Gazette letters: Nature’s behaviour, School Streets, NHS, Air Ambulance

A Comma butterfly. Picture: PA/BARRY BACHELOR

A Comma butterfly. Picture: PA/BARRY BACHELOR - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

If sometimes I am struck by the way the behaviour of my friends resembles that of animals, this week challenged me to see it from the other side, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Two sights reminded me of the ways in which beasts assume characteristics we normally only associate with humans.Few scenes in nature bring me more pleasure than animals enjoying their food. Looking down from my window last week I saw a magpie hopping between the uppermost branches of a cherry tree. In its beak, firmly placed was a large, red cherry. I could barely stop smiling as I saw the bird try to squeeze cherries into its beak, before having swallowed the first. Gluttony, it seems, belongs to no single species. Sloth neither, apparently. To enjoy the Sunday sun I headed to Dalston Curve Garden – East London’s oasis. As I sat with friends we were bothered over and over again by a visitor – at first welcome, but later mildly irritating: a Comma, one of Britain’s more common butterflies. Instead of floating between brightly coloured surfaces, it chose instead to repeatedly visit the peak of my friend’s cap, resting there lazily for ten minutes at a time.

To see gluttony and sloth so clearly represented in the natural world brings hope that sitting around eating too much in this hot weather might simply be part of the natural order of things.

The School Streets proposal for London Fields School would divert traffic past other schools including Gayhurst School (Parents’ call to ban school run drivers) writes Rachel Afanasiev, full address supplied.

Such non-joined up planning is unfair and selfish. However, Kylie Barlow has form in this regard. Under her married name, Kylie ap Garth was a leading light behind Fume Free Streets which originally pushed forward the ill-fated scheme to close streets around London Fields.

The first iteration of this scheme would have pushed traffic on to Lansdowne Drive, and the scheme she endorsed, “Option 1” would have increased traffic around Gayhurst and Queensbridge Schools. Kylie is somewhat overplaying her naif persona in saying “We hope to come up with other ideas too,” as Fume Free Streets members are already in discussion with Hackney Council about how to implement further measures such as a bus gate on Westgate St.

It seems that Fume Free Streets still haven’t grasped the importance of transparency and of ensuring that they don’t just think of their streets, but those who would be adversely affected by their proposals.

Hackney Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) and other NHS campaigners have been refused tickets for the so called launch of East London Health and Care Partnership (ELHCP) on Wednesday (yesterday), writes Carol Akroyd, secretary, Hackney Keep Our NHS Public.

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Yet again, ELHCP managers show they dont want people to learn the truth about the government plans for cuts and restructuring of the NHS, which will be imposed locally through the ELHCP.

ELHCP covers all NHS bodies and local authorities across City and Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering and will be responsible for imposing, over the next few years, a plan of cuts and changes to the NHS across the above seven boroughs.

The plan has been developed in secret, with no public involvment.

The population of East London is set to rise by 18 per cent, but the plan will impose spending cuts of £578 million per year compared with 2015 levels, and impose risky changes to NHS services such as the closure of King George A&E and the replacement of doctors by less skilled “Physican Associates”.

Already Hackney has been forced to wind up its much liked out of hours GP service (CHUHSE) to be replaced by a worse service imposed by plan bosses.

The general election showed the widespread concern about the NHS and funding cuts. The Labour manifesto pledged to put the plans on hold pending a review with full public involvment.

We are asking people to urge their local councillors and MPs to work with others across the country to oppose these plans and refuse to sign up to them.

I would like to emphasise the importance of local support to our charity and share some words of thanks with the people of Hackney, writes Jonathan Jenkins, CEO of London’s Air Ambulance.

It’s a great feeling when you find out a company has donated a large sum of money to the charity, but it is vital to never lose sight of our grass-root supporters. To me, a local cake sale is just as important as a big corporate partnership. This charity was built on community spirit; it’s a service funded by the people of London for the people of London and that’s something I really want to focus on as CEO.

The money raised by communities goes towards delivering our advanced trauma team via helicopter or rapid response car to critically injured people across the capital and it’s thanks to your help that London’s Air Ambulance was able to treat 86 people in Hackney last year. Now we need your help again to raise awareness of our charity status.

Over the last few years the charity has focused on acquiring a second helicopter and securing extended daylight flying hours, with these aims achieved we will now focus on the challenge of increasing awareness of our charitable status.