Letter: Closure of the Forth bridge is proof we need a tunnel

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Surely the closure of the Forth Road Bridge earlier this week highlights the need not for a new bridge, but for a tunnel.

Scotland is prone to bad weather. We have had two days of gale force winds in the last month and I also remember the bridge closing just over a year ago due to a snow storm. These are annual occurrences in this country, and as such we should plan our roads infrastructure accordingly.

I have read that any new bridge would be fitted with wind shields which could be erected at the hint of an impending storm, but even these probably only withstand very strong winds and not the 105mph gales we experienced this week. Only a tunnel would keep the traffic moving in all weather.

I realise that the initial financial outlay of building a tunnel would be a lot more expensive, but surely the annual upkeep costs would be less as tunnels must need less maintenance than bridges. It would also, of course, not be another spectacular landmark, but since we already have the rail bridge for that purpose, why try for another?

As someone who regularly drives over the bridge, I’d be more than happy to pay a fee to enter a tunnel if that were the necessary means to repay a bigger debt for the building costs.

I know a tunnel would give me better peace of mind, knowing that whatever the weather, I can always go home again.

Peter Herman, Dunfermline, Fife

Our armed forces deserve better

It may not have occurred to those in authority, but our financial problems can be traced back to the early 60s.

Furthermore, making cuts in public services, either civilian or the armed forces, is, surely, a form of fraud, in that the public have paid for these services.

It is no wonder that Guy Fawkes wanted to blow up Parliament. Even the Strategic Defence Review was done with undue haste. Perhaps if the members of the coalition had spent time in uniform, getting used to service discipline, they would not be treating the men and women of our armed forces with such contempt.

If they tried to sink the Ark Royal, their resignation would be demanded.

CJR Fentiman, Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh

Sadness at fallen trees at Botanics

It saddened me so much to read about the storm damage at The Royal Botanic Garden in Tuesday’s gales (Battered Botanics, News, January 5).

As a regular visitor and a plant lover, it was very upsetting to hear that more than 40 trees were blown over, including some that were 125 years old.

Also tragic is the fact that 400 panes of glass in the public glasshouses were smashed.

However, it is comforting to know that they will try to propagate some of the fallen trees, so at least they will live on in new younger plants.

I wish them a swift and successful recovery – I know the plants are in very safe hands.

G Fraser, Stockbridge, Edinburgh