LETERS: Tram extension to Leith need not cost a fortune

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Have your say

mr Gordon Lothian seems determined to put the boot into the tramway with arguments based on misconceptions (Letters, December 28).

He has a fixation that trams can’t turn left, so invents a spurious route outwards via Commercial Street and inwards via Junction Street.

In fact, the trams will use neither of these streets, they will use Ocean Drive (which may or may not be useful to passengers to and from Commercial Street and Junction Street).

By ‘their shopping centre terminus’ he presumably means Ocean Terminal, but the actual terminus will be Newhaven.

He states there will be only one stop in Leith Walk, but in addition to Picardy Place there will be stops at McDonald Road, Balfour Street and the foot of the Walk.

He states that two extra ‘tram units’ will be needed at a cost of £40 million. The present line needs 15 trams at the most for a 7-minute service, but there are 27 in stock, the extra 12 having been bought for the full line to Newhaven.

The council does not need to spend even 40p on new trams, let alone £40 million!

Leith passengers may or may not be able to continue to use the No.16 bus. A 7.5 minute tram service (eight per hour) provides passenger capacity equivalent to 22 double-deck buses per hour.

Doubtless in six years time (?) Lothian Buses will be considering how many of the present 41 buses per hour will continue to run from FoW to Picardy Place.

Neil Mackenzie, Grange Loan, Edinburgh

Gender equality lies in women’s hands

One significant item is missing from the Platform item from Isla Whateley (News, December 28) on the supposed injustice of ‘inadequate’ representation of women in parliament: justification for equality in numbers.

Neither men nor women have any right to election either individually or on any gender percentage basis. In fact, women already enjoy complete parity at the stage in elections where it is valid: they are free, like men, to join a party and seek nomination for candidacy at elections.

Even in the UK, any suitably qualified person is entitled to present her/himself for election, yet this proposal would ban both men and women from standing for election in half the available seats, while also limiting the electorate’s choice.

One very likely result of adopting this thoroughly undemocratic system would be claims from other groups for similar rights: apart from the LGBT categories, various ethnic groups might reasonably seek specific representation.

Practical difficulties would also arise: who would decide which seats were to be allocated to men or women? What if any party were unable to find a candidate of the right gender? What about independents?

I don’t care if we have all women or all men, but the outcome must be decided on free choice – that’s democracy.

Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent

Time to cut down on packaging in shops

We spend thousands every year on heads of state meeting to discuss greenhouse gases, the environment and green issues in general.

Why don’t we start with things we could easily control? Who would have thought that the simple act of charging 5p for plastic carrier bags would encourage the public to stop using them, saving millions of bags a year? If it can work with them, why can’t it work with other things as well?

If we were charged 5p for egg boxes, perhaps people would reuse them. When we buy meat or sausages or black pudding etc, do we really need the polystyrene tray that comes with it? The same goes for pre-packed fruit etc.

These are just a few ideas where we could easily cut down on recycling and help save the environment without costing the earth.

Raymond Ross, Hutchinson Avenue, Edinburgh

We need a law to cut train over-crowding

It is high time new laws were brought in to prevent over-crowding on trains. On a full bus you are allowed no more than eight standing passengers at anyone time. Why is a similar law not applied to railway carriages?

I would hate to think what the consequences would be if a rush hour train was involved in a derailment or serious crash.

Ultimately ScotRail run by Abellio is responsible for passenger safety and it is time they sorted out the rush hour crush. Railway passengers pay a high price for season tickets and deserve much better than being treated like cattle in a truck.

Mr Alastair Macintyre, Webster Place, Rosyth, Fife

Keep pets safe from poisonous plants

I hope that members of the public who own a pet ensure their animals are kept well away from festive flora, which can be poisonous to them (News, December 21).

Mistletoe, pine and poinsettia as well as trees can be dangerous to cats and dogs.

In fact, there are many toxic plants that can prove fatal to animals and plant producers should provide clearer labelling for the sake of those who have pets. Owners should keep a watchful eye on their animals so that both humans and their furry friends can enjoy the festive season.

Mrs June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian