NORTH Yorkshire County Council’s decision to consult on an 18-tonne weight limit on vehicles using the level crossing in Malton is outrageous.

This weight limit will make very little difference to the heavy goods traffic passing through the designated Air Quality Action Area at Butchers’ Corner, and makes a farce of that designation.

The County Area Committee which represents Ryedale unanimously proposed a more rigorous 7.5-tonne weight limit, but the county executive ignored the local view.

The Ryedale Plan imposes 50 per cent of all new development on Malton and Norton up until 2027.

The plan was conditional on the completion of the Brambling Fields intersection and certain “complementary measures”. The main complementary measure was a weight limit at the level crossing.

A weight limit of 18 tonnes will not discourage HGVs from going through Malton/Norton when they could use the Brambling Fields intersection – it is little more than a recognition of the HGVs which already use the level crossing.

So county have done little more than pay lip service to the Ryedale Plan and the Air Quality Action Area.

Malton/Norton is currently overwhelmed with new development of huge impersonal estates, and all the consequent nuisance of large construction sites, including the heavy construction traffic which rumbles through quiet residential streets, making house foundations vibrate.

I campaigned ceaselessly against the plan because I could see what was going to happen – and it has.

County declared that the Ryedale Plan was robust. Now their intentions are clear: a weight limit which is hopelessly inadequate and an Air Quality Action Area which is treated with contempt.

In these circumstances, the Ryedale Plan cannot be “robust”, and residents should seek its urgent revision.

Cllr Paul Andrews, Ryedale District Cllr, Malton ward

Lack of birds

WHERE have all the birds gone?

I live on the east side of Pickering. It is not densely populated, mostly detached bungalows. All have medium to large gardens with lots of trees and shrubs.

Approximately three months ago I noticed the birds coming to our garden to feed were disappearing rapidly, and since that time they have all gone.

I formerly had masses of small birds coming to feed. It was not unusual to see 20 goldfinches at once.

All the small popular birds that can be seen in gardens were regular visitors, including starlings and sparrows.

Last year we had a woodpecker and its chicks coming on a regular basis.

The only birds to be seen flying around are crows and woodpigeons, no swallows, swifts or bats.

One blackbird built a nest in the garden last spring. It hatched out and a week later a small blackbird chick was found dead on the lawn. The nest was empty.

We have seen a sparrowhawk about but not recently and they leave a heap of feathers if they make a kill.

We just occasionally do see a cat.

I would like to know if other people are experiencing this situation.

T J Ward, Normal Close, Pickering

Driving woes

I AM sure that everyone who ever has the misfortune to drive a motor vehicle through Malton and Norton will welcome the Action on Traffic initiative featured in the Gazette & Herald (September 7).

The picture on the front page is a location where a simple change could make a significant difference.

I would propose that we have a filter on the traffic lights for vehicles coming from Norton turning right towards Pickering on Butcher Corner.

By enabling this flow of traffic to move, it will clear the traffic behind and also help those trying to go straight on up Wheelgate.

Graham Hunt, Thornton-le-Dale

Clean the streets

WALKING along Wheelgate in Malton the other day I was quite disgusted by the amount of dirt, litter, and cigarette ends on the pavement and in the gutter.

I believe that in some countries it is the responsibility of shopkeepers to keep their portion of pavement clean.

If, as appears to be the case, Ryedale District Council cannot afford to maintain the streets, surely it would be to everyone’s advantage – shop owners and shoppers – that we follow their example.

Shirley Russell, Hunters Way, Norton