Letter: Army guns blight Northumberland

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The Independent Online
Sir: In "Fighting Army over impact of the increase in shoot and scoot" (6 August) Stephen Goodwin fails to draw attention to the impact on the whole Border region of these plans for "big guns". The transport links between Newcastle upon Tyne and Edinburgh are in urgent need of revitalisation. Tourism in this area is increasing but will be unable to reach its full potential if the infrastructure is not in place. The Army's plans have not taken their host community's needs into account.

Plans to transport these guns to Otterburn Ranges each time they are required, rather than to retain some artillery on site, will produce unacceptable and dangerous road conditions for other motorists, including tourist coaches. Current army convoys have led many tourists to avoid the Tyne and Wear conurbation (including the Metro Centre) by taking the A68 direct to Carter Bar. Those of us who live on Tyneside have to dice with army convoy traffic from the A1 to Byrness at present. The extra weight and size of the new vehicles will bring chaos and danger to those communities through which they pass.

Restoration of the Borders railway to the west is under consideration for commercial traffic, so perhaps Mr Gummer should consider a similar answer to the Otterburn question. This would restore the wonderful Border views seen from these roads to tourists and locals alike, without the need to crawl along at 15mph.

JEAN E FRASER

Newcastle upon Tyne

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