IoS letters, emails & online postings (02 March 2014)


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The Independent Online

Shelagh Delaney was a victim of hype. I’m glad her play [‘A Taste of Honey’] has been revived. Now it can be judged fairly

Mike Leigh

Posted online

Your article “Risks of nuclear leak sparks call for flood works” (23 February) highlights the risks of climate change-induced flooding to the nuclear waste dump at Drigg in Cumbria. The risks however go much further.

Nearly all the UK’s nuclear power stations have been built on the coast to access sea water for cooling, leaving at least 11 vulnerable to rising sea levels.

Nuclear power stations at  Berkeley, Gloucestershire and Bradwell, Essex are virtually at sea level, and Dungeness nuclear plant, Kent is only 2-5m (6-16ft) above sea level and at high risk from beach erosion.

Indeed, accelerated coastal erosion may, for many sites, provide a far greater worry than sea-level rise alone, with the Sellafield complex in Cumbria and other sites, including Sizewell, Hunterston, Wylfa, and Somerset’s Hinkley Point at long-term risk.

While Hinkley Point, where the proposed Hinkley C reactor is to be built, is protected by sea defences and rock outcrops in front of the power stations, the cliff line and shoreline show evidence of erosion by the strong tides of the Bristol Channel and the wind and wave action to which the point is exposed. Nirex believed that over the next 100 years rising sea levels and strong tidal flows would isolate the headland. It concluded that over the next 300 years the area may well be flooded, leaving the site surrounded by sea on three sides. What logic suggests this is a suitable location to build a nuclear power plant?

Ian Ralls

Friends of the Earth, Nuclear network  co-ordinator, Cambridge


The truth is that we as a species have no idea what to do with nuclear waste, to make it safe for the next 300,000 years, its toxicity period. Given that, it would be the height of irresponsibility to commission more nuclear power plants at this time.

Dr Rupert Read

Green Party lead MEP candidate



I read with sadness your article “Thousands of HIV patients go hungry as benefit cuts hit” (23 February). I run a charity for those with autism and last week we had a carer unable to bring a 16-year-old lad to our half-term scheme because she did not have enough money to put on her oyster card. I have had people wanting employment with us fail to attend interviews because they did not have the fare. Travel costs in London combined with benefit cuts are causing those who are already disadvantaged to become prisoners in their communities.

Liza Dresner

Director, Resources for Autism

London NW11


As Pete Butchers notes (Letters, 23 February) there is a herd in the room with regards to population. However, as China is discovering, controlling population by limiting the number of children born exacerbates the situation where rising life expectancy places a larger burden on the state, with an enhanced birth rate being the most palatable alternative. The other option would be state-mandated euthanasia in the style depicted in the film Logan’s Run, something even the most charismatic politician may find a hard sell.

Alan Gregory



And so the news is out – an independent review of the badger cull has declared that it failed in terms of effectiveness, and humaneness. But we need to look to the future – a future in which farmers need an answer to bovine tuberculosis, which is devastating cattle herds. And a future in which badgers are not scapegoated or slaughtered.

In Wales they chose to vaccinate badgers and bring in tighter farming practices, and in the last year have seen a 33 per cent fall in the number of cattle slaughtered. Their way is the right way. I will be reaching out to the new NFU President to say “let’s work together”, as together, farmers and wildlife supporters can beat this disease, without having to beat on each other.

Dominic Dyer

Chief executive, The Badger Trust, and policy adviser, to Care for the WIld, Horsham


Shelagh Delaney was a victim of hype (“A victim of sexism ... ”, 23 February). She had all the journo ingredients for a whizz story, they claimed she’d never been to a play. I’m glad her play’s been revived. Now, it can be judged fairly.

Mike Leigh

Posted online

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