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Recorder letters: Bee count, overweight children, EU, Heathrow expansion and children at risk

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 June 2018

The Great British Bee Count takes place throughout June. Picture: WENDY IMPETT

The Great British Bee Count takes place throughout June. Picture: WENDY IMPETT

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Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Help our bees by joining in count

Emi Murphy, Friends of the Earth bee campaigner, writes:

Friends of the Earth is urging people to help our under-threat bees by taking part in the Great British Bee Count, which runs until June 30.

Habitat loss, climate change, pesticides and intensive farming are just some of the pressures facing these fabulous insects, which pollinate much of the food we eat.

By downloading a fun, free and easy-to-use app participants can find out more about the bees that visit their gardens, parks and countryside – and get tips on how they can help them.

Thousands of verified sightings from this year’s bee count will also contribute to the government’s Pollinator Monitoring Scheme, which is compiling the first comprehensive health check of Britain’s bees and other pollinators.

Get the app and get counting: greatbritishbeecount.co.uk

Parents must act on overweight children

Mr A Still, York Road, Ilford, writes:

I have never seen so many fat children as I have in Ilford over the past two or three years.

They’re many bulging out of their vests and shorts, facial features vanishing in folds of fat, bottoms and bellies straining the fabric of their clothes and, of course, all face a shortened life span.

I’ve seen these poor kids waddling along, food in one hand, drink in the other, sitting on the kerb eating or standing up eating, their mouths should wear out.

It’s so sad, it’s not easy for parents but the kids’ sake, they must really try to curb this massive calorie intake.

We must get tough with EU

Will Podmore, Clavering Road, Wanstead, writes:

It is clear that the people of Britain cannot rely on the existing political order to carry out a clear instruction on the most important matter we have faced since the Second World War. We must act, and act now.

Our own political generals have no stomach for the fight.

The government’s “collaborative approach” to negotiations is just that – collaboration with the would-be colonial power that is the EU, concession after concession until Leaving becomes Remaining but in an even more slavish relationship than before June 2016.

Their “negotiations” are matched by lack of preparations for independence, such as building the necessary infrastructure to enforce control over our economy, borders and laws.

In practice this amounts to sabotage.

In this they are aided by a civil service leadership that wants to remain in the EU, and that exaggerates any problems, minimises any advantages.

And all the while Parliament, with its massive majorities of MPs and peers who voted Remain, is seeking to sabotage.

Both houses talk about sovereignty, but what they mean is that they think they are sovereign over the people.

Only the fact of the 17.4 million Leave voters – and no sign of regrets, in fact the opposite – holds them to any appearance of carrying out our decision.

The solution is for the people to exercise sovereignty, to take control. Let’s begin by moving heaven and earth to concentrate our force on Westminster politicians to compel them to do the right thing.

We must insist the government walk away from the table.

The tangle of detail and objections is designed to trap us in the EU net. Let’s return to the simplicity of our decision.

Reinstate the red lines for Brexit. That would terrify the EU would-be masters.

Only then can real negotiations begin – from the true position of British strength.

Airport expansion is indefensible

Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP, writes:

It’s a sick joke that the government would choose World Environment Day to confirm its plans to expand Heathrow Airport.

This proposal highlights where the government’s priorities lie – in its desperate pursuit of any spurious hope of economic growth, rather than in the wellbeing of our planet and people.

Air pollution in the Heathrow area already breaches EU safety limits.

Adding another 700 planes a day to the mix is only going to exacerbate the problem – as well as bringing a surge in noise pollution, and an influx of new local traffic.

The government’s own air quality analysis shows the plans would further breach legal air pollution limits. ​Its promises on air quality are full of hot air.

In its desperation to show that the UK is “open for business”, the government is prepared to throw money at this project.

The promise of private capital does not mean there is no public cost.

But right now it can’t even guarantee that flights won’t be grounded after Brexit day in March 2019 – let alone that the UK will need a significantly increased airport capacity.

Given the current state of play, there is no evidence to suggest this flight of fancy is economically or environmentally viable. To proceed would be indefensible.

Children at risk on social media

Lynn Gradwell, director, Barnardo’s London, writes:

New research for Barnardo’s has revealed that more than two thirds of 12-year-olds in London, and a quarter of 10-year-olds, have posted live videos on apps and websites meant for older children and adults.

Our online survey suggests thousands of younger children may be putting themselves at risk by sharing content on sites with a minimum age limit of 13.

Almost one third of young Londoners say they or a friend have regretted posting live content on platforms including SnapChat, YouTube, Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, Musical.ly and Live.ly, which provide inadequate safety controls and settings.

Live streaming is being used by predators to groom children online. We know from our specialist services in London and across the UK that children are at risk of “live grooming” on online platforms.

Theresa May vowed to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. But new laws are not expected for at least two years and this is simply not good enough for the children who need protecting.

Social media giants need to act now by putting robust age-verification rules in place. Any delay could put another generation of children in danger.

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