Proof that £12 million was spent by council I READ with interest your Question & Answer session with the leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Keith Walters. In answer to a question regarding the expenditure of £12 million on consultants, he replied

Proof that £12 million was spent by council

I READ with interest your Question & Answer session with the leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Keith Walters. In answer to a question regarding the expenditure of £12 million on consultants, he replied 'we did not spend £12 million pounds on consultants last year'. 'The real figure is nearer £5 million'. Some of the money quoted as consultancy was, in fact, normal contractor support'.

The minutes of the county council meeting of December 13, 2005 accurately record:

Cllr Bell had asked the Cabinet member for corporate services, Cllr Powley, about the council's expenditure on consultants. The response noted that total expenditure during 2004/05 had been £11.7 million... the response also noted that the council expected to spend £12.1 million on consultants in 2005/06.

Is this yet another example of what Cllr Walters calls the opposition citing 'unspecified incompetence on the part of the Conservative administration' or could it be, specifically, that Cllr Powley couldn't correctly answer a direct written question submitted two weeks in advance?

The expenditure of £5 million is still more than three times the £1.6 million spent by Suffolk County Council and means that private consultants, not involved in the delivery of front-line services, are being paid £20,000 every working day by Cambridgeshire County Council while essential services face drastic cuts.

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NIGEL BELL (Liberal Democrat county councillor for Ely North and East)

Clearing rubbish is your responsibility

I HAVE just returned from another Sunday morning run and feel fed up and disillusioned. I run from Little Downham to Ely, along the Ely Road, every Sunday morning and every week the path and the hedgerows are looking more and more like the local rubbish dump.

This week, it appears as if someone has emptied the entire contents of their dustbin in the middle of the road. None of this rubbish is ever going to disappear and there is more and more accumulating. The majority is plastic, metal or glass and it's still going to be there in hundreds of years' time.

Why is this happening and why don't people care about their surroundings? People who say 'what does it matter or why make a fuss' just don't seem to care about anything. Are these people going to carry the same attitude to work? They seem to expect someone else will clear up the mess.

This isn't anyone else's job and it's nothing to do with the council or the Government. It is up to each individual not to throw their rubbish away in the countryside or on the streets. We all have regular rubbish collections and there is an excellent recycling centre at Grunty Fen and plenty of bottle banks around the towns and villages.

When I have travelled to Germany and New Zealand, I have been struck by how clean the towns and the countryside are. People seem to care about their environment. Whereas we seem happy to live in a rubbish dump.


Little Downham.

Thanks for slowing down for our ducks

THANK you to all those readers who have made a conscious effort to slow down and drive carefully in Broad Street in order to protect the Muscovy ducks. On Saturday evening, I was driving along Broad Street and noticed a Muscovy duck waddling along the road in the opposite direction with a car following behind very slowly. Well done to that gentleman and anyone else who has shown patience and tolerance towards the ducks.

I would also like to thank all those readers who wrote to Cambridgeshire County Council to support my idea of erecting 'slow down for ducks' warning signs at each end of Broad Street. I am sorry to inform you that I received a rather negative and unsympathetic response from the county council.

I have referred the matter to RSPCA and it may be that they will have some ideas as to how they can be protected. In the meantime, please continue to drive with extreme care in and around Broad Street to protect these lovely birds from the horrendous traffic we now have in Ely.


Gilbert Scott Drive


Councillor is so self- important

I READ with dismay Cllr Maccaulife's letter in the Ely Standard entitled Council opinion is same as villagers.

I would be ashamed if I were a parish councillor who represents the local people and to be so out-of-touch. When she said 'if the parish council resigned there would be no-one to represent them' is she so self-important that she thinks that no-one will want her job. So much for you setting the record straight Cllr Maccaulife, I think you should resign and give someone else a chance.


Third Drove

Little Downham.

Footpath is hard to find

I WRITE on the great debate about 'empty' chairs at the Little Downham Parish Council meeting. Perhaps at the next meeting, Cllr Maccauliffe could be in charge of seating and if she numbers the chairs she will know how many people were at the meeting.

If the parish council and ECDC are going to call for extraordinary meetings, then perhaps next time we should have a park-and-ride system for Little Downham as I couldn't get parked close to the village and the footpath keeps moving and I couldn't find it.


Figments are still up flying!

WITH reference to your piece headed: MP joins bid to divert all noisy crafts, many years ago Ely CND made the same protests, alongside other concerned citizens of Ely.

As a result of representations from the mayor to the USAF at Mildenhall and Lakenheath, he was invited on a VIP day out to the American bases, wined and dined and even, I think, taken on a flight. On his return, we were assured that planes did not fly over Ely. What we were seeing was a figment of our imaginations. Do you think those same figments are still flying or are these new ones?


Little Downham

This noise is just too much

THE noise from aircraft flying over Ely is too much. We have jet planes headed for the airbases one after another and the noise is deafening - even with the doors and windows closed.

Some of them screech. They fly at night over our house and sometimes you can see the wheels being lowered because they are so low. Something really needs to be done about this.


Fordham Road


Reduces our quality of life

CONGRATULATIONS to our MP Jim Paice for trying to get USAF planes to stop flying over Ely. It has become a real nuisance and reduces the quality of life here. I can see no reason why planes should not be diverted a few degrees so as to cause the least disturbance to everyone around the town.

Are these flights really necessary?


Lynn Road


More important things than the aircraft noise

IT'S nice to read in your paper that our MP Jim Paice is backing the Ely society in a bid to get USAF aircraft diverted around Ely.

With the amount of vandalism and law-breaking in Ely, is this what the law abiding people of Ely really want? What about pollution? Take Market Street with taxis, buses, cars, and the lorries that cannot deliver because the unloading bays are full of cars and no traffic wardens in Ely to move them on, the pollution must be as bad as five large aircraft a day flying over and the noise about the same.

These aircraft sounds are to most in today's unstable world the sound of freedom. The sound that food and help is on its way to millions of people less fortunate than us.

Ask all the people of Ely what they would like to see you support to make Ely a better city to live in. I am sure aircraft noise won't be at the top of my list.


Zero tolerance for drugs introduced into schools

THE King's School is correct in believing that pupil safety is of paramount importance following discovery of cannabis on its premises. Parents and pupils understand and support a clear written policy against drugs misuse. Anguish over the alleged severity of the consequences tends only to arise when a family becomes defensive when their own child is caught.

The headteacher of an independent grammar school in Yorkshire has suggested exactly the same pattern when dealing with this situation, namely, permanent exclusion for introducing the drugs or temporary exclusion for being found in possession.

A school would not be providing a useful education for adult life if it allowed a transgressor to break its drugs policy without incurring the full penalty of exclusion for someone who brought drugs into school.


Reads Street