I WOULD like to clarify your report on the debate about staff champions.

Councillor John Clark had given notice of a motion that the staff should choose their own champion and not councillors. Cllr Clark was late arriving and the ruling group tried to have the debate without him being there. So Cllr Luke Ives proposed a motion to the effect that the debate should not be deferred until later in the agenda when Cllr Clark could be present.

Cllr Clark arrived later, having been unavoidably delayed.

So we went into debate before Cllr Clark arrived. I made the point that, whichever political group were in control of the council, the staff would be less likely to go to one of them than an opposition member. I mentioned that this was relevant to bullying and that I and others have had evidence of bullying which the present staff champion (appointed from the ruling group) was not aware of.

The chief executive intervened to say there was no bullying in the council which she was aware of, and that if I knew of any incidents, I should have reported them to her. I took this as a personal criticism and protested that there was no rule which required me to disclose information which had been given me in confidence.

It was at this stage that Cllr Ives asked the chairman to move a motion that I should no longer be heard.

It is unfortunate that Cllr Ives should seek to restrict free debate.

In the circumstances, it would be appreciated if the chief executive would confirm that councillors are not required to give her information which they have received in confidence.

Councillor Paul Andrews, Malton ward

Need to go green

I HAVE worked in North Yorkshire for more than 20 years and during all that time have contributed to the North Yorkshire County Council Pension Fund. I am now retired and benefiting from that fund.

I have, however, been angered to discover how those funds have been invested. We now know that only a tiny portion (£0.6 million) is invested in green renewable energy compared to the huge sums (£85 million) invested in fossil fuel companies.

Recently the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, spoke of the need for green investment in order to boost financial stability and to tackle climate change.

A report from the Schwab Center for Financial Research has shown that markets are pricing in a higher default risk for the energy sector than they did at the height of the Great Recession.

In the US it has been announced that their federal financial regulator is currently investigating Exxon over allegations that they have been misleadingly reporting the effect of market fluctuation on their profits and knowingly pushing an anti-climate change agenda.

Over the next year Waltham Forest are planning to divest their £725 million pension fund from all fossil fuel companies. I would urge North Yorkshire to follow this lead and do the same.

Glyn Wild, Swinton

Tribute to Herbert

PLEASE can you help us to set up a project across Ryedale to honour our local writer Herbert Read?

It is now almost 50 years since he died on June 12, 1968, at Stonegrave and was buried at Kirkdale.

We would aim at a simple memorial in the form of an interpretation board and a resource with as many as possible of Read’s books somewhere in Ryedale. This would have to be easily accessible to all generations - with special reference to the young and their teachers.

It would be good for us to hear from your readers - especially the young - suggestions and offers of help.

John Dean, Herbert Read Ryedale Group

Kneeshaw appeal

MY great grandmother was called Annie Kneeshaw. She was born in 1872 and lived with her parents Henry and Mary at 62 Potterhill, Pickering, circa 1872/1900, before moving to Leeds.

Is there anyone still in the area who are connected to this particular side of the Kneeshaw family? If so email mick.frankland43@btinternet.com

Mick Frankland, Wakefield, West Yorkshire