to renege on the negotiated terms and actually increase the height of the blocks above even what they had been in the initial application.

The intensification of the Dovers Corner application is the direct produce of the IRG's political naivety.

Would it not be more beneficial to engage constructively with the planning system rather than simply riling against it?

Definition of hate crime is extreme

Cllr David Durant, Crime and Disorder committee, writes:

As part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week, Supt Waheed Khan (Rec October 18) says the Metropolitan Police will show zero tolerance to "hate crime"! This is alarming because the Home Office definition of hate crime is extreme, as it lumps together "love crime", "not very friendly crime" and "not really a crime" with "hate crime"!

This means for example, the police are required to prioritise and investigate minor (don't call me fat) spats on social media when with limited resources they should be focused on dealing with real crime, such as with knife crime! It's also alarming because zero tolerance means the police will have to investigate Havering Council leader, Cllr Damian White for "hate crime"!

This is because according to Home Office funded and council promoted Stop Hate UK, the "perpetrators of hate crime are 96 per cent white" and the "Brexit referendum produced a 41pc increase in hate crime focused on Muslim, LGBTQ and BME communities"!

This means according to Stop Hate UK the council leader is responsible for an increase in "hate crime" because he's white and supports Brexit! I've asked Cllr White whether he agrees with their claims and if not why he continues to promote Stop Hate UK, but as yet no reply!

Oven effect sums up our climate change plight

David Hughes, media officer, Barking, Dagenham & Havering Green Party, writes:

Councillor Durant (October 11 Opinion) thinks that declaring a climate emergency is the language of "snake oil salesmen". It's a precious level of irony that the oil sold by the fraudsters and con men was petroleum based. Perhaps a more contemporary term would be "crude oil salesmen" for the current lobbyists, fraudsters and funders of climate change misinformation.

The Cllr goes on to hedge his bets suggesting it isn't happening and if it is happening it isn't due to "man-made carbon emissions which only make up 16 parts per million of the atmosphere".

It's not 16ppm of CO2 in our atmosphere it's about 134ppm from human activity and is currently about 414ppm in total and rising and it stays in the atmosphere for 100s of years.

It seems such a small amount in the atmosphere compared to the overall volume and I think the Cllr finds it difficult to comprehend that it could be so potent. But there are countless examples of a small amount of insulation keeping things warmer or cooler. A space blanket is about 50µm thick and has fantastic insulation properties.

The outside of an oven is cool to the touch including the double glazed door even though the temperature inside can be 200ºC. There are plenty of other examples that all fall under the councillors much vaunted "common sense" criteria.

Although earth's atmosphere extends to about 500km, the bulk of it is within 10km of the surface.

If we were able to layer the gases in the atmosphere we'd have a four metre (414ppm) layer of CO2 at ground level. Then 9.9km of the rest. It doesn't seem very much CO2 though does it!

However, CO2 absorbs all the infrared and the rest (with the some small exceptions) plays no part in warming and are invisible to solar and infrared radiation.

It's as though they're not there. At any point above the earth there is 4m worth (much more actually but for simplicity) of CO2 absorbing and emitting infrared radiation in all directions but at least half is back to earth. It is a very good insulator.

Insulation in an oven stops the heat from escaping so that the oven can get hotter and hotter.

The "oven effect" sums up our climate change predicament much better than the "greenhouse effect".

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