David Black’s account of his fruitless exchanges with Councillor Lesley Hinds tells a familiar story (Letters, October 9).
Like all too many of her colleagues, it seems Cllr Hinds prefers to listen to her officials rather than get out and see for herself the unnecessarily cluttered and neglected state of the Capital’s streets.
A classic example is the absurd double signs at the foot of The Mound, one giving directions for “All traffic”, the other giving identical directions for “All other traffic”.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the City Chambers (and even less by limo), this laughable and superfluous signage has been taking up space for several years.
You might have thought someone – Lesley Hinds, Andrew Burns, perhaps even our part-time chief executive Sue Bruce – might have seen it and wanted to do something about it.
David Jackson Young, India Street, Edinburgh
Will electors get say on school services?
According to reports in the Evening News (October 8) some city councillors seem to have doubts about the public petitions system that was installed by the current administration following the elections of May last year.
In a sense, Edinburgh Secular Society is testing the system with its petition for the city council to conduct a ballot of electors in the city, as is provided for under local government legislation, which would allow the discontinuance of “religious observance” in the city’s “non-denominational” schools.
From the Society’s experience, the electronic petitioning system would seem to be a model for all local authorities in Scotland and beyond – and for improvements to the Scottish Parliament’s own petitions system.
The Society also appreciates the responsiveness of the staff and councillors to the issues involved in dealing with the petition.
We will watch closely the progress of the council’s consideration of the matter to see if it ultimately gives the electors of the city, where according to the 2011 census the non-religious number more than four in ten of the population, an opportunity to express their views on whether religious services should be allowed in our ostensibly ‘non-denominational’ city schools.
Professor Norman Bonney, honorary president, Edinburgh Secular Society, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh
Show the red light to more green subsidies
NEW analysis by the Taxpayers Alliance suggests subsidies to ‘green’ generators will top £22 billion by 2020 – costing each British household an extra £425 over the next six years.
We must be clear that the reason fat-cat energy giants can reap such sums is because Ed Miliband gave them the tools to do so when he was Energy Secretary under Gordon Brown.
What utter hypocrisy that he now intends to freeze utility bills for 20 months if Labour wins the general election in 2015, while avoiding any pledge to unravel the very policy framework that drives price rises in the first place.
As Ofgem also warns of the increasing likelihood of blackouts in the near future due to an electricity supply crunch, it is worth remembering that the £22 billion we will have spent by 2020 – mostly on giant industrial wind turbines – would build three state-of-the-art, third-generation nuclear reactors, including full waste disposal and decommissioning costs.
Instead, we see turbine developers encouraged to build ever more costly, inefficient developments that will do nothing to cut CO2 emissions, all while spurred on by a toxic combination of Ed Miliband’s past mistakes and the SNP government’s own narrow-minded fixation on wind renewables.
What we’re left with is an energy policy that will neither deliver sufficient electricity to power Scotland sustainably, nor enough carbon reductions to tackle climate change.
Think about that as you open successive eye-wateringly inflated utility bills in the years ahead, though thanks to Mr Miliband it may be cheaper to switch off the lights and do so by candlelight instead.
Struan Stevenson MEP, Scottish Conservative, the European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, Brussels, Belgium
Barking mad not to strap dogs into cars
Every year in Edinburgh, dogs are killed or seriously injured in car accidents because they were not wearing dog seatbelts.
For years, many people have believed it is perfectly acceptable to have dogs moving freely within in a vehicle whilst it is on the move.
If a vehicle with unrestrained dogs is then involved in an accident, the animals can be thrown through the windscreen, causing death and serious injuries to both the animals, drivers and even other road users who are then caught up in the collision.
You wouldn’t let your children get away not fastening their seatbelts, so please make sure your dogs are kept safe and are buckled in with purpose-built dog seatbelts.
Will Wright, Four Paws international animal welfare organisation, Loman Street, London