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Bury Free Press readers' letters to the editor

Air pollution from idling cars and the Climate Emergency top the letters agenda this week.


I would like to compliment Bury Free Press for its front page last week, 18 June, with detailed article inside, highlighting, again, the serious issue of engine idling when cars and other vehicles are just parked waiting, usually with the driver present, but regularly not always the case, sometimes they’ve just gone to McDonald’s.

Idling refers to running a vehicle's engine when the vehicle is not in motion.
Idling refers to running a vehicle's engine when the vehicle is not in motion.

It is illegal, contravening the Road Traffic Act, so potentially a prosecutable offence.

The Air Quality Group on the Council regularly has this under review, and air quality tests are constantly reviewed, and educational literature and meetings held to promote and educate, like with schools, often worst affected by cars waiting to pick up children.

Big signs on lamp posts around the most affected streets, like Buttermarket would help to make everyone aware, and promote a reduction of this ignorant habit.

Nevertheless, the air pollution caused by exhaust fumes, at critical levels when passing close by, especially for young children nearer to the exhaust pipe, is extremely damaging to health, as well as a waste of fuel and money.

National Clean Air Day was on June 17, so this is now recognised as a serious issue for the nation’s health, after the death of a young girl living on a busy road in London, attributed by the coroner as caused by the excessive air pollution from exhaust fumes with their high levels of carbon dioxide, just one of the 36,000 deaths caused by the toxic fumes.

How many more will be killed in this way, as well as the serious health problems to others?

Whilst on the subject, is this something the Xtinction Rebellion lot will support?

And do something really useful?

China, India and America are supposed to produce nearly half of the global carbon dioxide, so surely they should be targeting them, or do they just prefer a softer target like the British public?

They could chain or glue themselves to these countries’ embassies, to highlight their displeasure at the continuing building of yet more coal fired power stations.

David Yates, Fornham St Martin


It is a given that idling cars create unnecessary air pollution.

Unfortunately it doesn’t always seem that councils are aware of causes and possible solutions.

In an historic town, where roads were not designed to accommodate modern vehicles, is enough being done to help alleviate the situation?

And, of course, the amount of new housing being built in and around Bury can only exacerbate the problem. The almost totally unused cycle lanes have only added to the congestion on the main routes through town.

Surely all of this can only create renewed pressure for permanent Park and Ride facilities as an obvious congestion-reducing system, encouraging (if properly priced and not treated purely as an income stream) a reduction of cars needing to come into town.

Removing the pointless cycle lanes goes without saying.

Lee Miller, Fornham St Martin


In case anyone missed it, the Government’s own Climate Change Committee (CCC) published its most recent report this week with the findings that, “new evidence shows that the gap between the level of risk we face and the level of adaptation under way has widened. Adaptation action has failed to keep pace with the increasing reality of climate risk.”

And this warning is in the first paragraph; there are many more in the report of a government failing to plan for the future well-being, or possible survival of the majority of its citizens.

Our elected representatives, while providing theatre, are in stasis and unable to multi-task as egos override objectivity and ambitions surpass abilities. Meanwhile, due to a mess they created earlier because of a lack of foresight and planning, people died unnecessarily.

Covid-19 is a manifestation of ecological and biodiversity collapse; we are in the sixth mass extinction, let’s not forget that unpalatable fact.

The latest CCC report, in statistics and graphics, is sobering if the delusion of returning to ‘normality’ is dreamed of and alarming to anyone who takes the trouble to read it and digests the implications (Jo Churchill?).

Action is required now, as the report highlights, and failure to do so will have greater costs in human and economic terms if delay is continued as it is now.

So what to do in the face of Governmental procrastination? The Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill, with its provision for Citizens’ Assemblies, is to be put before Parliament again; support for this bill is crucial if we are to get out of the inertia of the present administration on climate action. The sooner this issue is debated and decisions made by responsible adults the better. This is an emergency.

Malcolm Searle, Bury St Edmunds


One of the benefits of the pandemic is that we have come to appreciate the sounds which are drowned out by the furious pace of everyday life. There never seemed to be a moment to spare.

On a trip to Devon in 2013, we went on a trip on a river barge on the Tiverton canal, hauled by real living horse power. The barge sailed along with minimum effort and, at one point, the barge was stopped so we could drink in the stillness.

As the industrial revolution progressed, real horse power changed to the mechanised version. Then more sounds we have now lost forever; the sonorous chugging of a marine engine, the swish of hulls gliding through the water and the gentle lapping of the wash on the banks of the navigation, whilst all around the vision of a truly pastoral scene, of meadows, cattle and church spires.

Just prior to the horrors of the imposition of the lockdown, a wonderful presentation was given was given by Kelvin Dakin, chairman of the Bramford Local History Group, to a meeting of the East Anglian Practical Classics Car Club, on the private ‘navy’ of the chemical industrialist Edward Packard. This ‘navy’ of some 15 vessels, plus ‘lighters’ plied its trade on the River Gipping for some 50 years from the 1880s.

Raw materials were taken to the riverside Bramford works, and finished products ‘exported’ back down to the Ipswich Docks for eventual transhipment to larger vessels.

Pivotal in all this was the conglomeration of buildings which made up the Bramford chemical works. Edward Packard was the first to use coprolite (thought to be dinosaur ‘poo’) to produce fertilizers –his first works was located at the aptly named Coprolite Street on Ipswich Waterfront.

The River Gipping formed the Stowmarket Navigation, complete with locks, such as at Bramford, so it was logical to move raw materials/finished products using the river.

Many of the crew members were experienced sailors, and many interesting human anecdotes were also related by Kelvin. The story also emerged of the wreck of one of the lighters being visible at low water, and another which was converted into a house-boat and moored downstream from Pin Mill.

Over time, however, competition from the railway (there was a rail siding in the factory complex) helped to secure the demise of the private ‘navy’. Eventually also the factory complex, which became part of the Fisons Group, closed.

The remaining parts of the redundant factory, including the unique North Warehouse, were destroyed in recent years by a devastating fire. The buildings, on the Victorian Society’s ‘At Risk’ register, now only exist in the form of a hideously contorted mass of fire- blackened girders, staring starkly skywards in the sunshine.

An informative talk which I thoroughly enjoyed, which was however tinged with sadness for a world of tranquillity now, with the impending return eventually of ‘normality’, lost forever.

Graham Day, Stowmarket


Saturday, June 26. marks Armed Forces Day, which receives a great deal of attention.

I would like to draw attention to all those unarmed forces, poorly funded and under-resourced, working throughout the world on conflict resolution, to prevent wars and to bring about reconciliation. Organisations such as Turning the Tide and Peace Direct have many examples of successful intervention, working with local people, in the UK and abroad – www.peacedirect.org/ and turningtide.org.uk

The American theologian Stanley Hauerwas said: “As long as it is assumed that war is always an available option, we will not be forced to imagine any alternative to war.”

Armed conflict is the failure of politics and diplomacy. Our Armed Forces can be best protected by all of us – politicians, media and ordinary people – working for peace.

Avril Dawson, via email

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