DUE to the current situation with Covid-19, the Royal British Legion and local councils have no plans for parades for this year’s Remembrance Sunday. They do however realise that many will may wish to pay their respects as they usually do on Remembrance Sunday – especially as it is the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

As Poppy Appeal organiser for Richmond, I have been advised by the Legion that poppies will only be available in large supermarkets and Legion volunteers are not to be involved in poppy selling this year as many of the volunteers are in the vulnerable group for Covid.

I do have wreaths for laying in Friary Gardens on Remembrance Sunday, where a controlled short service and wreath laying will take place at 11am on Sunday, November 8. People attending will be asked to maintain social distancing.

Wreaths may be pre-ordered and collected as of today. All wreaths are £20 each and payment must be by cheque, paper money or bank transfer as I am not allowed to handle cash.

There will be no ceremony at the Green Howards Memorial this year, but individuals can place a wreath at the memorial at their own convenience if they so wish. They will be secured to the fencing later.

To order or for further details contact Bob White 01748 824313.

Bob White, Poppy Appeal organiser, Richmond.

Boho X

ARE the good people of Middlesbrough getting taken for a ride? I didn't realise the town had so much spare cash to waste on laughable skyscraper projects (Echo Teesside edition, Aug 29).

We learn the original 260ft Boho X construction has now been shelved at no small cost. It is to be replaced by a baby Boho X, a cheaper mini-me version of the original.

Architects must be buzzing at the prospect of securing yet another big payday courtesy of moneybags Middlesbrough.

Artists, pencils poised, can make a right dog's dinner of these designs knowing full well they will never reach fruition.

We have a £2m a year loss-making airport right on the doorstep, yet the original design boasted a

rooftop helipad. This has been dropped in favor of a rooftop swimming pool and bar.

Middlesbrough the new Majorca? The blast from the River Tees may have other ideas.

Then there's the 60,000 square feet of office space with the first tenant already lined up – The Invisible Man.

The post-apocalyptic overgrown vegetation design with creeping plants clung to the sides of the building does attempt to be cutting edge. And what about the private orchard?

Middlesbrough council has an amazing sense of humor. They ''always look on the bright cider life''.

Stephen Dixon, Redcar.

Back to school

TEN years ago the Environmental Audit Committee declared: “Air quality must be a higher priority for Government. Poor air quality reduces the life expectancy of everyone in the UK by an average of seven to eight months and up to 50,000 people a year may die prematurely because of it.”

After eight years Public Health England in November 2018 reiterated that dealing with poor air quality “is a priority for the government” and committed to reach half the WHO guideline levels of fine particulate matter by 2025 (seven years to achieve half the target?).

In amongst their recommendations PHE stated: “People can also reduce pollution by turning off their engines when waiting, especially when other people are nearby or when waiting for children during the school run.”

Stationary idling is illegal, the Road Traffic Act enforcing rule 123 of the Highway Code. An idling engine can apparently produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion.

However in October 2019 it was reported that the government was likely to shelve proposals to give councils greater powers to fine drivers who leave their engines running, and focus on increasing the uptake of low-emission vehicles.

Air pollution has been linked to lung disease, heart attacks, mental disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and now Covid-19. The Office for National Statistics found “strong correlations between atmospheric levels of toxic air and an increased risk of death from the virus". So the figure of 50,000 premature deaths in the UK in 2010 [equating to 83 in Darlington] will now have increased.

Last autumn I warned of adults waiting outside the Mowden primary schools up to 30 minutes before school closing time, sitting in their cars with engines idling. And buses waiting at other times outside these schools and QE Sixth Form Centre often had their engines running. Earlier this year in the Mowden area I saw taxis with their engines running; and people visiting friends, carefully keeping two metres apart, with their cars standing emitting life-threatening exhaust emissions – and this is before the cold weather when Covid-19 is likely to become more virulent.

After ten years’ notice, what has our council and the Government done to prevent the deadly effects of air pollution?

Michael Rudd, Darlington.

Common sense

I HAVE been doing research into the debate about singing the lyrics of certain songs at the Proms, and the only reason given by organisers is coronavirus rules and regulations.

It seems that the "blame political correctness" types haven't done research into the motives and need reminding that the Royal Albert Hall is not immune to any regulations, and we are in a global pandemic that is spread by water droplets that we breath out.

Whatever happened to "coughs and sneezes spread diseases"? It is clear common sense was the motive.

Can I recommend that people who like blaming the PC brigade – of which I have yet to meet anyone who claims to be a member – try and find out what the motive is from the people they are blaming? You might be more believed if you did.

Iain Mahoney, Shildon.

Soft sentences

AS reported in Saturday's edition of The Northern Echo (Aug 29), three men from the North-East were recently sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court for masterminding a large scale conspiracy to supply cocaine across the area.

The gang's leader was awarded a seven-year term in prison, whilst the other two gang members each received suspended sentences. Last week it was also reported that a man from the UK was sentenced in a Singapore Court to 20 lashes followed by a custodial sentence of 20 years, also for dealing in drugs, which to me is a far more appropriate sentence for this heinous crime.

Obviously, the Singapore authorities are keen to deter others from becoming drug dealers and have adopted an appropriate robust sentencing policy to fit the crime for those who deal in illegal drugs, which is in direct contrast to the UK legal system which does little to deter anyone from undertaking any form of criminal activity. Well done Singapore.

M A Kerr, Darlington.