Villagers stranded if they lose Banbury bus service - freedoms for motorists - there is value in our sewage - Letters to the Editor

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Villagers will be stranded if a bus service is axed - should we give total freedom to motorists - and we should see the value in our sewage. Letters to the Editor

Bus service is vital for many

I am extremely concerned that the 200 Daventry Banbury bus service will be discontinued from April 4. I am registered partially sighted and this is my lifeline source of transport for the following activities in Banbury: Royal Voluntary Service day centre volunteering and personal training; Cornhill Community Centre – visiting older people; Probus – business group, committee member; Spiceball – gym membership.

Without a public transport service I can do none of these activities.

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I understand that even prior to lockdown this service was only achieving 85% of revenues and since then it has achieved a loss of £185,000 last year – hardly a typical year. I have a concession which I do use, sometimes. However I do also choose to pay the full fare sometimes. In practice, I know that the council only pays 30p per fare compared with the full fare of £4. If I had been approached I would happily have paid the full fare.

I use the service ten times each week and so would have contributed £2,000 per year and £24,000 over the 12 years that I have used the service since losing my eyesight with a stroke. During that 12-year period the council has paid only £1,800.

There are a number of people who use the service who will lose their jobs, Kay and Jim, Bernard and his wife from Woodford, also others such as Mark whose business will be at risk.

George is registered blind, plus guide dog, David, registered as autistic and disabled. All of these people rely on this bus for independent travel. Being able to get out is positive for their social life and mental health, as well.

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At a time when the Conservative Government is encouraging the use of local buses this seems to be a prime target for a subsidy. Alternatively, the service could be run with fewer buses, say one at peak time early morning, one midday and one at the end of the working day. Currently there are 12 services on week days and 11 on Saturdays. A smaller minibus could also be run on this route.

Tim Boddington by email.

Freedom not always good

Open letter to MP Victoria Prentis.

I’m sure you’ll know the A361 between Bloxham and South Newington. Just as you come into the village, the speed limit changes from 50mph to 30mph. This afternoon I was driving back from Bloxham and slowing down as I drove into the village.

There was a line of slow moving traffic coming round the bend in the opposite direction. Those bends have double white lines down the middle for obvious reasons. A car pulled out across the lines, trying to overtake one of the slower vehicles in front of it. Luckily, I had slowed down, and the driver of the car – also luckily – changed their mind about overtaking. I was pleased about that, as you might imagine.

Now, in this brave new world in which we lose all Covid mitigations, should we also remove the double white lines from the middle of the road so that drivers can exercise their freedom and take personal responsibility for their actions? And should I, as an older (more nervous?) driver in a smaller car, choose not to drive at all in the interests of my own safety?

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I do apologise for the metaphor, but I’m sure you’ll understand what I – and many others – are saying.

Edwina Lawrence, South Newington.

Putting sewage to good use

Weirdly sewage has been called a renewable resource. Dr George McGavin and Dr Zoe Lauchlin visited Minworth sewage works near Birmingham (BBC4, February 22). The inflow contains faecal matter and urine plus household detergents. Energy and minerals can be reclaimed from this stinking mess. Urea contains much nitrogen.

First sieves rotate and extract larger objects. The rest is channelled to settlement tanks. Heavy matter sinks and grease floats to be scraped off. Heavier particles collect in a collection tank below; cleaner sewage water filters over and on to the next stage.

The sludge goes to biodigester silos. Bacteria are added: they feed on the sludge and give off methane. The methane is piped off and supplements natural gas. Biomethane is a low emissions fuel and could power buses and HGVs.

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A 2020 UN report stated that the planet’s soils are being degraded. Wood shavings replace water in compost toilets: pathogens disappear after two years, giving off CO2 and water; the residue locks nutrients into humus. Similarly, dried solids from the biodigester are treated: they are full of nitrogen and phosphorus – black gold to replenish and condition soil.

Carol Broom, Banbury.

If you have an opinion on an issue in the news, or personal to you, send your letter in an email to [email protected]