Enjoy the view before new chimneys are built

1
Have your say

Angus McGregor (Letters, May 9) is correct to say the East Lothian coastline is stunning. He will be pleased to learn that the chimneys of the now redundant Cockenzie coal power station are due to be demolished. As someone who has never known the skyline without them, I will be sad to see them go. But as a Green I’m happy the coal burning has ceased.

However, I suspect Mr McGregor will be less pleased by the prospect of the replacement chimneys that will form part of the proposed new gas power station.

More important than the view from afar is what happens to those who live in close proximity. Scottish Power, owned by Spanish firm Iberdrola, has permission to establish a gas plant but has left the community in limbo while it pursues its profits.

Cockenzie remains listed in the Scottish Government’s national planning framework as a site for fossil fuel power generation, and sadly in December last year East Lothian councillors agreed to support this position.

We should be empowering local people to decide what happens next.Jason Rose, East Lothian Greens, High Street, Musselburgh

Bridge forum closes accountability gap

I WRITE in response to your article ‘Forum’s closed-door policy a bridge too far’ (News, May 2).

The abolition of the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) is a consequence of the need to secure the long-term future of the Forth Road Bridge, which is due to be replaced by the new Forth Crossing.

The most cost-effective solution for Scotland is to provide a contract for a “twin bridge” strategy, with the bridges integrated into Scotland’s motorway and trunk road network.

Scottish Ministers are fully accountable for decisions surrounding that network.

When the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment (ICI)committee called for views on the Forth Road Bridge Bill, three of the four local authorities currently involved in FETA did not express any desire for elected members to participate in the forum.

Senior officers from the local authorities continue to actively represent the views of their respective authorities on operational issues as was intended.

The Forth Bridges Forum website is under development and currently information relating to the Forum including details of meetings is available on Transport Scotland’s website.

The ICI committee’s view is the inclusion of local authority officials on the Forth Bridges Forum is an appropriate level of input, with no changes to the forum membership recommended.

The presence of officials on the forum provides sufficient local accountability for those councils whose transport policies are affected by bridge traffic.

There is no other section of the motorway network for which councillors are in a position of authority, and clear lines of responsibility exist for local roads.

Roy Brannen, chair, Forth Bridges Forum

Crucial opportunity for children’s future

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill that has just started its journey through Holyrood has the potential to be one of the most far-reaching and influential Bills considered in this session of Parliament.

At its heart there is a vision that we should all share – making Scotland the best place in the world for children to grow up.

Central to the proposals to achieve this in the Bill is to put the child – their needs and wellbeing – at the centre of how we deliver services to children.

This represents a massive culture shift for everyone who works with children. It means rethinking how we plan services for children, how public bodies can share information when something may be going wrong in a child’s life, and how we make sure children know about and can access the services they need.

Unfortunately some of the fundamental and most important proposals have already come in for criticism, including the proposal for a ‘named person’. The main task, as set out in the Bill, will simply be to act as the first point of contact for children and families.

If additional support is needed then the named person will help co-ordinate the various public bodies involved. Yet some commentators have criticised the named person proposal as an extension of the ‘nanny state’ and too expensive to implement. Neither of these criticisms is justified. Depending on the age of the child, a health visitor or teacher will usually take on the role and in most cases will do no more than they do now.

The named person role has already been implemented with great success in the Highland Council area. Barnardo’s Scotland staff report that the system has helped ensure that children get the support they need when they need it.

There has also been a significant reduction in the number of non-offence concerns referred to the Children’s Reporter and so less time is spent on writing reports.

It is right that the proven benefits of this approach are rolled out across Scotland to ensure all children benefit. Barnardo’s Scotland urges Ministers and MSPs to be brave, and seize on this opportunity to transform the lives of children in Scotland.

It would be a real shame if misinformed criticism of the Bill resulted in us missing this crucial opportunity to make sure we get it right for every child.

Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, Edinburgh

A state send-off for 
the king of the reds?

Is it likely when the newly retired manager of Manchester United dies, he will receive a state funeral?

I believe we should be told now!

Tom Reilly, Esslemont Road, Edinburgh