Letters: The heat pump drive is the product of a half-baked energy strategy
SIR – Matthew Lynn (Comment, March 16) is spot on in his analysis of the heat pump fiasco. It is a perfect example of this Government’s half-baked policy-making.
Where is all the electricity going to come from (not just to power the heat pumps, but also the electric cars we are going to be forced to buy)?
The Government has shown support for small modular reactors, a sensible solution. But even on this it is dithering, opening up a competition to build them (report, March 16) when Rolls-Royce is ready to go.
SIR – Some years ago, in the United States, we lived in a new-build house with an air-source heat pump.
It was the most dreadful method of heating a home we have ever experienced, failing to heat the property to a comfortable level in a reasonable time frame. We had to install a wood-burning stove to compensate. The outside unit was unsightly and noisy, and the ducting at floor level simply created draughts.
How anyone can think that these devices are the future is beyond me.
SIR – My experience of air-source heat pumps is that they work fine in relatively warm weather, but in temperatures below 5C they don’t provide any worthwhile heat.
So effectively in the winter, when you need heat most, they are useless.
SIR – As demonstrated in your article (“Fitting a heat pump has been an expensive waste of time”, telegraph.co.uk, March 12), there is a pressing need for more skilled workers to retrofit Britain’s historic buildings.
A report published last week by Historic England, Grosvenor, Peabody, the Crown Estate and the National Trust highlights that this country has only half the skilled workers necessary to take on this task.
We need more than 105,000 new workers, including plumbers and electricians, to work solely on decarbonising our historic buildings for the next three decades in order to meet our 2050 net zero target. This is both a challenge and an opportunity to boost economic output and create jobs, while also future-proofing our precious heritage.
Director of Policy and Evidence, Historic England
NHS in disarray
SIR – Twice my life has been saved by practitioners within the NHS – first when I contracted severe double pneumonia in 2016, and then after I suffered a massive pulmonary embolism in 2018.
However, it is apparent that the whole system is unsustainable, requiring a bottomless pit of money, and groaning under the weight of bureaucracy. If the entire wealth of the nation was poured into the NHS, it still wouldn’t be enough.
Last week I tried to make a pastoral visit to a friend who had been rushed to hospital. I sought but never found her on the first day. The area she was in had dozens of people on trollies. The staff were trying to do their best in the worst of circumstances.
Fortunately, the next morning, my friend had been transferred to a bed in a ward, and I was able to be with her and her family as she died peacefully. The doctors and nurses were outstanding in the care they proffered.
Why can’t politicians of any hue acknowledge the need for a new healthcare system that gives dignity to the sick and dying?
Rev Michael J Maine
Ditchling, East Sussex
SIR – Could someone advise me as to what exactly Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, is doing to justify her salary of a quarter of a million pounds?
She seems to be accountable for nothing, as all the blame for the pay and working conditions of nurses, doctors and ambulance staff has been heaped on the Government. Surely she should be addressing these matters, like any chief executive of a private company.
Pensions dividing line
SIR – At first I had doubts about Rishi Sunak and his team. Then came this week’s Budget and the abolition of the lifetime pensions allowance, and I thought: “May this be the first of many bold moves.”
Then came Labour’s reaction and I thought: “Here’s clear blue water between the Conservatives and the socialists.”
SIR – The removal of the pension lifetime allowance is to be commended as a (sadly, all too infrequent) step towards tax simplification.
The annual allowance is an effective way of limiting the amount of tax rebates on pension contributions, whereas the lifetime allowance was simply a tax on investment growth.
Those who think that this is an expensive tax giveaway may not be aware that the Chancellor has also frozen the pension commencement lump sum (or 25 per cent tax-free lump sum) at £268,275. Over time this will limit the cost of pension tax rebates as more and more pension withdrawals are taxed at a marginal rate of income tax and the now-capped pension commencement lump sum is eroded by inflation.
Midhurst, West Sussex
SIR – Dominic Shelmerdine (Letters, March 16) thinks Jeremy Hunt delivered the best Budget he could in the circumstances.
However, these “circumstances” are the creation of successive Tory governments over the past 13 years – including the present Prime Minister during his time as Chancellor.
Scouts swap screens for old-fashioned fun
SIR – As a Scout leader of almost 50 years’ standing, I was enthralled by Emily Bearn’s review (March 16) of The Handbook of Forgotten Skills, which encourages children to discover old-fashioned fun.
I would recommend that parents who wish to weaken their child’s permanent connection to the internet persuade them to join the Scouts.
Scouting is anti-discriminatory and inclusive. It is the largest youth organisation in the world, and promotes resilience and care for others. It provides a couple of hours a week, plus weekends and whole weeks in the camping season, when its members will be away from their phones and busy knotting, mapping or hiking.
Scouts long ago discarded marching, saluting, strange hats, compulsory religious practice and silly songs. Well, maybe not the songs. I recommend it for all young people.
SIR – Just a month ago Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC (Letters, March 16), said that it was “truly amazing” that people were prepared to pay a forced licence fee (report, February 17).
That the fee may now increase by a further £13 a year (report, March 17) simply confirms our inability to disabuse him of his arrogant self-delusion.
SIR – Tim Davie’s capitulation to the recent insurrection at the BBC means his authority has gone, and that renders his position untenable.
He must therefore be removed from post and, as a first step, his successor must cancel Gary Lineker’s contract and sack every individual who refused to work normally last weekend.
No organisation can possibly survive if the board and senior management fail to assert their authority – regardless of the possible short-term collateral damage.
SIR – Philip Johnston (Comment, March 15) asks why we are forced to pay for the BBC.
For the price of the licence fee (currently £159) we get four entertainment television channels, a news channel and a Parliament channel, six national radio channels and a large number of local radio channels. This is a wide-ranging mix.
Mr Johnston says he subscribes to Amazon, Netflix, BritBox, Disney and Now TV. I estimate that this costs him more than £500 per year. For this money he is not getting radio, or the diversity that the BBC’s television and radio output offers. In terms of value for money, the BBC wins handsomely.
SIR – Two years after the death of my sister from terminal cancer, BBC licence-fee letters were still arriving at her empty flat on a regular basis, threatening debt-collecting visits, court action and fines.
This despite the fact that I had informed them of my sister’s passing, and her estate was due the remittance of the full licence fee. We are still awaiting that payment.
SIR – I am amazed at the Government’s promise of an extra £200 million – of taxpayers’ money – to deal with potholes. The reason for the failure of joints in a road surface is simple. The edges of the joint should be sealed with hot (not cold) bitumen. That way, water will not enter the joint and freeze, causing another hole. It worked well in the 1960s, when pride was taken in the quality of road surfaces.
The stated reason hot bitumen is not used is that the motorcycle and cycle lobbies claim it is dangerous to them. While this might be true on certain high-speed roads, it certainly does not apply to most local and rural roads.
SIR – In Lincolnshire alone, £200 million would not be enough to repair the craters that deface the roads.
The national road network needs to be dug up and replaced mile by mile.
SIR – I disagree with Chris King’s claim (Letters, March 17) that dogs do not enjoy jogging with their owners, and that such dogs are not well socialised.
In quests to improve my fitness I have jogged with several different dogs over the years, and they all appeared to enjoy it greatly, learning to recognise the signs of going out for a jog as opposed to a walk and showing their excitement at the prospect.
Mr King says he dislikes seeing dogs “pounding along to keep up with their owners”. In my experience, larger dogs – like the one Jeremy Hunt was photographed jogging with – have a natural trotting pace not dissimilar to our jogging pace, and frequently choose to move at this speed when unrestrained.
SIR – Jeremy Hunt has gone up in my estimation as someone who enjoys exercising with his dog.
Our dogs have swum, sailed in our yacht, Munro-bagged, mountain-biked alongside us and broken trail in heavy snow.
Our family joke, whenever we go to collect a new dog, is that they will cower behind the nearest sofa, paw over faces, muttering: “Oh no – it’s a Royal Marine.”
Lt Col Roger Armstrong RM (retd)
SIR – I am so grateful to Dr Chris Topping for his letter (March 11) regarding my late mother, Barbara Woodhouse.
A repeat of her series, Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way, would do so much good in the dog world.
How about it, BBC?
Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
Letters to the Editor
We accept letters by post, fax and email only. Please include name, address, work and home telephone numbers.
ADDRESS: 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0DT
FAX: 020 7931 2878
FOLLOW: Telegraph Letters on Twitter @LettersDes