Letters: Health warnings ignored over reusable carrier bags

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It comes as no surprise that the Scottish Government has tried to keep it from general knowledge that it has been forced to amend the legislation on carrier bag charges.

Amid major concerns that customers were being put at risk from contracting the deadly 0157 strain of E.coli due to possible food poisoning from the cross-contamination of raw and cooked foods being placed in reusable bags, butchers’ shops are now exempt from charging their customers for carrier bags.

This comes only months after the charge was introduced in a blaze of publicity.

The Scottish Government, along with every single MSP and leading figures in the Zero Waste quango, was well warned and informed of this potential risk at the time the issue of carrier bag charges was being debated in the Scottish Parliament.

Indeed, it was the Green MSP, Patrick Harvey who opined during that debate “the idea that reusing bags will become some sort of public health menace because of their not being hygienic was completely spurious”.

The threat of E.coli is not confined only to butchers’ shops. E.coli remains a real threat wherever a bag is reused where leakage or spillage, even from pre-packed foods, may be present.

Perhaps some heads should roll in light of this development before our politicians re-visit the carrier bag legislation, while supermarkets, having dismissed the earlier need for risk assessments on possible cross-contamination from reusable carrier bags being used in their premises, may now be required to take the matter more seriously.

Bill MacDonald, Staunton Rise, Dedridge West, Livingston

Have trams led to increased emissions?

REGARDING Edinburgh’s new tram system, have they measured the raised emissions caused by vehicles on Princes Street sitting with their engines running at traffic lights much longer than they used to?

I asked my bus driver one day why we had stopped so long outside Jenners. He said that when a tram leaves York Place it automatically changes the points and brings Princes Street traffic to a halt.

It takes much longer to travel between Waverley and Haymarket on the bus than it used to.

In the evening I see airport buses every ten minutes. I’ve never counted more than ten people on a tram passing at these times.

Anne Milne, Thomson Grove, Uphall, Edinburgh

Wardie Bay protest was worth the effort

IT was pure nostalgia to see a photo of the ‘Save Wardie Bay protest’ from your feature Remember 1990 (News, February 24).

The Wardie Bay reclamation plan was a massive development project. It involved infilling 500 acres of sea to create building space for houses, offices, shops, hotels and a conference centre.

I remember painting the 20ft long protest banner in a rainstorm at midnight. I was soaked.

It was worth it, though, as our beautiful bay is still intact for future generations to enjoy.

The campaign was a great victory for local democracy.

PS Our Wardie Bay protest song was performed in St Cuthbert’s Church, Lothian Road, last Friday afternoon.

Ian Lutton, Boswell Road, Edinburgh

Insurance for lawn mowers going too far

EU bosses have ruled that they want owners of lawn mowers, golf buggies and mobility scooters to have motor insurance.

I think it’s fair to say that these idiots must sit in their plush offices dreaming up more daft rules to annoy people for the sake of it. They don’t live in the real world.

Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar

Scottish export drive needs joint action

we recently produced our latest report focusing on how Scotland boosts its level of exports. Its findings show that there is much work to be done if we are to match the trade levels and thereby the economic growth rates of other small, wealthy countries.

Our continued benchmarking with the rest of the UK and not small countries of a similar size to ourselves means, however, that the economic opportunities associated with a growth in trade are being missed.

A greater focus on increasing exports from Scotland could increase Scotland’s total trade by over £77 billion. Such an increase will, however, require the Scottish Government and business sector to work much closer together to develop and deliver an export-based economic growth strategy, echoing the example set by the likes of Denmark, New Zealand and Ireland.

Key features of an export-based growth strategy should include the delivery of a strong Scottish national brand, learning from best practice elsewhere and including the likes of New Zealand and Singapore, as well as targeted tax breaks in areas where Scotland has existing strengths potential, such as oil and gas and food and drink.

As a nation we must broaden our horizons and look beyond the UK to learn from the success stories of other countries when it comes to developing an export-based growth strategy.

Dan Macdonald, Founder N-56

George Street, Edinburgh