Rewilding debate

Dear Editor,

We read with great interest a letter on 29th October 2021 from John Moon of Andover. He suggested that the proposed new publicly accessible land south of Bury Hill be considered for rewilding. We feel that this is a very interesting suggestion which warrants serious consideration by TVBC.

Understandably, this would take longer than conventional tree planting but, as Mr Moon states, there is good scientific research backing up this approach. The rewilding approach offers a more cost effective and sustainable approach to allow the area to function naturally as an ecosystem in it’s own right.

Since humans have done a pretty poor job generally of caring for the planet, maybe it is time we dropped our ego driven idea that we have all the solutions and let nature lead us for a change. We realise that valuable tree planting has been carried out around the area by the council and notably by Andover Trees United, introducing countless young children to the natural world and conservation work. The work at Harmony Woods has been invaluable but maybe trying another approach has its value too.

Extinction Rebellion Andover will be writing to Test Valley Council in support of this suggested approach and thank Mr Moon for his letter.

Helen Moore, Extinction Rebellion Andover

Appalling service

Dear Editor,

During the past couple of months it has become ever more apparent how appalling our postal service has become with lack of deliveries and extremely late deliveries. On more than one occasion I have had post delivered late. We do not seem to have daily deliveries anymore but every other day or sometimes two or three days in between. My birthday was in October which really brought to light the problem. Cards which had been sent first class at least one week in advance in the Andover area arrived days after my birthday. In fact the delivery of my cards stretched over an eight day period coming in dribs and drabs from all over. Most had very distinct postmarks showing the many days they had taken to arrive. I also receive a lot of addition mail with various organisations I help to run. A letter due from one of these members was sent first class from Kingsclere on September 23rd, it arrived at my home on October 28th. I am still waiting for further post which I know is on its way but has yet to arrive.

Having made enquiries from various sources I am told that the Andover sorting office is an absolute shambles. It is poorly run with lack of properly trained management. Post is piled high and is falling all over the place.

I hate to think what is going to happen in the coming weeks with the Christmas post just about to start flooding in.

Please don’t roll out the pathetic excuse that a bees nest is the problem. This is an ongoing lack of organised management that needs to be addressed urgently.

Name and address supplied

Failed Green Homes Grant Scheme

Dear Editor,

Whilst COP26 in Glasgow has provided some welcome move forwards tackling climate change and protecting our environment, what has our government been doing closer to home? Not a lot it appears. Only around 84 families in the North West Hants constituency have been supported to better insulate their homes under the government’s flagship Green Homes Grant scheme, new figures have revealed. The scheme was meant to help people upgrade their homes to net-zero standards and cut their energy bills through fitting better insulation or heat pumps. It was scrapped earlier this year after just six months.

Published data shows just 87 energy efficiency measures have been installed in homes under the scheme in Test Valley, of which only 23 were for low-income households. For Basingstoke & Deane the figures were respectively 160 families with 34 low-income. Nationally, the figures reveal the scheme helped just 41,315 homes, achieving less than 7% of its target of 600,000 homes. Worse only 24,437 were low-income. The government has failed families facing soaring energy prices this winter.

The Green Homes Grant was launched to much fanfare in September 2020 with vouchers of up to £10,000 to make homes more energy efficient or replace old boilers. It was scrapped six months later following low take-up and severe mismanagement. Applications made before March 2021 are still being processed, but most have now been finalised. There was also no replacement scheme announced in the Budget.

It is shocking that so few homes have been helped to insulate their homes through the Green Homes Grant scheme. The government need to deliver on their many promises. An emergency programme to insulate people’s homes, reduce energy bills and cut the UK’s carbon emissions is required if we are to meet our targets. We especially need to help low-income families and end fuel poverty. Families should not be forced to choose between heating and eating.

Luigi Gregori, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for North West Hampshire

Back to grubby normality

Dear Editor,

Following Cop26, with all its rhetoric about ‘Green is Good’ and Britain’s boast of being a world leader on the environment, we are back to grubby normality. The weekend has seen reports on Government sleaze and on Monday Parliament voted on a government amendment stating: “A sewerage undertaker whose area is wholly or mainly in England must secure a progressive reduction in the adverse impact of discharges from the undertaker’s storm overflows … reducing adverse impacts on the environment, and reducing adverse impacts on public health.”

Martin Salter, of the Angling Trust, said the wording of the government’s amendment was weaker does not go far enough: “At a time when public trust in politicians has once again been shaken, we hope MPs will stand firm, and insist on clarity and action by ministers to create a pathway out of pollution.”

It is clear that this weak sop of a concession will do very little to improve the state of our chalk streams and rivers, which are such a beautiful part of the Hampshire countryside. They are being spoiled and will be allowed to die, while the way is clear for the legal wrangling this concession allows. In the meantime, shareholders are paid billions in bonuses. Can we really afford to pay these sums out? Surely they should be paying for the much needed infrastructure development and repairs. Is it naive to hope there are shareholders who would want to invest in clean water and safe sewage disposal, and who might prefer to see their money put to better use.

Alison Vaspe, Anna Valley