Why the Choice of the Green Route Was Simply Wrong
I am writing as one of the Hogg family which owns and farms Causey Park, which will be particularly affected by the proposed Green Route. In your article of Thursday March 24 on the A1 dualling, you state that the Highways Agency does not accept our "criticism" of the environmental studies. I would like to clarify as follows:
The public consultation leaflet stated that the Blue Route is likely to have a greater impact on agriculture, and we dispute this. There was incorrect interpretation of aerial photography taken when much of the land on the Green Route on Causey Park was in a one-year set-aside. In line with recommended EU practice, Causey Park has a 10-year rotation of all its farmed land, and this includes all land being set aside for one year in 10. We believe that the statement in the environment assessment report that "better quality land" is seen in land to be used by the Blue Route is incorrect.
The public consultation leaflet stated that the Green Route would improve noise and air quality at most of the existing properties on the A1. We believe this is misleading. The Blue Route would also improve noise and air quality for the majority of properties on the A1. But the Green Route would make matters worse for approximately 25 other properties on the new Green Route alignment.
There are other errors/omissions in the environment assessment report. Causey Park supports many diverse activities, but only the microlight hangar and airstrip is mentioned. Activities which were omitted include two holiday cottages, pony stables, a wildlife/conservation group, annual visits by a local caravan club and a local camping and caravan club, permanent Boy Scout camping facilities, venues for local church annual events and local Mencap annual events, autocross rallies, educational visits from local schools, and even the national Old Crocks "Le Jog" (Land's End to John O'Groats) runs through Causey Park.
We estimate that over 1,000 people annually visit Causey Park to enjoy the peace and quiet of the rural Northumberland countryside ( this is now a well-established asset for the local population and for the Northumbrian tourist industry.
Noise levels from the Green Route are anticipated to reach/exceed 72 decibels over much of Causey Park, which is classified as very loud. This will affect much of the outdoor working with animals, most of the properties of the farm workers, and most of the diverse activities mentioned above. This will have a negative economic impact on Causey Park together with other local businesses (such as the local pub), and will lead to loss of employment locally.
We believe that the right decision on the route for all local people, local businesses, and the local tourist industry, should be based on all the correct facts. We are aiming to supply extra factual information and supportive evidence to the Highways Agency, and are very saddened to be accused of being "critical".
The Highways Agency have yet to publish the result of the questionnaire from the public consultation ( do the local public prefer the Green Route or the Blue Route? The locally preferred route will surely be the best for all concerned, and we all need to know what this is.
BSc, MSc (Environmental Sciences), Member (retired) of the Institute of Management Services (MMS).
Causey Park, Morpeth.
The shocking price paid by those who work in bars
AS highlighted in your newspaper (March 23), Michelle Muir, former landlady of the New Derby pub in Sunderland, lost her case for compensation after claiming that passive smoking while working in the bar made her ill.
While she will be disappointed with the result, you can be sure this is not the last you will hear of this issue.
Second hand smoke kills 200 people a year in the North-East alone, and the science tells us that inhaling other people's cigarette smoke increases our risk of getting lung disease by 25pc and heart disease by 24pc. …