A new nuclear arms race threatens us all – we must act before it’s too late

Send your letters to letters@independent.co.uk

Tuesday 04 February 2020 14:44 GMT
Iran plans a more effective, final nuclear step

There has been a steady dismantling of the myriad treaties primarily between Russia and the US that tried to limit numbers and types of nuclear weapons and enhance confidence-building measures. Apart from the more general Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Treaty, which will be reviewed in April/May this year, the only one remaining is the “New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty)” that will lapse in 2021 with nothing in its place.

The lack of dialogue between Russia and the US when both are spending trillions on updating and producing new nuclear wonder weapons is chilling. Both countries now seem to be of the opinion that nuclear weapons can be used for war-fighting. A dangerous situation is looming and the permanent members of the UN Security Council must act now to get the large nuclear powers to the negotiating table. The risk of getting this wrong puts global warming in the shade!

Admiral Lord West of Spithead
Address supplied

We need facts in debates about Heathrow

We welcome the increased focus on the impacts of aviation noise (CPRE report, Letters, 29 January). As the new independent adviser on this important public health issue, we look forward to working with all across the sector to improve the management of aviation noise and mitigate its adverse effects on citizens. However, in order to do so, we will rely on a robust and fair discussion of the issues. Paul McGuinness of the No 3rd Runway Coalition asserts that in December we claimed the evidential base for government policy on aviation to be “inappropriate”. This statement is at best erroneous and at worst misleading. We made no such claim but instead made ambitious proposals for future research that will underpin policy decisions for years to come.

If we are to be successful in improving the way aviation noise is managed and mitigated we need everyone to act with openness and honesty. This applies as equally to campaigning groups as it does to the government and industry.

Rob Light
Head commissioner for the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise

A litmus test

The real test of Boris Johnson’s commitment to tackling climate change will surely be whether or not his government continues to support a third runway at Heathrow.

The polluting effects of expansion there, are now well documented.

Even our thick-skinned prime minister would surely be embarrassed at November’s environment conference if the project is still going ahead.

The Rev Andrew McLuskey
Ashford, Kent

PM’s dishonesty on no deal

We now live in a truly Orwellian (or Trumpian) world. Boris Johnson, clearly having contracted the Trump virus, believes that something is true because he says it. He splutters that it is not deal or no deal, we already have a deal. Yes, Johnson, we have Theresa May’s deal in all but name with an understanding from the EU. And most impartial analysts say that you have agreed to a border down the Irish Sea – something that you and your ERG friends said they would never accept!

You now say that if by the end of the year we cannot agree to something resembling the Canada deal, you will walk away without an agreement. That is deal or no deal!! The Australian deal now being mentioned is doublespeak because it is not a deal but essentially trade on WTA rules.

“The truth will set you free” is emblazoned across the entrances to many centres of learning. Lies, distortions and misrepresentations are condemning our country and world to a future in which our freedoms will be drastically restricted.

John Dillon

Journalistic solidarity

It’s good that political journalists, even those who work for pro-Tory media outlets, boycotted a Downing Street briefing on Monday after selected reporters – including those writing for The Independent – were banned by Boris Johnson’s staff from attending.

During the general election, Johnson ran from media scrutiny despite the fact that the vast majority of the British mainstream media were sympathetic to him and his politics and hostile to Jeremy Corbyn. Johnson refused to be interviewed by Andrew Neil and hid from Piers Morgan in a fridge.

Now he’s safely in office, Johnson is on the offensive against any dissenting media voices which may question his free trade “golden age”.

These tactics are modelled on those used by Johnson’s political counterpart, Donald Trump. They are part and parcel of right-wing, authoritarian “governance”.

There is more than a whiff of the totalitarian about the ban. I fear it heralds worse to come.

The British mainstream media seems to me to be overwhelmingly pro-establishment and rank with reaction, but even Johnson’s allies there may rue the day they helped him into No 10.

Sasha Simic
London N16

Star Wars droid to the rescue?

Yesterday’s Radio 4 programme PM gave significant airtime to cover a story that has become only familiar; a group of determined individuals in the outskirts of Bristol were provided with the opportunity to outline their case for protecting three mature maple trees that were threatened with imminent felling.

The issue centred upon the conflict of the desired outcome of protecting a resource that is contributing to the environmental and health and wellbeing associated with the acknowledged benefits that mature trees provide, one that is at risk with the local council and developer’s need to create much-needed low-cost housing in the vicinity. (The promise, made by the developer of planting at least 20 replacement trees, it was argued, failed to recognise the 20 or so years before the replanted saplings offer any significant benefits in the locality).

In the studio, a legal adviser recommended that the best way forward for the protesters was for them to make an application to the local authority, for each tree to be issued with a separate tree preservation order, a TPO, as it is known. This would prevent the trees from being cut down while discussions about the site are ongoing.

I may have misheard or misunderstood, but it seemed to me that the protesters were seeking assistance from an original Star Wars character; apparently, it would help their cause considerably if they could see Three TPO.

Nigel Plevin

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in