IoS letters, emails & online postings (6 February 2011)

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The language of the consultation document on the forests sale biases the debate by referring to "state ownership" and "government management" ("Stealing the common off the goose", 30 January). This land belongs to the people. Just as the BBC staff are not allowed to refer to electoral "reform" when educational "reform" and NHS "reform" are acceptable, the Government sets the language of this discourse as one of its levers of power.

In Cambodia, land which had no title was first taken by the state and is now being leased to overseas developers, leaving subsistence farmers who cannot prove ownership with no means of resisting eviction. We need to find a means of ensuring the ownership of the land by the people of this country in perpetuity. In theory, state ownership could do this. In practice, the government of the day can apparently decide to sell.

Every citizen should be, upon reaching adulthood, given a share in the ownership of these common lands. The shares should not be saleable or transferable. In that way, any doctrinaire or short-term actions by future governments could be prevented. A government only has temporary custodianship of this land. The coalition again demonstrates moral bankruptcy in what it is proposing.

Sandra Walmsley

Weeting, Norfolk

"Liberal Democrats believe that our quality of life is dependent on the quality of our environment. We will not only work to maintain and enhance it but we will give people more access to and influence over it," declared the Lib Dems before the election. How they will deliver on this promise by selling off our woodland is a mystery. Once our land has been sold we will never be able to buy it back. We will soon have an opportunity to send a message to the Liberal Democrats and their Tory friends. The best way to get shot of them begins this May, in the local elections.

Mary Waite

Caversham, Berkshire

Planning permission for polytunnels in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was a matter for Herefordshire Council, and not the Court of Appeal ("Area of Outstanding Ugliness", Janet Street-Porter, 30 January). The court ruled that the council's decision – that land which had been used for arable cultivation and fruit growing for many years was not "uncultivated or semi-natural land", and that therefore an Environmental Impact Assessment was not required – was lawful.

That polytunnels "will be sprouting all over unspoilt wilderness" is nonsense. If land is either uncultivated or a semi-natural area, an Environmental Impact Assessment is required as part of a planning application.

As farmers are called upon to produce more food, impact less on the environment and reduce food waste, it is more important than ever that they can use production methods such as polytunnels to deliver good quality and sustainably produced food to consumers.

Ivan Moss

Planning adviser, National Farmers' Union

Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire

Janet Street-Porter's article "Never mind the old and ill – protect the sacred wheelie bin", (30 January) was spot on. In my suburban cul-de-sac, there has been powerful resistance to recycling. The freeholder took it upon himself to return the small food recycling bins when they were distributed. New residents have been refused bins. Yet food waste generates particularly noxious greenhouse gases. Rowing back on fortnightly waste collections will cost us dear in the long term: we will have to pay hefty fines to the EU for our excessive landfill. Perhaps the doughty anti-recycling campaigners would care to shoulder this cost, exempting those who make the tiny effort needed to recycle.

Vera Lustig

Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

How does Harriet Walker know that the seven-year-old using the iPad in the restaurant was playing; he may well have been doing his homework (The New Review, 30 January)?

The iPad is a fantastic and wonderful tool, but without its apps it is pretty useless. Increasingly there are a lot of really useful educational apps. I own an iPad and work with them at school – I am not a man in a suit and I don't ride a micro scooter!

Kathryn Booth

Blandford Forum, Dorset

I'm surprised you recommend a Tibetan wool rug for a "kid's bedroom" costing £2,090 (The New Review, 30 January). That sort of money would be better spent by buying a perfectly serviceable rug for under £500 and giving the balance to Unicef or Save the Children. And why not support British sheep farmers?

Clive Loveless

London W10

Paul Bignell informs us that Sir Patrick Moore was captivated by astrology at six before joining the British Astronomical Association at the age of 11. I'll believe that when I see the Hubble Space Horoscope.

Steve Dodding

Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

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