Why don't Highways and utilities talk before digging up our roads? Banbury Guardian Letters

Not long ago the road past my house had become full of potholes, so at great expense it was completely resurfaced with a 7cm layer of tarmac which pleased the local residents.
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Just recently a trench was dug through it for a new water main. Now yet another trench is being dug for a new broadband service, what's next – underground electricity.

Why oh why don’t highways authorities and the utilities liaise so that expensive resurfacing can be delayed until planned underground works are completed? This problem is occurring nationwide and costing millions when it could so easily be avoided.

We are constantly being told that local authorities are short of funds resulting in more increases of our taxes with less and less being provided and one cannot help but notice that our road drainage is not being properly maintained with many of the drain grids having weeds growing through them because they have not had the silt removed.

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Brian Cannon Great Bourton

Jason Hickel argues that it isn’t humans as such that are wrecking our planet, but economic capitalism that relies on continued GDP growth (see “Less Is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World”).

The Global North pretends that we can make growth “green” and decouple growth from environmental impact. Scientists reject this.

GDP can be decoupled from emissions by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, but decarbonisation can’t be achieved quickly enough to meet the Paris targets if high income countries continue to grow at current rates. Growth invariably increases demand. High standards can be achieved with less energy and resources than rich countries currently use if it is based on need rather than greed.

Jason asserts that “the economic crisis is being played out along colonial lines”. Rich people in the North consume far more resources per person than do individuals on average in the Global South. Much production is offshored to the South where labour is cheaper, and the North fails to count the carbon involved in producing imports as their own consumption. More of the damage is felt in the South – that is vastly less responsible for producing the problem – “while Southern communities are at the same time drained of the resources necessary for development and meeting human needs. This system perpetuates mass poverty and exacerbates global inequality.”

Those on subsistence level bear no responsibility for the climate crisis. The rich bear the lion’s share. Tax millionaires and billionaires mercilessly and reduce inequality: sufficiency for all rather than luxury for the few. If you want to reduce immigration help Southern countries solve their problems and development sustainably.

Carol Broom, via email

Holidaymakers and locals faced record heat waves in Spain, Italy and Greece this summer. It’s another wake-up call that our world is getting hotter and will get even hotter.

The Government’s progress towards meeting its own target for reducing carbon-dioxide gases is much too slow, say the experts. But Rishi Sunak has given the go-ahead to a new coal mine in Cumbria and more oil exploration in the North Sea.

John Gummer, out-going Tory chair of the committee spells it out. “In fighting climate change, we are not only averting disaster, we are building a better, cleaner, fairer world.”

John Tannerm, Former Lord Mayor of Oxford.

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