Letters from The Northern Echo


COUNCILLOR Jeremy Atkinson (HAS, Mar 8) can be assured the NRPB Report suggests power lines are not a major source of childhood leukaemia, though the evidence suggests that relatively heavy average exposures are associated with a doubling of the risk of leukaemia in children under the age of 15.

He can also be assured, as we have pointed out before, that REVOLT does not object in principle to the 400kV Lackenby-Picton line and welcomes the consequent removal of the 275kV Lackenby-Crathorne-Norton line which passes near many houses.

REVOLT does, however, oppose local exposures which the new line would cause at Eston and Nunthorpe, which could be avoided by simple diversions. And REVOLT opposes the unnecessary Picton-Shipton line.

We understand Coun Atkinson's NIMBY position, but wish he would grasp that REVOLT, and objections to Picton-Shipton, pose no threat to him or to Stockton.

The new Lackenby-Picton line should be tied in to the existing line at Picton and not go on 35 miles to Shipton. For more see www.revolt.co.uk. - Mike O'Carroll, Chairman, REVOLT.


JO Gaffikin (HAS, March 6) says that, in America, children who see their heroes smoking are likely to become addicted, but not so children in this country.

So why is he complaining about banning smoking on TV and films here?

As usual, a lot of smokers know they cannot give up and will die a painful death when young, so they hope to take gullible youngsters on board to become addicted to a drug which kills more humans than all the wars of the world.

Deaths through other so-called hard drugs are minimal compared to the nicotine drug. - E Reynolds, Durham.


AS pensioners, my wife and I always got tokens instead of a bus pass so we could use them for taxi fares. Now Darlington Borough Council is scrapping the token system for vouchers.

Pensioners have been asked to return all left-over tokens to the town hall and are not being reimbursed for them. The money for the tokens was allocated to pensioners, but the council is keeping that money.

If no money is paid for the tokens, pensioners won't bother to hand them in. - R Robinson, Middleton St George.


COUNCIL housing privatisation continues up and down Britain through stock transfers to private landlords. After March 31, there will no longer be any public housing in Sunderland due to the political alliance of Labour, Liberals and Conservative councillors who supported the privatisation of all Sunderland's council housing.

Rents will soon become unaffordable to those on low incomes, due to annual above-inflation rises and other service costs, and reduction in housing and council tax benefits.

The 15,000 Sunderland council tenants who didn't vote yes to privatisation will lose their "secure" tenancy rights along with those who were misled into voting yes by the council.

Darlington Borough Council tenants should now be aware that fears raised by tenants and trade unions in Liverpool during 1998 prior to the stock transfers to private sector landlords have proven to be true. Tenants are now leaving Speke, a former council estate, because they simply cannot afford the annual rent increases and additional charges.

Many Labour voters thought a vote in 1997 would do away with punitive Conservative housing policy, but evidence proves that housing policy has not changed at all. - Kai Andersen, Socialist Labour Party, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Darlington.


ELIZABETH Filkin has a difficult enough position, attempting to monitor wayward Members of the House of Commons with regard to their "interests".

How can Tony Blair be happy with a report on Keith Vaz when it is clear he obstructed inquiries and would not co-operate with Filkin.

At local level, I'm intrigued that councillors ignore a fundamental mathematical problem. Council tax increases are consistently between five and 12 per cent, while wages and occupational pensions increase by no more than three to four per cent.

One does not need a maths degree to deduce that at some point in the future, unless this situation is checked, a householder will hand over all his net wage packet to a local council. - T Outterside, Stockton.


I WATCHED the Room 101 programme with Anne Robinson.

If a person says she doesn't like a particular race of people, then surely that is her prerogative without having to be referred to the Racial Equality Commission.

If she wanted the Geordies binning, I would not have been up in arms about it. I just would not watch The Weakest Link any more.

I certainly would not have gone wailing to the police, screaming racial prejudice.

Many people who served during the conflicts of the Second World War openly express their hatred of certain nations such as the Germans or the Japanese, but if every one of these criticisms was referred to the Commission you would not be able to get through the doors for the build-up of files.

Whatever happened to free speech? Why can't a person say what they feel any more, and what happened to our sense of humour?

The Irish, the Scots, and indeed the English, have all been criticised and made fun of at some stage, but to have it referred to the Commission is ridiculous. - Ian Ferguson, Peterlee.

WHAT a fuss over nothing. Can't the Welsh take a joke? The Room 101 programme is just light entertainment, for goodness sake.

I originate from the Midlands and my home town was voted the ugliest town in the country - and that was announced on the BBC one day.

Did the people from Walsall take offence? No. We have a sense of humour, I'm pleased to say. So has Anne Robinson. - M Newell, Bedale.