I CANNOT be the only person to have read in horror and sadness about the recent spate of drownings in the city’s rivers (and thankfully, a few successful rescues too), and my sympathies go to the families and friends of those involved.

But surely, it’s not sufficient reason to stop the rest of the population of York and visitors being able to enjoy those same rivers? Proposals to fence the rivers and restrict access to the river banks need to be considered in the light of the real situation.

Hundreds of thousands of people live with, and visit, the rivers in this city, and only a few people have had difficulty or behaved dangerously in or near them. Any deaths are too many, but we need to look at reasons in each specific case.

At least two of the lives lost may well have involved consumption of alcohol. Surely the answer is to restrict the use of alcohol to the few, not to obstruct access for the many? People who choose to jump into the river of their own accord while not drunk have their own reasons, which we may never understand.

It’s profoundly sad and we may not like it, but we can’t legislate against mental illness or the desire to end your own life. What we could do is lobby for an increase in support services for those affected, and give them some hope.

Mark Howard, Middlethorpe Grove, Dringhouses, York.