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Recorder letters: Electric cars, smart meters, water safety, diabetes and NHS

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 August 2017

PA/Press Association Images

Electric cars are not the only answer to stopping pollution on streets. Picture: PA

Electric cars won’t stop pollution

Caroline Russell, Green Party member of the London Assembly, writes:

Fixing the problem of London’s polluted air needs more than the promise of a diesel ban by 2040 – by then hundreds of thousands of people will have had their health worsened or died from causes related to polluted air. The mayor’s draft transport strategy has a specific goal of reducing the traffic. This should be the government’s focus too – along with measures that enable people to travel differently.

The important thing is not diesel scrappage for individuals to upgrade their vehicles, but providing incentives like vouchers for public transport and bike schemes to get people out of their cars and onto public transport, and walking and cycling.

We know diesel and petrol are poisoning our air but switching to electric cars won’t solve our pollution problem and allow people trust the air we breathe.

Smart meters not essential in home

Bob Rush, Monega (Residents) Association, full address supplied, writes:

Letters have been arriving to residents from EDF Energy advising them that they are required by government to install smart meters in their homes.

This is not so. The government is merely requiring energy suppliers to offer to install smart meters.

Some 20 per cent of consumers have refused the conversion, partly on the grounds of cyber security and feeling uncomfortable that their real time consumption is being read remotely allowing a third party to build a picture of personal behaviour and being able to predict when the user is out of the house.

It is galling to learn that our bills are being ‘loaded’ by £200.

Not having to let in a meter-man is for vulnerable residents perhaps worth the trade off, but for those who do not wish to go down that path it is merely a case of responding to the invitation and declining the ‘offer’. A demand for a £200 refund will not, however, go down so well.

Stay safe in water this summertime

Tye Shuttleworth, head of Inshore Boating, Sea Cadets, writes:

The school holidays are now well under way, and Sea Cadets is urging people to stay safe as it launches its Water Savvy campaign.

More than 300 people drowned in the UK last year, and more suffered life-changing injuries through near-drowning. But many of these tragic incidents could be avoided through good knowledge of water safety.

Sea Cadets’ Water Savvy campaign highlights the importance of staying safe in, on and around the water, and making others aware of the dangers. We offer water-based adventure to 14,000 young people aged 10 to 18 across the country who – along with our 9,000 volunteers – undergo specialist water-safety training. But we want to spread the message further.

There are a number of things you can do to ensure you, your family and your friends stay safe. When swimming in open water, stay close to the shore, make sure you are appropriately dressed, and let someone know where you are going. If you fall in accidentally, cold water shock can be deadly and it is vital you do not swim or try to get out. Instead, focus on floating and keeping your airway above the water.

Join walk to help combat diabetes

Roz Rosenblatt, head of London Diabetes UK, writes:

The fantastic London Bridges Challenge is looking for people to take part, have a wonderful day and help raise money for a good cause.

On October 1, thousands of people will walk 10 miles across 12 of London’s most iconic bridges including London Bridge, Waterloo Bridge and, finally, crossing Tower Bridge to raise money for Diabetes UK. It’s a family occasion and everyone is welcome. Join us and walk towards a future without diabetes.

Walking is also a great way to keep physically active and combined with a healthy diet, can help people maintain a healthy weight and reduce their chance of getting Type 2 diabetes. Find out more here, email londonbridges@diabetes.org.uk or call our Events Fundraising Team on 0345 123 2399.

Better conditions for NHS staff

Dr Gary Marlowe, British Medical Assoication (BMA) London regional council chairman, writes:

With recent figures from NHS digital revealing more than 86,000 NHS posts in England were vacant in the first quarter of this year, a rise on 10 per cent since last year, more must be done to address the recruitment and retention crisis.

In North Central and East London, almost 6,700 posts lay vacant, an increase from over 6,200 in the previous year, as thinly stretched services are being pushed close to breaking point to address the shortfall. NHS staff are struggling to manage unsustainable workloads as the inevitable toll of increasing pressure is leading to lower morale amongst staff.

Indeed, more nurses are now leaving the NHS than joining. Patient care will continue to deteriorate unless the government takes steps to incentivise staff with better working conditions. This requires investment in recruitment and resources as failure to do so will only exacerbate a worrying situation for both patients and staff.


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