Public consultations are a dark art. More often than not, questions are framed to elicit the response that the decision makers want to hear.

Take the example of the recent consultation on plans to dual York’s outer ring road. Evidently this has received overwhelming backing from residents (Residents back ring road plan, The Press, September 24).

Like motherhood and apple pie, no one is going to object to the promise of reduced traffic congestion and better cycle access.

However, a different response from residents would almost certainly have resulted from a more honest consultation question such as: ‘Do you support road widening to open up the green belt north of York to further urban development which will also lead to even more traffic?’.

David Farnsworth, Old Orchard, Haxby