I WOULD like to respond to the letter from Ian Kell in last week's Gazette ('Kendal will go on to grow and prosper').

The author appears to object to the publication of letters discussing the wisdom of going ahead with the hard engineering flood defence scheme planned by the Environment Agency.

As the writer of one of the letters printed previously (Letters, January 16, 'High-risk strategy'), I would like to point out that the role of a local newspaper is surely to give coverage to a wide range of opinions on topics of local importance.

I would also gently remind Mr Kell that several of his own lengthy missives on the subject have been published in the Gazette letters page, including last week's contribution with its immature name-calling of his fellow townsfolk. To assert that anyone who takes an interest in the future of our town is a "homeopath", a follower of a "fringe religion" or a "Swampy" would be insulting if it wasn't so laughably childish. Grow up, Mr Kell, and by all means engage in the debate but please, in an informed, respectful and adult manner.

As for the statement that anyone who dares to question the Environment Agency scheme also believes that "all intervention is wrong", nothing could be further from the truth and I would like to take the opportunity to correct this blatantly false accusation.

On the contrary, we believe there are alternative options that would not only work better for our town's infrastructure, culture, environment and wildlife, and reduce the carbon emissions associated with thousand of tonnes of heavy engineering, but would also allow our farms and communities to be fully involved in implementing effective solutions.

That is why we are calling for an independent review - so we can be sure we are investing in a long-term flood management scheme that will protect and enhance our beautiful town in the best way possible.

Kay Cook