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

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Please note, any letters sent to the Bucks Free Press office are only being picked up periodically as all staff are still working from home.

LETTER OF THE WEEK - A hearty thanks to our teachers

May I ask that we give a hearty thanks to all our teachers and school staff for their incredible hard work and resilience at this difficult time? 

In spite of the further lockdown, our schools are still open for the children of key workers, those with SEN and the most vulnerable. 

We shouldn’t take this dedication for granted.

Further, those children at home are being given online lessons and work including video lessons by their teachers. 

However, there are still some children living in families who do not have access to laptops or decent broadband. This must be addressed urgently.

In my job as an Educational Psychologist, during more normal times, I frequently observe children in classes.

I know how good the lessons children receive are – this is is down to hard-working, talented teachers. 

Again a massive a massive thank you to our wonderful schools and all their staff.

Dr Nick Jarrett (address withheld)

Efficient vaccination process at Adams Park

I am a patient at the Cherrymead Surgery in Flackwell Heath and have just returned home after having my first vaccination at Adams Park.

The whole procedure was carried out with the maximum assistance and efficiency. 

This was from the staff at the gate to the stadium and those who direct the car-parking, to those who carry out the inevitable administration and the nurse who actually does the injection. 

The process takes about 20 minutes, which includes the mandatory 15 minute wait before you are told you can leave.

So many thanks to the NHS and also to Wycombe Wanderers for making the stadium available.

Mike Dewey (address withheld)

Congratulations to all involved in vaccinating the over 80s at Adams Park. 

Thanks to the good organisation and kindness and patience shown by the medical staff and volunteers, it was not the trying experience we expected.

George Mustow (address withheld)

‘Logic is missing from our legal system’

This is regarding a letter in BFP on January 8 from Phil Jones aimed at my criticism of our inadequate justice system. 

The maximum prison sentence for causing death by dangerous or careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs is 14 years, a sentence which itself is highly inadequate highlighted by the many people who are campaigning to have this increased.

How many people have we ever seen get the 14 year maximum for this offence? Very few, if any.

Mr Jones, in his letter, criticised my comments about the case of James Lavine who, whilst driving under the influence, killed a 13-year-old boy.
My initial query to the judge was why he didn’t give Lavine the maximum sentence stated by law?

Mr Jones then quotes aspects of the law relating to intent by an offender being taken into account.

I say that Lavine did ‘intend’ to drive a motor vehicle after taking drugs, no different to the person who carries a knife or a gun.

And yes Mr Jones I do drive and do it to the letter of the law as befits a member of The Institute of Advanced Motorists sine 1976.

Bad drivers, just like drunk and drugged drivers, kill and injure far too many people and yes, there should be greater retribution towards those that continue to do so.

Yes I did say that I thought James Lavine should have got a life sentence but I meant life, sadly, in law and as Mr Jones pointed out this doesn’t actually mean what it says. Why not?

Common sense and logic are two things that are sadly missing in our legal system, a life sentence should only mean exactly that.

Roy Craig, Hazlemere 

‘Incensed by uninterested landlords’

I am absolutely incensed by uninterested landlords,  who lease inadequate properties to innocent and unsuspecting customers at extortionate prices and then, do nothing to remedy problems that arise.

For the third time, my daughter has moved into what appeared to be the perfect let, only to find that in this instance, after just over one month into the tenancy, large amounts of mould has appeared on the walls due to inadequate insulation and heating.

The dishonesty in leasing these properties is completely unforgivable.

There should be a law that enables tenants to withdraw rental payment until the repair/problem is rectified and if not, allowing them to leave without notice or recompense.

Mrs Green (address withheld)

Why are blocked drains not emptied?

Having seen the article about flooding, I recently walked in Amersham from Copperkins Lane to Chesham Moor.

On the right hand side of the road l counted sixty drains - of them only six were free from rubbish, the rest were completely blocked.

Who is responsible for emptying them. No wonder we get flooding.

Fred Newton (address withheld)

‘Shame on MPs for not voting in favour of new lockdown’

My letter in the January 8 edition of the BFP (‘No political ideology in crisis’) was written before the current lockdown restrictions were announced by Boris Johnson, and I had not originally intended to write anything further. 

However, as Wycombe MP Steve Baker had previously bemoaned the fact that Tier 4 rules were brought in without a vote of the House of Commons, I was interested to know what happened as result of the early recall of Parliament to vote on the approval of the new lockdown restrictions on Wednesday, January 6. 

The approval was given by 525 MPs voting in favour with 16 against. 
Mr Baker chose not to register a vote which could be fairly expressed as an abstention.

In the same edition of January 8, your featured Letter from Westminster was from Chesham and Amersham MP, Dame Cheryl Gillan. 

This letter was headed ‘Tough times ahead but we must observe regulations’ and included words such as ‘England also entered renewed full lockdown because of the surge of the virus variant which is much more easily transmitted’. 

One may have thought from her letter that she would have voted in favour of the lockdown restrictions, but that is not the case. 

Dame Cheryl Gillan also chose not to register a vote. 

She is a joint vice-chair of the 1922 Committee, a Parliamentary group of the backbencher MPs of the Conservative Party and which is highly influential. 

It should be noted that the chair of the 1922 Committee and her co vice-chair both voted against the lockdown restrictions being implemented.

So both Steve Baker and Cheryl Gillan (for perhaps different political reasons) did not vote in favour of the new lockdown restrictions at a time when new Covid weekly cases are in excess of 400,000, deaths numbers are escalating at the most horrific rate and the NHS is on its knees. 

Shame on you both.

Stephen Wildman, Chesham

Please enjoy our countryside responsibly

With outdoor exercise very much in the spotlight during this latest lockdown period, CLA South East is encouraging the public to enjoy our beautiful countryside responsibly during visits.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is urging people to stick to footpaths, bridleways and respect crops and livestock. 

We are calling for this after a number of photos have been posted on social media in recent days of footpaths across fields getting wider and wider as people walk around the increasingly muddy paths, damaging crops.

We at CLA South East, which represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses across Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, have been promoting the Countryside Code in recent months, and now is more important than ever in terms of following its principles.

The spirit of the code is generally adhered to by the majority of people, but there are a few worrying trends that are either based on anti-social behaviour or a lack of awareness of the working countryside.

Common problems include littering, fly-tipping and mismanaging dogs. 

Accessing the fresh air and getting close to nature have widely researched health and wellbeing benefits, but visitors and dog owners need to act responsibly.

Outdoor exercise is a lifeline for many people during this latest Covid-19 lockdown, and we have certainly seen a rise in the number of visitors to rural areas.

While the countryside and its communities very much welcome people, please consider staying as local as possible to minimise travel. 

We would also politely point out that the countryside is a working landscape and a few basic rules need to be followed.

Livestock worrying by dogs not adequately controlled by their owners is on the increase, and with the lambing season just round the corner this is a very real concern for many farmers.

Also in recent days there have been many photos posted on social media of footpaths across fields doubling in width as people walk around the increasingly muddy paths and start to damage crops.

Landowners welcome visitors to share the beauty of our countryside, but please don’t stray from footpaths and bridleways, leave gates how you find them, take rubbish home and keep dogs under control. 

Mobile phone apps don’t always offer accurate directions or reliable routes, so signs should be followed.

Following the Countryside Code and using common sense and courtesy is the least we can do as an unspoken ‘thank you’ to the custodians of our rural landscape.

Michael Valenzia, CLA South East Regional Director

Help the aviation industry recover from crisis caused by pandemic

This is an open letter to the government from campaign group Back Heathrow, and trade unions GMB London, Community and USDAW:

We are writing to you about the crisis in the UK’s aviation industry and the impact it is having on jobs for tens of thousands of local people. 

We are asking you to take urgent, meaningful action to help now before it is too late.

The unions do not always see eye to eye with Heathrow Airport, but we have a shared common interest – the health of the UK’s biggest single site employer and its supply chain.

Before the pandemic struck, millions of passengers passed through Heathrow every year along with huge amounts of cargo, making it the UK’s biggest port by value.

The national lockdowns and ongoing Covid restrictions have contributed to passenger traffic collapsing to record lows with December 83% below the same period in 2019.

A key area where we believe you can help is Heathrow’s business rate burden, which remains a massive £120m a year. 

Recent Government measures provided a 100% business rates waiver for companies like the big supermarkets, whilst Heathrow was given a reduction of just 7%. 

Now we understand that the supermarkets are giving at least £1.4bn of this money back to the government – less than one-tenth of this would help Heathrow survive the present crisis, save countless local businesses, and thousands of jobs.

We urge you to use this money as a lifeline for everyone who depends on Heathrow for their livelihoods and protect the future of our airport.

Whilst we urge you to provide a 100% business rate waiver to Heathrow, we would urge you to also incorporate caveats to ensure the funds are only spent after a dialogue with trade unions to ensure it protects staff at the airport and its supply chain.  

Businesses that rely on Heathrow, workers that rely on a regular wage packet, and communities that rely on both are at a tipping point. 

Airports in Scotland and Northern Ireland have received a 100% waiver for their business rates. 

We believe the country’s largest aviation community - surrounding Heathrow - deserves equal treatment. 

Please act now and save the jobs and businesses that rely on aviation. We look forward to your reply.

Parmjit Dhanda, Tony Warr, Roy Rickhuss and Paddy Lillis