RE: Council approves plan for eco-home (Gazette & Herald, October 2). As residents of Ampleforth with more than 144 years here between us, we were initially impressed (as were - presumably - the eight councillors who approved this development) with the extent of the “environmental technologies” incorporated into this “eco-home”.

Such designs would be fantastic in already built-up areas (such as around Ampleforth College) where they could be admired and copied by all who come. But this major development (in terms of its sheer size, its extravagant use of resources and its extensive excavations and earth-moving, including access roads right up and across the top of the “Visually Important Undeveloped Area” of Knoll Hill) is in entirely the wrong location.

Nobody can see, admire and copy the technologies (it’s a private mansion, stables, orchard, etc, that’s off the beaten track - though effecting a public footpath) and the construction processes would involve unwarranted destruction of the existing environment, ecology, landscape and scenic beauty.

We hope your readers find it as astonishing as we do that eight councillors on the planning committee saw fit to ride roughshod over both national and local planning rules and guidelines (and over-turn their professional planners’ recommendation to refuse planning permission - a recommendation based on legally tried-and-tested, evidence-based assessments. as well as ignoring objections from the AONB and National Park) simply because those councillors “felt this unique design would not be detrimental to the landscape”.

It’s wrong that such ignorant “feelings” should outweigh local opinion (all comments received by RDC were objections), and turn established local and national planning guidelines on their head.

Alan Waugh, Phillip Gill, Anton van der Horst, Roger Beck, Judy Simmonds, Stella Murrell, Sue Robinson, Tina Connor and Patricia Kelly, Ampleforth residents

Abandon crusade

Given our increasing awareness of the role of fossil fuel companies in our climate emergency, is it not time that our MP Kevin Hollinrake abandoned his fracking crusade? Or does the fossil fuel companies’ duty to maximise profits for the benefit of shareholders, a pill bountifully sugared by loudly protesting their green credentials, trump all other considerations for our MP?

For more than 50 years these companies have knowingly been responsible for more than a third of greenhouse gas emissions. Last week the head of Angus Energy loudly proclaimed his green convictions and practices, ostensibly taking on board some of the arguments against fracking, and gradually abandoning oil while pushing to maximise shareholders profits through renewed exploitation of gas in Lincolnshire.

This is “greenwashing”. His justification? The demand is there. At the same time, so the Rystad Energy consultancy tells us, the oil companies, not disputing the gravity of the emergency, “believe....philosophically (sic)...that it is not for energy companies to curtail the use of energy”, (Shell), maintaining (Total) they are not responsible for how their products were used by consumers.

Such companies intend to accelerate oil output over the next decade by 7m extra barrels a day. Hardly the 45 per cent reduction in emissions scientists call for by 2030 to avoid catastrophic consequences.

David Cragg-James, Stonegrave

Anger over parking

I READ with interest your article in the Gazette & Herald (October 16).

Looking at the photographs it truly looks as if everyone did have a great time, with thousands of visitors flocking into Pickering, and spending money in Pickering.

One thing highlighted on Facebook was the way people parked in the neighbouring streets. Visitors didn’t care where they parked or how they parked, on pavements, grass verges, across people’s driveways, on street corners, as long as they were able to park.

I think the council need to think about how to deal with the parking problem, as this is an event which looks like to continue for years to come.

I’m sure there are some farmers who would hire out their land in order to operate a park and ride system to keep the residents of Pickering happy.

As far as I’m concerned, war weekend in Pickering is a great event, an event that not only the public take part in, in more ways than one but an event that brings money into Pickering, as well and keeps our local businesses thriving.

Long may it continue and thanks to all the volunteers, suppliers, people young and old who dressed up in the 40s style making it another successful weekend.

Ann Searle, Pickering