Gazette letters: Refugees, road closures, waste and walk for dogs

The White Cliffs of Dover, seen from one of the observer windows within Poseidon MRA1 , intended for

The White Cliffs of Dover, seen from one of the observer windows within Poseidon MRA1 , intended for submarine-hunting and the tracking of maritime targets, is assisting with monitoring the situation in the English Channel. Picture: SAC Aeris Finney RAF/MOD - Credit: PA

Home Secretary Priti Patel has called the death of a 16-year-old Sudanese boy who drowned on Wednesday August 19, 2020 trying to get to the UK from France in a makeshift boat a “tragic loss of a young life.” This plumbs new depth of hypocrisy even by Tory standards, writes Sasha Simic, Stoke Newington, full address supplied.

Priti Patel bears direct, personal responsibility for the boy’s death.

As an MP Patel has voted to deploy UK armed forces in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria. She has helped destabilise the region that boy was running from.

As home secretary, Patel has taken a pitiless attitude toward the tiny numbers of people who are so desperate to escape war, poverty and oppression they risk their lives trying to cross the English Channel in flimsy dinghies.

When the Sudanese boy was alive Patel saw him, and desperate refugees like him, as a “totally unacceptable threat”.

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This unforgivable as Patel is well aware of the condition Sudan is in after years of dictatorship, civil unrest, human rights abuses, mass internal displacement and famine. Patel visited Sudan in April 2017 as international development secretary and saw first-hand the hell that Syrian boy was running from. The former dictator of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir had $9 billion which he looted from his people stashed in London banks.

That money was welcomed here by our rulers.

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But the door to the UK was closed to a 16-year-old Sudanese boy.

Patel has gone as far as to deploy the Navy against refugees, creating the post of “clandestine Channel threat commander” with orders to make the route to the UK via the Channel “unviable”.

Patel has smeared the small boat crossings as “illegal” knowing full well that under international law anyone has the right to apply for asylum in any country that has signed the 1951 Convention and to remain there until the authorities have assessed their claim. It is not a crime to claim asylum. The small boat crossing are desperately dangerous – but they are legal. Patel’s ‘solution’ to the Convention has been to draft new anti-refugee legislation boating they are so draconian they will “send the left into meltdown.”

Patel has worked hard to vilify and demonise refugees.

She has worked hard to make it near impossible for refugees to enter the UK by safe routes.

Priti Patel has blamed “criminal gangs and people smugglers” for the death of the 16-year-old Sudanese refugee.

I blame politicians who have built careers peddling hatred against refugees and who see these desperate people as “invaders”. They have blood on their hands.

Time to reject that hate that Patel pushes. Refugees should be welcomed here.

We’ve been lobbying our Islington Council members to end rat-running in Englefield Road and our entire area for several years, writes Mark Newbanks, Englefield Road, Islington.

After Hackney closed most of De Beauvoir’s streets, traffic in Islington became even worse as cars were displaced onto Islington roads. When the City extended the congestion charge, the surge continued.

With Covid, the negative implications on the health of our citizens of motor vehicle traffic became crystal clear, and we’re supportive of radical measures to improve Islington for all residents by taking such steps as fully closing residential roads to all but local traffic. Push through-traffic back to the outer ring roads, and encourage everyone to use the public transport system.

Our local businesses, our health and our livelihoods depend on the continued creativity of our elected officials. Bravo to Rowena Champion and Islington Council - thank you!

Viral videos of a van upending wood, rubble and plastic on a quiet street in Croydon in July and another of a woman trying to dump furniture outside an Enfield resident’s gate have shocked Londoners, writes Caroline Russell, Green Party London Assembly member and councillor for Highbury East.

These videos highlight the massive increase in fly-tipping across the capital since lockdown.

Figures from the Clear Waste app show fly-tipping has increased on average by 383 per cent between April and July compared to March.

Although many waste and recycling centres have reopened, fly-tipping is still a problem. This may be because people aren’t aware that tips are open again or they find it too much hassle to use new Covid-safe booking systems.

The big question is what will happen to this fly tipping?

More than likely it will be burned, rather than recycled.

In 2018-19 recycling rates in London were 33.4pc, up just 0.3pc on the previous year and well below the 50pc target.

At the same time, the amount of waste sent by London’s local authorities for incineration went up by nearly three per cent to 58.3pc.

It is time for the mayor to set targets on reducing the overall waste produced in London to cut the amount of stuff that gets burnt and improve the rates of reuse and repair.

At PDSA, the UK’s leading vet charity, we provide life-saving care to pets in need and believe no pet should suffer due to financial hardship, writes Lynne James, PDSA Vet.

But the coronavirus pandemic has left us facing a national crisis. With the country plunged into financial uncertainly, and more than a million extra universal credit claims, we expect the number of pets needing our help to increase by around 50,000. So support from local animal lovers is needed now more than ever.

We’re urging dog owners and their four-legged friends to put their best paw forward and support our vital service by signing up to the World Big Dog Walk Challenge.

Joining celebrities and animal lovers across the UK, all you need to do is choose a suitable distance for you and your dog to complete during September. This could be your regular ‘walkies’ route around your local park or why not stretch yourself and take on a more challenging distance? Whatever the distance, every small step will make a big different to the lives of poorly pets in desperate need of life-saving treatment.

Our veterinary service has been a lifeline to so many pets and their owners across the UK during the crisis so by choosing to support PDSA through this fun virtual event, we can continue our vital work saving sick and injured pets in need.

Visit for more information and to sign up.

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