Here is a round up of letters which appeared in the Bucks Free Press this week.

To have your say, email

Marlow Bridge

Controlling the weight and type of vehicle crossing Marlow Bridge will not be an easy task.

Two years ago I spent two hours for two days taking photos of vehicles breaking the law.

I recorded over 45 vehicles breaking the law from 7.30 to 9.30. When the police are there it will prevent drivers breaking the law.

However, we cannot expect the police to be there every day so there needs to be another way of dealing with the problem.

In France, they have a system of recording every vehicle crossing a weak bridge which records the vehicle number plates that are then passed through a system which records vehicles breaking the law.

A fine of £50 for such vehicles would pay for the system and make all drivers aware that they are being recorded.

Another system – putting a metal bar above the height of a car but lower than a van or small lorry would be in action 24 hours a day.

It would need to be well back from the bridge to preserve the appearance of the bridge which is very important. From my home I see vehicles breaking the law so I am aware it is a difficult problem.

Lewis Green, address withheld

Marlow archeological remains

Thank you for drawing attention to the unsatisfactory situation concerning the archaeological remains at Low Grounds in Marlow.

This is a very rich and nationally important site with evidence of early industrial and agricultural activity, together with three Bronze Age barrows, two mortuary enclosures and what appears to be a Neolithic house.

Much of this is contemporary with the main phase of Stonehenge when the huge sarsen trilithons were erected. This site merits thorough and careful investigation rather than a quick dig.

May I clarify a couple of matters: the landowner is willing to admit Marlow Archaeology on to the site, but not until after an agreement has been reached by them with the Environment Agency.

It is two years since the go-ahead for the flood alleviation scheme was announced, yet the Agency is still without an access agreement.

We had suggested to the Agency a minor modification to the layout of the “fill area” where the excavated soil will be placed, so that the archaeological features could be investigated after the compensatory reservoir had been completed. Unfortunately the Agency has dismissed this proposal.

We understand that the Agency may contract a commercial archaeological organisation to investigate the site before construction commences, denying the local involvement that is a condition of the planning consent.

I should add that reduction of flood risk to properties in the Pound Lane area is not dependent on completion of the compensatory reservoir.

Peter Borrows, chairman Marlow Archaeology

Think about it, Rev

It's disheartening, but not surprising to see that Reverend Simpson continues to choose to lash out at a portion of the population he doesn’t understand (BFP Letters, March 10), rather than employ civil conversation to speak with them, and reach a better understanding of why the changes in policy with the RAF and BMA have come about.

Such a reaction only serves to damage his own standing in the community, and to turn people away from religion when they see its representatives act so unsympathetically. and aggressively. 

Demonising and attacking individuals does not present an inclusive or open-minded image of his church or faith, but one that is unfriendly and closed-minded.

Reverend Simpson laments how “society has turned its back upon Christianity”, while also doing everything he can to discourage new members from seeking to find religion.  He should consider his own actions, and how they have contributed to his lament.

Benjamin King, Wheeler Avenue, Penn

Such fine support

All too often we hear complaints of a lack of community spirit, but I want to thank the retailers and businesses of Beaconsfield and beyond for the stunning support they have just given to the St Mary’s and All Saints PTA promise auction, held on Saturday, March 11 at St Mary’s and All Saints C of E Primary School in Maxwell Road.

Everyone approached for a ‘promise’ or a donation, from MP Dominic Grieve (who donated a bottle of House of Commons wine signed by the Prime Minister) to the smallest independent business were incredibly generous. 

None, more-so than Hamptons International in Beaconsfield, who undertook all our printing for us.

It is thanks to all of you that just over £8,000 was raised to benefit the children of the school.

Long may Beaconsfield’s community spirit continue.

Amanda Rayner, chair of St Mary’s and All Saints PTA

Give me answers

Bucks County Council has invested a large sum of taxpayers’ money into the Energy for Waste plant near Greatmoor in Bucks. 

BCC prides itself on its investment expertise. So you would think it would be proud to explain what a good financial deal it is. But not a bit of it.

In January I asked BCC two simple questions (well I thought they were simple): how much had BCC invested in the EfW plant and what would the financial return be.  

Their answer was, “The contract is worth £275 million and will save Buckinghamshire taxpayers over £150 million over its 30-year life.”

You will notice neither of the questions were answered. 

My colleague found the answer to the first question buried in Appendix 2 of BCC’s Treasury Management Strategy.  BCC has invested £181.5 million of which it has borrowed £131.5 million.

However, there was no indication of the estimated return. Apparently BCC prefers to leave it to residents to work this out for themselves.  So I decided to have a go.

In my best case scenario, taxpayers would get an annual return of 0.6% a year.  If correct, BCC would do better using the money to pay off some of its debts which, according to the latest data, are incurring an average interest rate of 5.8 per cent.

In my worst case scenario, BCC would lose £4.9 million a year. This is a loss of 82 per cent on its investment over 30 years and BCC would end up with no assets to pay off the loan.

I went back to BCC asking, under their FoI procedures, for an internal review to get the answers and find out why I hadn’t been given them.    

BCC asked me to clarify why I thought my questions hadn’t been answered. I carefully explained that “the value of the contract” wasn’t the same as “money invested”. In fact it wasn’t clear what “the value of the contract” meant. 

I also provided a definition of financial return. By this time I was having serious doubts about BCC’s understanding of financial investment. 

Mine is pretty basic but even I know that when I ask what the return is on my money the answer is normally a percentage like 3 per cent a year. 

BCC then came back and said I could not require it to do calculations to get my answers. Now this is really worrying.  Hadn’t BCC already worked out the financial return – and preferably before it made the investment? 

So there we have it. Six weeks and still no answer to two simple questions on the investment of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. 

Doesn’t BCC know the answers?  Or are the answers just too embarrassing to make public?

Linda Derrick, Widmer End

EU helps bunnies

Euro MPs have just voted to #EndTheCageAge for farmed rabbits across Europe. This is great news for millions of rabbits and a great example of the EU taking a lead on animal welfare.

Greens have always opposed factory farming and as the Green Party’s animals spokesperson I wholeheartedly welcome the vote.

Rabbits are the fourth most farmed animal in the world. Up to 340 million rabbits are slaughtered annually after a life kept in barren wire cages where their natural behaviour is severely restricted.

Many scientists have called for the cage system to be urgently replaced by one which allows for the natural needs of rabbits to be better taken into account.

The report adopted by MEPs prioritises outlawing the inhumane conditions in which rabbits are kept and eradicating other major problems associated with intensive rabbit rearing. The system in place at the moment leads to the spread of disease and subsequent overuse of antibiotics.

Rabbit farming is relatively small-scale in the UK, but the crucial vote highlights the key role EU membership continues to play in raising the welfare of millions of animals in Britain and the EU.

The closer the relationship the UK maintains with the EU, retaining animal welfare and wildlife protections through single market membership, the better the outcome for British animals.

Animal advocates must continue lobbying the UK government to ensure the current legal protections, for all species, offered by EU membership are maintained and strengthened.

Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for the South East