Letters: Attempt to compare cycling with Netherlands falls flat

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EDINBURGH’S cycling leader, Jim Orr, has to realise that comparisons cannot be made with Amsterdam or any Dutch town (News, November 14).

In the first place, the land is flat. That is the main reason cycling has blossomed over many generations, so that it is an inbred occupation.

Even before the last war, new suburbs around cities were built with cycle paths along the main streets, and the same in the country, where cycle paths followed major roads. The climate there is also better than here.

In cities in the Netherlands with trams, more people are killed by them than by other vehicles.

This is something that should have been taken account of with the grandiose plans in Edinburgh, where our “world-class” tram is supposed to run through the town.

The increase in motor cars has been and still is caused by the council-engendered, relentless increase in out-of-town shopping parks aimed at motorists.

Who wants to stand at a bus stop in unsuitable weather and like in my case take an hour to get to the nearest shopping centre when my car takes me there and also back with my messages in ten minutes?

The council has encouraged cars, but at the same time obstructed them as much as possible, thereby increasing pollution, which endangers cyclists.

How about reducing the speed limit and pollution?

JI Visser, Esplanade Terrace, Edinburgh

SEPA rules don’t help with floods

Everybody is blaming the weather for the flooding in the country.

Yes it has been awful, but until SEPA arrived diggers were allowed into rivers to remove gravel and keep them deep enough to allow for extra water when the weather was bad to disperse into the sea. Where we live the gravel in the river is in places higher than the water level so the only place water can go is over the banks on either side of the river.

D Wood, Oxton, Berwickshire

Powerful case for new school site

The proposal to provide a new Portobello High School has entered another phase following the emphatic ruling that the council acted ultra vires in appropriating Portobello Park. That is, it is not lawful to build on Portobello Park.

One option is that Portobello High School moves to the Baileyfield (Scottish Power) site with the possibility of providing a second all-weather pitch on the adjacent council depot.

The Baileyfield site option brings so many more benefits for all by providing an environment that reinvigorates this part of the High Street and it should not be dismissed with a simple knee-jerk reaction.

We could have a new high school, an expanded site for St John’s, provide housing on the old school land and design improvements for Portobello Park.

Beware of the promise to make part of the existing site a replacement park as this only returns us to the position held in 2006 with the pledge of replacement open space, something that was subsequently reneged by the council.

The council is pinning much on a private act that it says, with optimism, can be delivered within 14 months. Remember that the council has previously stated that there is no legal impediment to building on the park, so it might be wise to critically assess what is said.

What if the council is wrong again? Why go through this uncertainty when there is a viable alternative in developing the Baileyfield area that is deliverable within a known timescale?

Stephen Hawkins, Portobello, Edinburgh

Workers are a credit to the ERI

I MISTAKENLY attended the ERI for an appointment on November 5. On arrival I was told my appointment was for November 15.

I could not believe it as I had travelled from Galashiels especially for this. When I asked if it was possible for me to be seen the very pleasant receptionist in the Cardiology Dept. said she would enquire but that she could not promise a result.

I only sat down for about five minutes when a nurse called my name and I was seen to straight away.

I have nothing but praise for the staff at the ERI. I am always treated with the greatest of respect by the extremely pleasant, professional people who work there.

Kenneth Renton, Galashiels