Letters: Our tartan tat image is spreading to the trams

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ADVERTISING on trams? I don’t believe it!! Well, yes I do - this council is hellbent on turning our great ancient city into a Disneyland experience.

I have no love for the trams as they will not benefit me where I live, but I thought they looked quite classy when I saw one operating in Princes Street the other day.

However, they are about to soar into another dimension and look cheap and tacky, just like the tartan tat shops in the High Street which should be the jewel in our crown.

Slowly these shops are creeping into our beautiful Princes Street and with the added bonus of the Disneyland trams, well, mission complete.

I am dismayed!

Merle Quade, Fairmilehead

No plans to replace Forth Road Bridge deck

I write to put the record straight following a highly misleading article that has appeared in the Scottish press (Call to Rebuild Forth Road Bridge to Carry More Traffic).

The article states that ‘plans have been revealed’ to replace the deck of the Forth Road Bridge. However, this is simply not true.

A rolling 15-year programme of major projects to strengthen and improve the bridge’s structure and replace major components is set out in the Bridge Authority’s long-term Capital Plan. No project to replace the deck of the Forth Road Bridge has ever appeared in this plan and nobody is proposing that such a project be undertaken now or in the future.

The story is very loosely based on a second-hand account of remarks made at a lecture.

My comments on the possibility of replacing the deck were entirely hypothetical. This was stressed at the meeting, so it is regrettable that the article suggested otherwise.

Barry Colford, Chief Engineer & Bridgemaster, Forth Road Bridge

Heading for a vote on religion in schools

Contrary to suggestions in an article in The Evening News a few weeks ago, concern about costs has not halted the progress of Veronica Wikman’s petition to the City of Edinburgh Council asking to poll the local electorate on the removal of statutory religious observance in non-denominational schools.

It is to the credit of CEC that such a petition system exists as it allows local concerns to be heard by elected council members. At a hearing on March 4 the Education Children and Families Committee were asked to explore if holding the ballot in conjunction with the city council elections in May 2017 might reduce costs.

Significantly the petition has already forced several changes to the current practice of RO. External evangelising groups wishing to lead RO are to be subject to new scrutiny and an ‘approved list’ of such groups is to be compiled and headteachers are to be updated with guidance on how to interpret RO in their schools.

However, increasing concerns that some religious groups use state schools as recruiting grounds remind us that, through a local poll, Edinburgh citizens could vote to end not amend religious observance.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive

The AA is right, drivers must think bike

I was encouraged to see AA president Edmund King’s message advising drivers to be more alert in your article ‘Most motorists admit to not always seeing cyclists’ (News, March 7).

The AA’s research shows that as many as 93 per cent of drivers questioned would admit to being ‘surprised when a cyclists appears’.

This shows us that much more needs to be done to get drivers to properly recognise and adapt to the everyday reality of cyclists on our roads.

Information gathered in a recent survey by Cycle Law Scotland found a majority of cyclists wear the correct high visibility and reflective gear. Based on these findings, I strongly support Edmund King’s sentiments that ‘those on two wheels never appear from nowhere’ and that drivers must play their part in road safety.

Cycle Law Scotland’s Road Share campaign for stricter liability has argued that, a regime which creates a hierarchy of responsibility whereby motor vehicle drivers would be presumed liable for any injury or damage caused to a cyclist involved in a collision should be viewed as part of a package of measures to improve cyclist safety on the roads.

The AA research shows that as part of this, drivers must take more time to take in who and what is around them.

Brenda Mitchell, Cycle Law Scotland, Edinburgh

Euthanasia is no job for medical profession

Leslie John Thomson rather intolerantly dismisses June Fleming’s argument that assisted-dying legislation would be against a ‘God-given right’ to life (letters, February 14).

If Mr Thomson were to think the matter through, however, he might come to the same anti-euthanasia view as Mrs Fleming, albeit by a different route.

The BMA, for instance, opposes assisted suicide proposals because vulnerable people may be in danger from such legislation, while modern palliative methods allow people nowadays to die with dignity.

Also Mr Thomson might find himself agreeing with the doctors’ body that doctors should not assist voluntary euthanasia because as a profession, doctors are there to improve the quality of human life, not to foreshorten it.

This problem-fraught legislation needs measured consideration by us all, not knee-jerk reactions.

Gus Logan, York Road, North Berwick