Litter problem
MY husband and I collect litter in Grafton Lane when we can.  
We cleared all the litter in the top half of the lane on July 1 and again on July 29.  Each time we pick up the litter we put up a polite notice thanking others to help us keep the lane litter-free. There is also have a public anti-litter sign at the beginning of the lane, one of 12 put up by the council in the parish to support an earlier local litter campaign - the other 11 have been stolen.  
In spite of this, and that we don’t think we’re the only ones picking up litter here, in only four weeks, four bulging bags of litter had accumulated, most of this picked up in the first 150 metres from the junction with the A49.  The rubbish consisted of a staggering 68 drinks cans, plastic bottles and numerous crisp, sweet, and fast food containers.
If this rubbish was left to mount up over a year at this rate, approximately 800 drinks cans and a huge amount of other fast-food packaging would be dumped in this small stretch. That’s 5.5 cans per metre of lane.  Presumably people are driving just out of town to consume their takeaways and chucking the rubbish out of their car windows.  
Each litter item represents an act of thoughtlessness for the beauty of our public spaces and countryside.  
In town the problem is as bad.  
For instance, the underpass from Whitecross to the town centre which people have no option but to go through to get across the A49 is a thoroughly depressing place usually full of soggy litter, chewing gum and looking so uncared-for.  A man who was collecting litter and steaming off chewing gum here recently, said he was employed by a project financed by local businesses, because the council are supposed to do the job but don’t keep up with it.  We know that council finances are fully stretched because of government cut-backs but surely it would not be beyond the wit of man, and our council in particular, to find creative ways to keep our public spaces attractive and litter-free.
Some ideas Herefordshire Council could consider:  
• an anti-litter publicity campaign along the lines of Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Don’t Be a Tosser’ posters which could be displayed all around the county.
• a litter awareness project for schools with someone trained to go into all our schools to get young people into good habits on binning litter and recycling at the start of their lives - children will often influence their parents too.
• employing a litter-warden who is empowered to issue on-the-spot fines to litterers to regularly patrol the town centre in a high-viz jacket. People would soon catch on that littering doesn’t pay and is socially unacceptable.
• promote a public debate inviting people to share ideas about how the problem could be solved. Perhaps the Hereford Times could lead on this? 
None of these ideas would cost vast amounts of public money and if done effectively could result in a large net saving because, by changing our local culture of littering from one of resigned putting-up-with-it to an active zero-tolerance, the huge cost of picking up after the litterers could be brought right down.  Our national culture towards other anti-social behaviours such as drink-driving and dog-fouling has been changed by focused public campaigns.  It is surely time we showed the same determination to eradicate the massive problem of littering.
Grafton Lane

In a nutshell
MR Johnson talks of responsibility of parliament verses the people and makes such an important observation, one I have more than a number of times expressed in the readers’ column - the fact that only a third of the population ever vote.
He reminds us of our parliamentary democracy in which decisions are taken in our Parliament, not directly by the “people” however it is the people who elect parliament and MPs are supposed to represent their constituents, that’s how democracy works.
The important issue here is that the only people who have a legitimate say are the voters.
In our democracy if one candidate gets just one vote than the other, he or she is deemed the winner.
The fact remains that 1.27 million more people voted to leave than stay. I think that was decisive. If you do not vote you have no say- it is as simple as that - that’s democracy in a nut shell.
Cllr Charles Nicholls

Contact us
ON July 16, I went with friends to see the evening events of the World Para Athletic Championships at the London Stadium In Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Sitting behind us was a lovely family; mum, dad and two daughters, aged about eight or nine and the other five to six. Just a guess on ages. The younger girl was amused by Whizbee the games mascot.
The family had to leave at 9.30pm, they told us they had a long journey home to Hereford. 
I think they lived at either Ross or Hay on Wye. We bade the family farewell and a safe journey home.
When the time came for us to leave, we gathered up our bags and found something which we think belonged to the girls who sat behind us.
Please could you publish this letter in the hope that this family just might read the letter and I will be able to reunite the girls with their lost item.
Thank you,

Silent Ben
A damaged destroyer can’t hide;
No incompetence has been implied.
            It’s not very large;
            It’s not sabotage,
But I’ve now got a hole in my side!
Could somebody please tell me when
We’ll next hear the bong of Big Ben.
            Enquiring around
            You’ll be tolled(!) that the sound
Should be crowned one of London’s Top Ten!

Vegan answer
GREAT to see campaigners trying to let the public know about Cargills in Hereford.  
The spokesperson for Cargills tells us that the chickens are reared to the highest welfare standards. They are Red Tractor farm assurance standard. 
Having seen the chickens in the crates, they looked poorly and stressed. 
There were protests around the country last week at Tesco stores who are supplied by Hogwood pig farm. This farm is also Red Tractor assured . The pictures of the conditions the pigs were living in were appalling.
Shoppers don’t be assured by the Little Red Tractor assurance.  
I agree with the campaigners the only way to be sure you aren’t exploiting farm animals is to go Vegan.

High welfare?
CARGILL claim high welfare standards for the chickens they ‘process’ that are ‘reared responsibly’. 
Responsible to whom? 
Red Tractor (and RSPCA come to that) farms are repeatedly found to be inhumane so those ‘guarantees’ mean nothing. 
How can 1.6 million chickens be killed every week in one factory with any degree of humanity? 
I dare say Cargill are confident in the ‘traceability’ of their supply chain but what does that mean for the chickens? Diddly squat I’d say. 
Nothing in their statement gives me any confidence that their chickens have had anything but the most abject existence with a horrid end.
Lydes Road

Get best deal
I WAS surprised and even more pleased to wake up to the result of the referendum in June 2016. 
All be it that it was a small percent majority, for which we have to thank Nigel Farage for pushing David Cameron into giving us a vote.
Tony Blair promised a referendum until he was voted into government, then he reversed on his promise. He went the way of all previous Prime Ministers as he bowed to the will of the EU dictators, as each Prime Minister signed us up to evermore undemocratic treaties. 
Christine Forrester (July 20) says ‘The EU is not perfect, we can work with them to get changes’. 
Well David Cameron tried that and came back empty handed!
I wait like Roy Mack (August 3) for Christine Forrester to enlighten us of ‘recent developments’! We could tackle the real problems she highlights if we are no longer pouring our money into the black hole that is the EU.
As an island, our fishing industry was decimated, losing many their livelihoods. Our farmers got a poor deal with the CAP to favour French farmers. Our services – schools, hospitals etc. are unable to cope with too much and too fast immigration.
We should have been receiving money from the EU for this. 
My husband and I having visited a war graves cemetery in France were faced with the very first row, headstones for young men who gave their lives aged only 18 and 19.
In memory of them and all who fought for our freedom, we do not need Angela Merkel calling the shots (sorry no pun intended).
If I am classed as one of Maja Storey’s (August 3) flag wavers wishing for Brexit then so be it. I say bring it on and let our politicians do what they are paid for and broker the very best deal in our interests.

No alternative
I WOULD like to clarify one aspect of your article about the Gathering Wave. 
The team behind Gathering Wave were unable to accept the time and venue slots offered for two reasons. 
Firstly they would have hugely impacted on audience numbers, the revenue from which plays a significant part in funding the project, and this loss of income would have rendered the project not viable. Gathering Wave relies on grant funding and half the ticket revenue. 
Secondly, in the alternative venues and time slots there would have been insufficient time for the performers to fully prepare and rehearse.
It was only after lengthy negotiations, a great deal of heart-searching and with great reluctance that the alternatives had to be declined.
I have received feedback following your article, from both previous performers and audience members, all of whom clearly share our sadness that Gathering Wave has lost its valuable place in this wonderful festival.
Joint musical director of Gathering Wave

Just puerile
I HAVE never seen such a puerile argument as set out by David Phelps in the August 24 edition.
He quotes meaningless figures.
In a general election the losing party does not ask for a re-run because a million of its voters did not vote. Why expect it in the referendum?
The facts are 51.9% of voters voted to leave the EU and 48.1% voted to remain. This is a substantial difference of 3.8%.
I stand by my statement about Vichy British. As defined in the dictionary: “The Vichy government was essentially a puppet of the Germans.”
If David Phelps had any knowledge of history he would know this. Fortunately 51.9% of British voters prevented this from happening.
David Phelps says that there will be a financial crash in 2019. Where is he getting this rubbish from? The UK economy grew 1.8% in 2016. Second only to Germany’s 1.9% among the world’s G7 leading industrial nations.
The economy is still expanding in 2017. Unemployment is at a 42-year low of 4.5%.
We should all be aware of people like David Phelps who preach doom and gloom and hope that the UK will fail in the exciting journey that we have started.

I’m disgusted
IT is with much disgust that I write this. 
For the third time in five years (or is it five times in three years) Ross Road within the city has been dug up causing no end of problems for the locals. 
The road was resurfaced within the last couple of months and I now see that the surface is failing once again. 
You only have to drive along the road and it feels as though you are on a fairground ride. 
I notice that money was spent resurfacing the Rotherwas Relief Road where there was nothing wrong with the original surface. 
Why couldn’t this money have been better spent on Ross Road and get things right to last for years. No doubt Ross Road will have patches of newly laid tarmac before long just to fill in the holes that will reappear. 
Whether it is the local council or Highways Authority, they ought to have a rethink on where their money is going.
Beaufort Avenue

Far too high
I  WAS sincerely grateful to be allowed free parking at Hereford Hospital when I was unexpectedly admitted (Hereford Times, August 24, page 38). 
However, I remain disgusted at the situation. 
Incredibly, the car parking charges are the second highest in the UK!! Also the onus is on patients themselves to ask for concessionary rates.
May I ask Who are the individuals who are benefiting from these exorbitant charges? It all seems very secretive. Someone has a lucrative cash-cow... 
I have received a positive response from the office of Hereford’s MP, Jesse Norman, that he will look into this invidious situation. 
I should like to see the whole system: transparent, easy to understand, with proper exemptions, and with profits now going to Hereford Hospital. That is only fair to staff and patients who travel from all over Herefordshire and adjoining areas in England and Wales.
Meanwhile, while the situation is being resolved in favour of the patients and staff, may I suggest that the NHS Wye Valley Trust works with Herefordshire Council to provide Park-and-Ride, with reliable buses every 10 minutes. This is used very successfully elsewhere.
It would mean that the car parks by the Hospital could be boycotted until sense prevails.
R E Richardson 
Abbey Dore

Party threat
THE local Labour Party will be encouraged that ‘It’s Our County’ consider it enough of a threat for Cllr Seldon to attack it on your letter page (August 24).
Mr Seldon’s letter gave a clear account of what IOC oppose (just about everything and everybody) but was less informative regarding what they stand for.
I am probably not the first to identify the risk that when politicians abandon allegiance to national parties little remains beyond platitudes and self importance.