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Readers' Letters

Gazette letters: Summer snakes, bus services and pension credit

PUBLISHED: 08:30 20 July 2019

Look out for grass snakes while walking along the River Lea. Picture: WILL McCALLUM

Look out for grass snakes while walking along the River Lea. Picture: WILL McCALLUM

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The thick smell of summer has crept out into the open air, overwhelming us as we walk along the street, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Honeysuckles, jasmines, lime flowers all competing for full access to our noses. Alongside the diesel, dog poo and baked goods that occasionally waft past.

To access the full stench of the season I'd recommend closing off your other senses - no music in your ears and stop moving for a minute. Then the scents take shape - multiple odours from many corners.

But don't keep your eyes closed too long - the summer has much to observe. I have been running up and down the Lea a lot the past week, enjoying the slightly cooler mornings and the scruffy adolescent birds emerging from the reeds. It is a particular joy of living in Hackney - such easy access to the marshy (almost) countryside. Heading north past Tottenham I was lucky enough to come across a grass snake swimming in a lock - yellow and black markings around its neck, head held just above water. Worried it was trapped in the lock, its life at risk from the enormous tugboat passing through, the boat's pilot pulled it out of the water with a broom handle only to watch it slither into the bushes.

Eyes peeled, nostrils flared, and clothing for all weather packed in your bag - proceed with caution through this summer.

Having read Christopher Sill's letter in the Gazette, titled "Bus service debacle is not acceptable", nothing that Transport for London (TfL) does these days surprises me anymore, writes Mr J E Kirby, Clissold Crescent, Stoke Newington.

For instance, a couple of Saturdays or so ago, the no 476 bus route was supposed to start running to King's Cross instead of going to Euston. Guess what? Exactly a week earlier on the Saturday before it started going to King's Cross instead of Euston. It started doing this route change a week earlier than advertised.

I have written to TfL asking why this is, giving one message on the bus and doing a completely different thing, but so far I have had a deafening silence.

It seems the mayor of London, who by the way is also the chairman of TfL, seems to have one thing in mind, to completely wreck the bus services. The no 341 bus route that used to come from Waterloo and through Holborn via Fleet Street has now been diverted to run along Farringdon Road in both directions instead of coming down Gray's Inn Road and turning into Clerkenwell Road instead.

In the case of curtailing the day no 277 bus to turn round at Dalston Junction, they somehow manage to run a night no 277 along from Dalston in both directions up to Highbury and along Upper Street to the Angel and then into Pentonville Road and terminate in Baron Street. Funnily enough, they are unable to do this for a day bus. The night 277 then goes back down White Lion Street and turns into Upper Street opposite the Angel Tube station and goes back along Upper Street, so if it can do this as night, then why not in the day?

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So much for Mr Kahn's ambition to get people out of their cars and onto buses. Perhaps if he spent a bit more time running London instead of having a petulant spat with Donald Trump and both of them stopped bringing the offices they represent into disrepute, it would be better for all of us. They remind me of a couple of juvenile school boys.

I don't particularly like either of them but they represent the offices of the president of the United States of America and the mayor of London so it's about time they started acting as they should. If they can't then they should step aside and let somebody who is able to fill the duties do so.

Everyone knows that London needs more housing but for new developments to work, transport must be an integral part of the picture from the outset, writes Caroline Russell, Green Party Member for the London Assembly.

That is why I am urging the Mayor of London to provide extra bus routes to serve areas where new housing is planned.

Increased use of public transport is a key part of our response to the climate emergency and we must ensure that no Londoner feels forced to own a car to get around.

The BBC plans to make most over-75s pay the TV licence fee but will continue to provide TV licenses to over-75s who claim pension credit, a means-tested benefit designed to help the elderly, writes June Bennet, Benefitanswers.

Four out of 10 households (or up to 1.3 million families) that could receive pension credit are not claiming the benefit.

That works out at £3.5bn a year in pension credit that goes unpaid!

So, if you have ever wondered if you could be eligible for pension credit now is the time to find out if only to save the cost of the TV licence!

Benefitanswers offer a free check which will tell you if you could be entitled to pension credit. For your free check telephone 0330 223 4773.

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