This is what you have been writing to us about this week.

To send your own letter, email Please note, any letters sent to the Bucks Free Press office are only being picked up periodically during lockdown.

Fix the roads during lockdown

Local authorities seem to have taken the lockdown as an opportunity to abandon maintenance and repair which could have continued within the regulations. For example why have the flower beds been left to die for lack of watering? Why has the grass not been cut? Why have the streets not been swept and why have our potholes not been repaired?

For the last six weeks the roads have been virtually empty giving an ideal opportunity for the roads to be repaired and for the increasing number of large potholes to be filled in without too much disruption to traffic.

Bucks CC has been given a government grant for this work and the Dept of Transport has said that the work should have been carried out to clear a backlog of repairs so why is it not being done? When the lockdown is removed motorists will be faced with increasingly longer delays by temporary traffic signals at road repairs which could have been completed.

All these tasks, the watering of the flower beds, grass cutting, road sweeping and road repairs could easily have been completed while still maintaining social distancing.

Arnie Parr, address withheld

Diversity and the NHS

In June 2019 I had a consultation at Stoke Mandeville hospital. I have been advised that my annual review will now be conducted by phone, due to the covid-19 crisis. This has caused me to look back on my experience of a year ago. I was extremely impressed with the excellence of the care and the efficiency of the service at the hospital. I was in and out in less than 2 hours, having had various tests and met and discussed matters with the consultant.

The empathy and individual care shown to each patient (including a little boy, just ahead of me) was memorable. I encountered a dozen staff of various nationalities and ethnic origins, from the Caribbean to the Far East. They worked as a harmonious team. I complimented the consultant (Middle Eastern?) on the quality of the service. He seemed a little surprised (but pleased) and apologised for the short delay in seeing me. I came away feeling privileged and proud of our NHS.

Much has changed in the ensuing months. The NHS is staffed by the same wonderful people, and some have come out of retirement to help. They are working under the most difficult of conditions, for which the country was unprepared. Those providing care in the community have the same challenges, often exacerbated by a lack of personal protection equipment and testing. To have lost so many members of this invaluable workforce to the virus has added to the tragedy of the pandemic.

Many (including the Prime Minister) have described the dedication and expertise of the medical and caring professions as “awe-inspiring”. We may soon begin to see a gradual slowing of the pandemic in the UK. But we must be wary of talk of “sunlit uplands”, from the PM. It smacks of nostalgia, and (particularly as we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE Day) we must not make the mistake of thinking we can recapture the past. This crisis will give rise to inevitable change.

We cannot recapture what is lost, but we can commit to building on the best of the past. Let’s put our hope into a new vision for our future and focus our energies on that, starting with an integrated health and social care system, that can fully cater for our community.

Rachel Dineley, Diversity Officer, Chiltern Liberal Democrats

A lockdown poem to cheer us up

To cheer us on this is to be sung to the tune of that wonderful old standard "Learning the Blues".

"The carparks are empty,

The High Streets deserted.

They say the lockdown is ending;

It's the tenth time we've heard it.

It's never-ending,

We need some good news.

Instead of these lessons

In those old 'lockdown blues”.

Graham Collingwood, Marlow

EU cooperation on health

To enjoy the benefit of European data sharing on health, police and security means accepting European Union standards on the protection of personal data, and the role of the EU's lower and upper court.

The court doesn't deal with criminal or family law. Instead, it answers questions on what EU law means. It makes sure that the rules that have been agreed are applied consistently, fairly and equally.

To help keep everyone safe, what's needed is to keep the UK in the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Phil Jones, member, European Movement UK, High Wycombe

Heathrow disruption woes

With the significant reduction in flights, countless residents around Heathrow are mentioning how clear the air is, the skies are quieter and birdsong can be heard as they truly relax in their gardens for the first time in decades.

It has been a welcome relief for many who, in normal times, have been subjected to the constant barrage of aircraft overhead.

Heathrow recently scaled down the use of the runways with the introduction of mixed mode – arrivals and departures on one runway – with runway use alternating every Monday. This is a temporary measure during the current COVID-19 pandemic which has seen global air travel significantly reduced.

However, rather than be lulled into a false sense of security – air travel will eventually pick up again – we must continue to monitor Heathrow’s operations and hold them to account.

In 2002, mixed mode was mooted in expansion proposals to increase flights from around 480,000 to 540,000. Technological improvements and the introduction of Independent Parallel Approaches could see this figure rise to around 565,000 flights today.

The recent Court of Appeal ruling dealt a significant blow to Heathrow’s third runway expansion proposals, the government had no appetite to challenge the decision but Heathrow was not content to let that judgment prevail and sought leave to appeal through the Supreme Court – a ruling on this is due within weeks.

Regardless of the Supreme Court decision or the impact of COVID-19 on air travel, you can wager Heathrow’s relentless pursuit of expansion will continue.

One way to achieve this would be the introduction of full mixed mode operations on both runways. Some may think that mixed mode would be the lesser of two evils and a solution to Heathrow’s expansion problem.

The reality is mixed mode would bring an end to the current half day respite from aircraft noise, increase in ground noise, increase in road traffic, reduced air quality and, of course, more emissions impacting climate change.

The temporary mixed mode operations must end once COVID-19 restrictions start to ease, not as a way to introduce a form of expansion at Heathrow. We are ready to fight any new battle for expansion at Heathrow.

Geraldine Nicholson, Stop Heathrow Expansion

Lockdown was the right call

I'm grateful to the Bucks Free Press for covering my article for the Telegraph online. Both your coverage and the Telegraph's has given me cause to bless headline writers.

As I said in the article, going into lockdown was the right call to protect the public. But being in lockdown too has costs, like people declining to seek non-COVID emergency treatment when they should certainly do so, and the immense economic cost, which also shortens lives and which has not yet come fully home to us all.

Today is the first opportunity Parliament has had to scrutinise rules which changed our lives in the most draconian way in our history. They were made law only after police started enforcing them following the Prime Minister's announcement. That must never happen again. And there are legitimate legal questions about their basis in law, which need addressing and resolving.

Finally, because police elsewhere have enforced ministers' opinions, instead of the law as they should, we have seen absurd circumstances, like a woman being challenged for yoga not being exercise, a man accused of sweating too little when cycling and so on. I am thankful that here in Wycombe we have had first class policing and I have received hardly a complaint.

The rule of law must be upheld properly if we are to preserve and extend the institutions on which our freedom and prosperity depend. That is the task on which I have been engaged today.

The rules remain in force. People must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

Steve Baker, Wycombe MP

Bins are not being emptied

Walking round Wycombe town, you can see the bins are not being emptied – there is rubbish everywhere in the side streets.

Someone has been burning rubbish.

Just when the streets need cleaning at this worrying time.

I hope it gets cleaned up soon.

Name and address withheld

Why can’t I pay my tax?

I am 74 years of age and supposed to be in isolation. Every year when my winter fuel allowance comes through, I don’t touch it in order to pay my council tax.

I pay it all at one go with my debit card at their offices. I can’t do that now. I have tried to contact them but all I get is stupid online sites or an automatic payment phone number.

I have no internet at home, libraries are closed. I pay £127 a year.

I have sent a letter to them asking for their bank details and a form two weeks ago – no reply.

The council are always about the people not paying it.

Well I have advice free of charge from a retired solicitor – she has advised me to do nothing until they contact me. She is a member of my church. Well they can take away the privilege by 10 monthly instalments which I don’t use.

I will pay as soon as they give me details of how to pay by giving me their banking details.

Edwin Sykes, High Wycombe