Comment: National Marine Centre will be an asset

Scottish Seabird Centre plans for new development in North Berwick.
Scottish Seabird Centre plans for new development in North Berwick.
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IT has never been more important to raise awareness of Scotland’s amazing marine heritage and the need to look after it, writes Tom Brock, chief executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre.

The National Marine Centre will be an unrivalled resource, exploring the wonderful marine life both above and below the waves in Scotland. It’s our vision to increase appreciation and understanding of the marine wildlife we have in this country as well as showcase ground-breaking research taking place in this field.

We have been working on plans for several years. National, regional and local consultation and collaboration have been central to this process. We have undertaken extensive national research and revised plans based on comments from the local community, to ensure that the Centre will be a valuable asset for North Berwick, East Lothian and Scotland.

We are very aware of the importance of the area in which we are situated. We appointed the original Seabird Centre architects, Simpson & Brown, as they specialise in conservation projects, creative adaption of existing buildings and the design of environmentally-sound initiatives. They strongly believe that their plans will benefit the area and significantly enhance the existing award-winning and much-loved Seabird Centre building as well as the adjacent education centre.

Our main aim is to increase educational opportunities. An improved education centre will allow us to meet the demand from school groups, enabling us to encourage children of all ages to learn and care about the marine environment and wildlife.

To achieve our charitable objectives and increase our beneficial impacts, we want to do much more to highlight the importance of our seas and their wildlife, including seabirds, and the threats that they now face. The new Centre will deliver exciting new activities, events and exhibitions as well as increasing accessibility for all, including those with needs.

We have worked closely with all interested parties to ensure the new Centre brings important benefits locally and nationally and we look forward to continuing that dialogue as we aim to inspire people to take action to protect our marine heritage.

The Seabird Centre hugely values its position within our community. We’d love your support so please visit the East Lothian Council planning website (reference 17/000434/P).

Tom Brock OBE, chief executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick

Ross Pavilion designs too futuristic

I can’t believe the designs for a new Ross Bandstand are the best that have been submitted. They are all far too modern for the classic setting of Princes Street gardens with the magnificent Castle as the backdrop.

Why not spend the generous donation simply updating the present building, renovating the toilets and generally sprucing up the seating and surrounding areas. This idea would incur no extra cost to the residents of Edinburgh!

Sylvia Wilson, Maxwell Street, Edinburgh

No room for walkers on new Forth Bridge

It is great to see that more than 50,000 people have applied for tickets to cross the new Queensferry Crossing (‘Rush for bridge walk after 50,000 tickets up for grabs’, News, June 21).

The number of people who have applied to cross is more than the number of places/tickets available. This number is truly amazing considering the ballot has only just opened and still has a few weeks to run.

This now leads me to ask if the authorities have made a mistake in not including a pedestrian footpath and a cycle lane in their plans when constructing the new bridge? I personally believe that they have indeed made a mistake. In the event that original Forth Road Bridge has to close fully can anyone explain how walkers and cyclists are supposed to get to Edinburgh or indeed Fife if coming the opposite direction in the absence of any walking or cycling infrastructure on the new bridge?

I also wonder if the decision not to include walking/cycling infrastructure will lead to a high number of walkers/cyclists trying to cross the bridge illegally once it opens to the public?

Mr Alastair Macintyre, Webster Place, Rosyth, Fife

Let Leith Decide in person, not digitally

I AGREE with Cllr Gordon Munro (News, June 14), when he says it would be wrong to relegate Leith Decides day to the internet.

Do we really want to impose a system of digital apartheid that will separate citizens from their basic rights and local services?

It is often the unplugged activists who make the best campaigners, as their networking revolves around meeting real people.

I remember the successful Save Leith campaign in 2009 which prevented the dock area from being rebranded as Edinburgh Harbour.

Hero of the hour was an old Kirkgate woman who offered to sign our petition “in ma ain blood”.

Ticking a digital box just doesn’t have the same cachet.

Ian Lutton, Boswell Road, Edinburgh

Duncan right man for the Scottish job

Both the SNP and Scottish Labour have become very exercised by the prospect of Ian Duncan, MEP (Conservative), becoming a member of the House of Lords so as to act as a spokesman for the Scotland Office.

I understand that Mr Duncan, who has spent many years in the parliament in Brussels, has particular expertise in and knowledge of matters relating to Scottish agriculture and fisheries.

Particularly in view of the First Minister’s concerns about Scotland’s voice being heard in the Brexit negotiations, is this not the kind of person whose input into these negotiations we should welcome?

Jill Stephenson, Glenlockhart Valley, Edinburgh