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What’s wrong here?

EVERY time I drive through Seend on the A361 I find myself wondering if I’ll find that another vehicle has hit Baldham Bridge & temporary traffic lights have been put in place. On Thursday morning I found the traffic lights in place & a large hole in the stonework.

I’m pretty certain this is the third time in a year that part of the bridge has been pushed into Semington Brook. After the last accident improvements were made to the bridge approach but it seems that short of re-aligning the road & installing a modern bridge (I believe the existing one is a listed structure) then this sort of accident is going to keep on happening.

I have my own theory as to why, but it would be interesting to hear what other readers think.

Paul Putnam, The Old Builders Wharf, Honeystreet, Pewsey

Ecocide ‘an atrocity’

I WOULD like make an addendum to the article in the Gazette and Herald (Protester’s relief as peaceful protest arrests backfire).

My arrest, along with many hundreds of others, while protesting with Extinction Rebellion (XR) in London in October, was in fact made before the Metropolitan Police imposed a blanket ban across the whole of London on our right to peaceful protest. This was the ban that was later deemed unlawful by the High Court.

It does not therefore having any bearing on my arrest but to several hundred people who were arrested during the ban.

Of course the really important thing is that the alarm being raised by Extinction Rebellion and others about the climate and ecological emergency must be heeded. Our Government claims to lead the way but its own environmental audit committee accuses it of undermining these claims by paying out “unacceptably high” fossil fuel subsidies through our taxes to developing nations, locking them into fossil fuels and imprisoning us all in a dangerous future.

Ecocide, the mass damage or destruction of natural living systems, not the global protests trying to salvage a common future, is what needs to be recognised as an atrocity crime at the International Criminal Court.

Jo Ripley, Marlborough

‘It’s brainwashing’

SURELY, if a protester is arrested then there must have been a reasonably sound reason for doing so. Yet our courts decided that the arrest was unlawful in similar fashion to them deciding whether the government has acted lawfully. I am naturally unaware of the protester’s actions but, if she was party to blocking roads for an extended length of time, then surely she was acting illegally.

There must be something going seriously wrong with our justice system if our courts are not upholding the law - or is it that it is as petrified, as with most all of our politicians, of these oh so frightfully nice protesters because they have succumbed to total group think in accepting the nonsense that the world is going to be doomed in twelve years’ time! We have had similar wild predictions of doom before which have come to nought.

With the general election coming up, it is depressing to see the political parties vying with each other for the eco-vote, promising ever wilder schemes in the aim of “decarbonising”. They propose spending hundreds of billions of OUR money for this purpose. So how is reducing the 1 to 2% of the world’s manmade emissions of carbon dioxide that we contribute going to make the slightest difference to the world’s climate especially when these are being more than replaced by increased emissions from developing countries elsewhere in the world? Cost-benefit analysis anyone?

These protesters have been totally brainwashed and lost all reason of common sense; I’ve seen it at one of their meetings.

Our press and media are much to blame as they would cite recent flooding at the village of Fishlake and the bushfires in Australia as evidence of climate change which we are accused of causing. They won’t tell you that Fishlake suffered the same in 1922, 1928, ’32, ’33 and 1947 not to mention in 1886 or 1697!

They won’t tell you that the Environment Agency is hamstrung by its policy of adhering to the EU Habitats Directive and the 2006 Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act such that aquatic life of rivers and waterways is more important than people and property. As a consequence, dredging and maintenance has virtually ground to a halt. They won’t tell you of a day known as Black Thursday when bushfires raged for hundreds of miles across the state of Victoria on 6th February 1851.

But the incidence of bushfires have decreased over the years where sensible management has taken place in the form of controlled burning. There are records showing that really nothing much in our climate has changed. It is the most complex, non-linear chaotic system known to man and therefore cannot be predicted.

What is even more frightening is that our youngsters are being brainwashed in schools with seriously biassed information to the extent that some are apparently succumbing to “climate anxiety”. Parents ought not to be accepting this situation and do their own research but they will need to know where to look. “Tackling climate change” is a nonsense; tackling pollution and dealing properly with our waste products with tangible results will have my wholehearted backing.

Rowland Pantling, Broomcroft Road, Pewsey

Honouring the fallen

I AM acting on behalf of the authorities at the United Nations Memorial Cemetery, Busan, South Korea, where over 800 British Servicemen are buried.

The authorities there wish to obtain photographs of those servicemen interred there, and also of those who died but have no known grave (200 +). Copies of the photographs will be placed in the man’s records, and will also be displayed on the walls of the Cemetery Hall of Remembrance, for all time. The following are just some of the young men from the Wiltshire and Gloucestershire areas who gave their lives in Korea:

Flt/Lt John E. Young (RAF); Maj Wilfred G. Harris; Pte Brian G. Gallop; 2nd Lt Terence E. Waters; Pte George Davies; Pte Victor T. Bowl; Pte Frederick W. Bartlett; Mne Keith D. Hitchman (RM); Pte Peter D. Hone; LA/C Kenneth Goodfield (RAF) Rfn; Samuel F. Ellsmore; O/S Ronald A.J. Godsall (RN).

Any family, or friend, who lost a loved one in the Korean War 1950-53 and wish to take part in this project can send the photograph to me. If more information is required call 0161 368 5622/07467 037742/email

Brian Hough, 116 Fields Farm Road, Hyde SK14 3NP

North/South divide

IT MAY seem strange with all the rain we have had recently but the trend in recent years has been reduced rainfall in the south of England.

Swindon is now officially in a water stressed zone and the water companies are signalling lower levels in the reservoirs.

I would like to ask the candidates for election whether they think it is wise to continue to allocate major housing to the South of England? Should it go to brownfields in the North and Midlands along with funding for infrastructure there? And should all new housing in the south have water recycling built in and be energy generating as well as energy efficient?

One candidate at the hustings in Pewsey mentioned the need to balance North and South.

Charmian Spickernell, Pewsey

Nothing is sorted

AS the Clerk to Wilcot and Huish Parish Council, I am writing to clarify your article of November 14, ‘Deadline looms for comments’.

Your article implies that any proposals considered under the Community Governance Review will be set in stone on November 30. This is not the case, as the review continues well into 2020 and people will be formally consulted again during the spring.

So far, Parish Councils have only made suggestions for consideration; Wilcot and Huish PC will certainly not progress any changes without the support of those residents who would be affected.

Ruth Kinderman, Smithy Lane, Woodborough

Watery cycle route

YOUR paper last week included a map showing the proposed route for the relief road planned for the east of Chippenham. I viewed this map with some confusion and concern, as the Sustrans Cycle track is labelled as the River Marden.

Is this a cunning plan to reroute the river? I hope sufficient warning signs will be erected to save would-be cyclists from drowning.

If the planners drew up this map, then heaven help us going forward.

I also note that the funding for this scheme is from the government’s Housing & Infrastructure Fund, so the focus is not really to do with traffic improvements - it is more related to property developers being able to move in and earn the millions they have been craving for years, and never mind the environmental costs. Shame.

David Rutter, Chippenham

Why not a new town

AT the Calne Area Board on 12 November there was a presentation by Wiltshire Council on the proposal for a new road and 7,500 additional homes for Chippenham.

It quickly became apparent that the new road to the east and south of Chippenham would not be a bypass. It would be merely a ‘relief road’, designed to take the extra traffic generated by the housing development. It would just be single lane each way with a speed limit of 30-40mph and not intended for lorry use.

It was stated that the new infrastructure for the housing development would be put in place before the new homes are built. 7,500 houses is almost equal to the number we have in Calne. In our town there are 5 primary schools, one secondary school and 3 health centres. It was not clear whether Wiltshire aim to match this provision and ensure journeys to and from these are kept short and often walkable.

Also, given that many of the new homes would be sited at least 1 mile from Chippenham town centre, there were ‘aspirations’ but no promises that these areas would be served by public transport linking them to the town centre. Unless such a bus service is frequent and regular and runs in the evenings and on Sundays too, our experience in Calne shows that car owners will choose to drive.

Finally while it was hoped that many of the new residents would want to use the train to commute to work, planners need to note that rush hour services at Chippenham Station currently run at capacity.

Personally, rather than this additional housing being concentrated in such a huge development around Chippenham itself I would prefer see it either forming the nucleus of a new eco-town in the north of the county or dispersed across the wider Chippenham Housing Area.

John Boaler, Calne Town Councillor, Calne Central Ward (Labour), Woodland Park, Calne

Liberals are wrong

HAVING recently received the Liberals election leaflet, for the North Wiltshire poll, I thought I would write and correct some information contained therein.

The leaflet, distributed in Dr. Brian Mathew’s name, prints a polling projection for North Wiltshire in which the difference between the Labour and Liberal parties is 30%.

A quick look at the Twitter account of Flavible Politics, the company that provided the projection used in their leaflet, will show you that the data the Liberals have printed is based upon a national survey result being adjusted to appear as though it would reflect local voting intentions – clearly a nonsense.

Furthermore, George Rushton, the owner of the Flavible Politics organisation has issued a statement on the misuse and mislabelling of data where he states that: “I do not think a single projection of a single seat based on a single poll is acceptable as campaign literature and thus I would completely advice (sic) against its use in this way.”. He also goes on to say “I would urge no more use of our projections in hard copy or not easily amendable campaign literature”.

Electors in North Wiltshire, during the last General Election in 2017, gave the Liberals 9,521 votes, the Labour Party received 9,399 votes thus giving the Liberals a mere 121 votes more than the Labour candidate.

Perhaps the Liberals might, in future, stick to facts and not distortions in their vain attempt to gain a seat that they last won in 1865.

Incidentally I may have missed it, but I don’t recall any mention in the leaflet about his party’s student loan betrayal or their enthusiastic support for the Tory War on the Poor when they shared power with them.

Christopher Phillips, Roundbarrow Close, Colerne, Chippenham

Help a child now

WORKPLACES, schools, families, and friendship groups across the region are being urged to ‘Get Your Sparkle On’ by the NSPCC this Christmas to help protect children for whom this time of year may not be so joyful.

1 in 5 children in the UK suffer abuse, and every year, specially-trained counsellors from Childline answer calls from children suffering their darkest hour.

Sadly, 1 in 3 calls to Childline this Christmas will go unanswered, and this fundraising campaign aims to bring a light to every childhood.

Specially-trained counsellors speak to children and young people in their darkest hours every day of the year, even on Christmas Day, and £20 would help answer five calls to the Childline service.

We rely on donations for 90% of our income, and with our Get Your Sparkle On fundraiser, every sparkle, every sequin and every pound raised for the NSPCC helps protect children.

Just £3 helps the NSPCC deliver its Speak Out Stay Safe programme to a primary school pupil to teach them how to recognise abuse and get help, and £90 will provide a special assembly to 30 primary school pupils.

In the last academic year, across the county of Wiltshire a total of 20,504 children were reached by the programme, with assemblies delivered at 108 schools.

The Get Your Sparkle On fundraising initiative encourages the public to show their support for the children’s charity by organising sparkle-themed events on and around December 11.

In a unique show of support, landmarks across the country are lighting green to raise awareness of the NSPCC’s Christmas appeal.

We are grateful to all of the organisations supporting us this year, lighting up landmarks, to encourage people to get their sparkle on.

It’s easy for anyone to take part in Get Your Sparkle On this December 11 – whether you’re just wearing a sparkly jumper, or organising a sparkling bake-off at work, every single penny raised will go towards helping children and young people get the help they need this Christmas.” Get Your Sparkle On leads into the NSPCC’s Light for Every Childhood Christmas campaign.

To find out more about how to support the NSPCC this Christmas, contact search #SparkleOn or go to for a free fundraising pack.

Caroline Morgan, Community Fundraising Manager for the NSPCC in Wiltshire

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