Telegraph letters

editorial image

Let’s hope this inspires many others to follow

A great big hurrah to the lady featured lately who picks up litter as she is running through the great outdoors. Let’s hope this inspires many others to follow the example.

Of course there are many other folk who have been doing this for years already, although on a less energetic scale. And on behalf of all of those wombles of the present and the future may I ask this one question about one of the biggest menaces we face. Dog owners: why do you bag your dog pooh but then leave the bag on the ground?

Joy Atkinson

Oughtibridge

Sadly most buildings haven’t any protection

Delighted as I am that the Farfield Inn has been saved at the eleventh hour, that it is in good hands and looks to be a creditable addition to the real ale trail in the fullness of time I remain bemused that it has been noted as some sort of ‘disaster’ landmark.

Perhaps the most bemusing aspect is that it is supposedly the last remaining vestige of the Great Sheffield Flood of 1864. Goodness knows how this has been arrived at but that is far from the case as anyone with the slightest knowledge of the ‘Inundation’ is aware. Sadly most of these buildings have no listing protection whatsoever.

A puzzled Ron Clayton seeking enlightment

S6

Students have fully understood the action

The last four weeks have seen a cataclysmic change in the university world. Tired of years of abuse, university staff have finally decided to strike, and demand a rethink on the cynical marketisation of higher education.

This strike has occurred in response to yet another attack on staff pensions, which the University College Union has estimated could mean a loss of about £10,000 per year for an average lecturer. People who have worked very hard for decades may end up on the verge of poverty, while private pension scheme and university top managers earn obscenely high sums of money. This proposal typifies how university staff have been exploited for a long time, with overwork and mental health issues now having become endemic. Though the axing of the pensions represents the most immediate reason for the strike, the response has been of such scale – the largest academic strike in living memory – that it has shaken the very foundation of the currently hyper-commercialised university world. The protest is about the soul and ultimate purpose of the university, to be regained as a genuine place of learning, as opposed to a business in which students are treated as customers and colleagues as competitors.

The students have fully understood the purpose of the action, and its importance for future generations, and have valiantly supported teachers. Students and staff have worked closely together on picket lines, while universities became hubs of alternative teaching, creative activities, chants, dances and emotional displays of solidarity.

In this national dispute, Sheffield has represented a tower of strength, contributing to re-establish its role at the forefront of the fight for civil liberties; a role that has been much threatened by the recent reactionary attacks on peaceful protest.

Umberto Albarella

Sheffield Green Party

Teachers don’t have time to do catch up!

Does anyone seriously think that if all families are allowed to take their children of school age on holiday in term-time, the holiday companies will hold the prices at their current low level? And no, teachers don’t have time to help children catch up on lesson content when they’re back.

That, on top of their teaching and administrative load, is a confounded imposition.

Ruth Grimsley

S10

Instead lobby council to plant more young trees

The opening sentence of Alan Biggs’ article on Sheffield Wednesday in last week’s Telegraph struck a particular chord with me, for it is clear this philosophy also applies to that other major issue affecting our city.

I refer, inevitably, to trees, and I apologise for bringing the matter up again.

The disruption caused by protestors, and its wholly avoidable cost implications, saddens me greatly. I don’t doubt for one minute their sincerity and passion, and I fully understand and to a large extent share their concerns. But if you take the longer term view it makes you realise that the tree replacement programme is actually an opportunity, not a threat.

It is an unpalatable fact that the welfare of the city’s street trees has been ignored for decades. Had the potential problem been recognised earlier, and funding available, then tree replacement should have started years ago. If, say, just 1 per cent of the trees had been replaced every year, then the whole stock would have been renewed over a 100-year period and the effect would have been barely noticeable.

But now we have a situation whereby a large proportion of the street trees planted in Victorian times are nearing the end of their life and many of the less appropriate species are causing serious damage to footways and adjoining properties with their roots. If they are not diseased, dying or dead already, they will be soon.

If we don’t seize the opportunity presented by the Streets Ahead contract to replace at least some of the trees now whilst the funding exists, and accept the undoubted pain to our own generation and the next, before the end of the century I fear there will be no street trees left at all. In my view, the protesters would do better to accept the inevitable and instead lobby the council to plant more young trees every year from now, so when the time comes for others to be removed the new ones will have some maturity.

Peter Stubbs

By email