Sir, - Despite Simon Warwick's protestations (D&S, Jan 24), the matters raised by Mr Piggott-Smythe concerning the Lower Ure Conservation Trust and Nosterfield Nature Reserve are far from untrue.

The LUCT will only consider concerns which it deems to be genuine.

Following its failure to cut back hedging, a local resident took this task upon himself, but was stopped by one of the trust's wardens. The LUCT's landlord, Tarmac Northern, later stepped in and engaged a contractor to complete the job.

For the last two years, Defra has had to intervene and instruct the LUCT to take steps to control the ragwort infestation. Last year, Tarmac employees pulled up ragwort on the reserve and, at the last contact with Defra, the case officer dealing with the matter stated that the LUCT had been instructed to implement a spraying programme this spring.

The LUCT stated, both to local residents and Hambleton District Council, that it would construct a footpath from the reserve's car park to West Tanfield. Not only has this not been done, but the LUCT has now applied to North Yorkshire County Council for an order under the Highways Act to prevent any right of way being established in the same area.

A drain, installed on the order of North Yorkshire County Council, to drain floodwater from adjacent, restored agricultural land, is blocked. When a compromise solution was put forward, the only dissenting voice came from the Swale and Ure Washlands Project, a subsidiary of LUCT. Owing to intransigence, this problem is likely to end in the courts.

If readers do visit Nosterfield Nature Reserve, I urge them to ask local residents for their opinions. We are not anti-nature reserves. The birds are not a problem, we just do not relish having the Lower Ure Conservation Trust at the bottom of our gardens telling us how to live our lives.




Follow procedure

Sir, - Simon Warwick's assertion that the Lower Ure Conservation Trust is willing to listen to people's "genuine concerns" is at variance with the facts.

The LUCT, which bought land at the Nosterfield Nature Reserve with funds from Yorwaste, spearheads the Swale and Ure Washlands Project. They are in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council Heritage Unit, English Nature, the Environment Agency and quarry companies. This alliance is supposed to address issues related to quarrying at its management liaison meetings. However, many of the questions asked at these meetings remain unanswered.

The LUCT, whose stated aim is to acquire more land, has used its influence to ensure that a drain, installed to return quarried land at Nosterfield to agricultural use, remains blocked. Having rendered their neighbouring land virtually useless to anyone else, they then bought it.

The redundancy of this drain is of advantage to their partners as Tarmac are planning to quarry the land on the course of the pipeline, and Yorwaste, whose tip is a few yards from the drain, is looking for an extension.

As quarrying progresses and uncertainty over de-watering of the larger areas increases, containing water (for the benefit of nature conservation) becomes more attractive.

When I submitted questions, designed to reveal the LUCT's proposals, to a liaison meeting, these questions were not addressed and were subsequently lost.

My concern is that North Yorkshre County Council follows correct planning procedures rather than being manipulated by its partners in this union of convenience.


Kiln Farm,


Our battles

Sir, - I read with interest the report "Allegations fly over Bowesfield development" (D&S, Jan 24). Apparently Thornaby councillors are unhappy with Stockton Council and feel that Eaglescliffe and Yarm are benefiting at Thornaby's expense! How?

Where are our baths, public sports facilities, youth drop in centres etc? People sometimes think that Preston Park is in our neck of the woods (pardon the pun) but it is actually in Parkfield Ward of Stockton borough

We also have problems with planning law too, so please, don't bring us into your war as, unfortunately, we have our own battles to fight.


Moor Park,