Gazette letters: Neighbourhood critters, deaths in custody, Brexit and 5G

Rats, an example of London wildlife? Picture: PA

Rats, an example of London wildlife? Picture: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

There is a section of the new river path that curves round at the eastern end of Woodberry Wetlands, snaking back up towards Finsbury Park, where I have seen a rat every single time I run along it for two months, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

The sound of my footsteps seems to startle it at precisely the same time and place each day (though I'm presuming, probably wrongly, that it is the same rat I see each time). It shoots across the path from the hollow of a tree down into a hole on the bank of the stream.

Finsbury Park too, rats every time I run there. And late at night walking from the Railway Tavern to home I see them creeping around the walls lining the railway line. Healthy looking creatures, these particular rats - plump with shiny brown coats, they are almost pet-like - less vermin, more a fine example of London wildlife. We have lived alongside them for centuries, and - aside from the plague - without too much trouble. They are the vermin we know.

Unlike the spider I saw on the path in Gillespie Park. As I approached a concerned walker gestured at me to slow down, pointing nervously at the ground in front of him. As I got close it was clear he was pointing at an extremely large spider (in British terms, at least). A good 10cm across, with a spotted back, it wasn't a species I recognised, and the fantastic "spider safari" website I normally turn to hasn't yielded much help. It is of course possible, likely even, that it is a native species grown unusually large - but seeing it there did remind me that with increasingly milder winters, the species accidentally brought here nestled in amongst our food may have a far greater chance of survival than in decades past.

In the just over 20 years since Sarah Thomas died after incarceration in Stoke Newington police station and just under 20 years since Harry Stanley was shot dead by the police in our borough, so many of the wide ranging considerations that their deaths raised are still having to be reported and recorded by coroners, writesMary Pimm and Nik Wood, Gore Road, Hackney.

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To take just one example. Coroner Nadia Persaud says that the noise in the command centre made proper communications with the officers restraining and gassing Edson Da Costa ineffective. Exactly the same point was made about the incident room overseen by Cressida Dick during the fatally mistaken operation that killed Jean Charles de Menezes. Do the police never learn anything?

The silly children (MPs) have made a mess of things and seriously damaged the interests of the country by creating uncertainty, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

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This will result in more economic damage than a No Deal would ever do because companies will just postpone investment decisions and many jobs will be lost permanently.

Everyone knows Britain is leaving the EU sooner or later and nothing is gained by a pointless delay and it is wrong that die hard remainers should attempt to overturn the referendum result as they have been doing. The public thought parliament is worthy of contempt since the beginning of 2019 and this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. This is a serious matter because it could lead to a dictatorship. I had occasion to visit Bulgaria in 1966 and I hated every moment. The next time I went behind the old Iron Curtain it was to wedding in Poland when it was a free country. What a contrast.

The uncertainty is damaging the European Union with Germany and Ireland worst hit and I would not be surprised if one of the 27 EU countries says enough is enough and vetoes the requested extension.

Some of the silly children want to stand again as Conservative MPs. I would not bother because your political credibility has been irrevocably destroyed and you will never again achieve high office. Jeremy Corbyn (Labour leader) had the chance to force an election but he ran away. That shows that he is a political coward. The Labour Party would be well advised to drop him and his extreme left colleagues.

The tragedy of this year's political farce is that urgent issues like the housing crisis, the need for lower taxes particularly the need to cut employees national insurance and the problems of the high street have not been tackled.

The UK government is holding an under-publicised consultation on the Electronic Communications Code (EECC), writes Mark Taylor, campaign manager, SayNoTo5G.

This is on the conditions for a more rapid adoption of 5G mobile communications technology, the first wave of which was launched recently.

The advice MPs have received is that the technology is safe for mass use, but this is yet to be proven. The guidance only covers limited heating effects. A planned wave of 5G will use very high frequency pulsed radiation (MMW).

Safeguards on other ionising radiation suggest that this should not be trialled in public places such as near schools or via antennae on lamp posts outside our homes.

Over 200 scientists have called for a halt on expansion until it can be proved safe. The authorities should concentrate on safer alternatives such as wired broadband and Light-Fi. For more on the consultation, which closed on Tuesday, see

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