IoS Letters emails & online postings (23/08/2009)

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You suggest that David Cameron's 60 private flights be recompensed by payment of the carbon offsets due for under 10 tons of CO2 ("Come fly with me", 16 August). But the real toll is much higher.

In a current planning application, TAG Farnborough Airport admits to over 250,000 tons of CO2 emissions from some 12,750 business aircraft departures in 2008. That means a typical business flight would be responsible for some 20 tons of CO2 emissions, or 1,200 tons for 60 flights – without accounting for radiative forcing (RF) which takes into account the impact of greenhouses gases on the upper atmosphere. And Mr Cameron's flights would not have taken off but for him, so shouldn't he pay the offset for the whole plane, rather than that of one passenger? Then he should calculate the RF and apply British Airway's suggested rate of £17 per ton – £20,400 in all. That would test his green credentials.

Hugh Sheppard

Hook, Hampshire


I think you got your figures wrong in "The case for driving a car". No Focus emits as much as 208g CO2 per kilometre, whereas a Lexus GS450h (Dave's own car, I believe) emits 185 g/km – 6.56 tons of CO2 over 22,184 miles. A passenger in a commercial airliner accounts for 260g per mile. Had Mr Cameron taken 59 commerical flights he would have been responsible for 5.3 tons. But his private flights, assuming 50 flying hours at an average 400mph, account for 100 tons of CO2. So the figures in your comparison should have been 6.6 tons of CO2 for driving, 100 tons for flying privately, not 7.4 tons for driving and 9.6 tons for flying.

Mark Brockbank



As a retired social worker with a career of nearly 30 years behind me I am used to social-worker bashing from the media, so Joan Smith is to be congratulated for her positive view ("After Baby P – in defence of social workers", 16 August). The majority of front-line workers go about their business with a quiet professionalism, but finding a place in a nursery for a neglected child and supporting the mother at the same time, or supplying an elderly couple with help in the home is not sensational news. Nor do social workers deal solely with children, but with all manner of adults.

Alison Thompson

Thursby, Cumbria


It may be difficult for western so-called feminists to understand why women would choose to cover up instead of displaying their flesh, hence being treated like a piece of meat (Janet Street-Porter, 16 August). But it is a basic human right to wear what you want. Just as women can walk around in bikinis and next to nothing, women should be allowed to respect their bodies with clothes. They are happy with who they are. I find near-naked women offensive, but I don't go around calling for the practice to be banned.

Adviya Khan

via email


I was a volunteer on the night of the Marchioness disaster (Interview, 16 August). What became clear that night has still not been resolved 20 years later – the lack of radio links between the police, rescue helicopters, and ambulance services. The London and Surrey fire crews were unable to communicate with each other or with the police other than via control rooms. As an electronics engineer I know the technical difficulties and cost would be considerable. But do we have to wait for another tragedy before acting?


posted online


Anne Tree's charity aims to provide prisoners with "real" sewing work to do in jail and pay them enough to provide a small nest egg to ease their re-entry into society" (The New Review, 16 August). But the Fine Cell Work website, which displays cushions for sale at £50-£195 and quilts at up to £1,200, claims that the 403 prisoners it employed in 2008 earned £61,890. That is £153 each that year, less than £3 for every 20 hours worked. It is not clear if the money earned through Fine Cell jobs is on top of the normal prison wage of £4-£8 a week. If it is extra, then the average three years a prisoner works for the charity might indeed lead to them earning a "small nest egg", though at 15p an hour, few readers will find that equation equitable.

Joe Black

Campaign Against Prison Slavery



In our media-saturated culture, it is more important than ever to have a sophisticated understanding of the impact of media on our thoughts and behaviour, as individuals and as a society ("Tories to tackle the menace of media studies", 16 August). If the A-level media studies syllabus is too soft, make it more challenging. But to describe the subject as soft, you'd have to be soft in the head.

Tim Nichols

London N16


Independent on Sunday readership may be interested in buying a £75,000 Jaguar, (Motoring, 16 August), but can't boil an egg (Skye Gyngell). A possible example of why, as a country, we're in the predicament we're in?

Mark Evans

Oswestry, Shropshire

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