I AM continually struck by the total ineptitude of the North Yorkshire County Council Highways Authority to adequately plan for foreseen disruption while road repairs are being undertaken.

This latest debacle is the latest of many lamentable episodes stretching back years.

I am also at a loss to comprehend why our political representatives appear totally impotent in their dealings with the highways authority.

The notable exception to this being the mayor of Norton who forecast the chaos a number of weeks ago, although not surprisingly even he failed to predict that someone would sanction the commencement of roadworks in Wold Street and Langton Road at the same time as the closure of Church Street.

Heads should roll. However, if things go true to form, the culprits will probably be given the Queen’s Award to industry... for traffic light manufacturing.

Peter Walker, former Ryedale district councillor, Norton East


Effects of CO2

DAVID Hoggard (“Increase in CO2 has greened some areas”, November 2) is correct when he says that increased CO2 in the atmosphere can stimulate plant growth.

The problem is that increases in CO2 do not happen in isolation. The fossil fuel use that is causing rising CO2 is also driving the production of other gases, including tropospheric O3 (ozone).

Chronic exposure to this low-altitude ozone eventually causes plant stress resulting in less take-up of CO2, leaving even more O3 and CO2 in the atmosphere in a potentially disastrous feedback loop.

Data from around the world suggest that O3 can offset the potential gains in crop and plant productivity from rising atmospheric CO2 by as much as 38 per cent, threatening food supply in many countries. There is still much to be known about the effects of all the factors involved and we certainly need to support more vital research into understanding these areas.

Nevertheless, we cannot wait for definitive answers to these very complex questions before we drastically reduce our use of the fossil fuels that is resulting in ocean acidification, extreme weather events and threats to water security around the world right now.

Jean McKendree, Westow


Biochar solution

MR HOGGARD was quite right to say that we need carbon dioxide in our atmosphere in order for plants to grow, and I am glad to hear that increased carbon dioxide has resulted in increased greening in some areas.

However, I never meant to suggest that we attempt to remove all carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, probably an impossible task.

The fact remains that we need to keep carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to below 400 parts per million to prevent the worst predictions of climate change.

Unfortunately, we have already reached that figure, so yes, we do need to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, urgently.

Clearly not all of it, but we do need to try to get down to 350 parts per million. Using Biochar in our farming and growing activities would be a relatively low-tech way to achieve this. The government seems to have abandoned other high-tech carbon capture schemes, and the Biochar method has the added bonus of increasing fertility and water retention in our soils. In developing countries where desertification is a problem, it could also help to feed people. Has Mr Hoggard got a better plan?

Nelly Trevelyan, Appleton-le-Moors


Christmas appeal

ON MONDAY, the local Salvation Army, Malton Corps, launches the Christmas Present Appeal 2016.

The appeal will run until Sunday, December 11.

Every year The Salvation Army relies on the generosity of the public to donate gifts and toys for children who otherwise would have little or nothing on Christmas morning. Over many years millions of toys and gifts have been donated and hundreds of thousands of lives have been brightened in the process.

From November 14 to December 11, the public are asked to drop off a new unwrapped gift for a child aged 0-16 years at Malton Salvation Army, 40 Wood Street, Norton, or phone 01653 693344. Local Salvation Army representatives will collect them and then distribute them to those in need in the area through their own networks, local groups and social services.

The Salvation Army is one of the UK’s largest and most diverse providers of social services after the Government. Through its network of 800 churches and social service centres in the UK, The Salvation Army works with thousands of children and families and is perfectly placed to distribute the Christmas Present Appeal gifts to those people in society who are most at need at Christmas.

Many families linked with local partner agencies such as single-parent support networks and family centres have come to rely on the toys donated through The Salvation Army’s annual gift appeal.

Thanks to the generosity of people in Malton and Norton last year, The Salvation Army, in partnership with local agencies, was able to collect and distribute to children and families who might otherwise have struggled at Christmas.

We look forward to receiving gifts again this year.

Malton Corps officers, Captains Matthew and Debbie Bennett