LETTERS: Transport ‘progress’ not addressing real issues

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IN response to Councillor Lesley Hinds, convener of the transport and environment committee, (Letters, February 15) in which she claims that the “Council is making bold progress on transport”.

It is all very well to say her committee “recognise the need to tackle pollution, road surface defects and congestion”, but they seem to have done very little to actually address these problems during her time on the committee.

Our pavements are desperately in need of attention, as pedestrians find the uneven surfaces positively dangerous. Our cyclists, whom Cllr Hinds claims to be assisting and encouraging, find the uneven and badly maintained road surfaces a major hazard.

It is pointless to spend time and money on cosmetic segregated new cycle routes if the actual road surfaces across the Capital actively discourage people from using their cycles.

For far too long successive administrations have neglected the state of this infrastructure is an embarrassment to both Scotland and the Capital itself.

Although Cllr Hinds does appear to welcome the fact that air quality, “is so high up the political agenda”, this seems strangely at odds with the decision to impose a 20mph speed limit this summer, which will simply increase the amount of pollution created as vehicles take longer to complete their journeys.

This is in addition to the rise in pollution of PM2.5 and NO2 caused by the introduction of the tram, which has effectively cut down the space available on any route used by them by two and a half lanes, causing even further congestion and 
pollution.

There is legislation available which would allow the council to test heavy pollutants and ban them from our streets, but this does not seem to have been used. This sort of drastic action needs to be taken in order to bring down unacceptable levels of 
pollution.

In London and other cities, the effects of air pollution are fully recognised, it is being debated openly and steps taken to combat the problem.

In Edinburgh the problem has been hidden from the public because of the need to avoid disclosing figures which might be detrimental to the introduction of the tram project.

With the council in serious financial difficulties, the thought of even more money being borrowed to extend the trams vanity project is unthinkable, yet it appears that this is just what is under consideration.

For all those who may lose their jobs under probable staff cuts this must seem deeply ironic.

Allan Alstead, Moray Place, Edinburgh

The £9 million cycle path is a road too far

The city is skint, bins go unemptied, recycling is a farce and the council is laying people off. But, we can spend £9 million on a cycle path.

Welcome to the asylum that is Edinburgh

Dougie Cameron, Calder View, Edinburgh

School standards must be improved

Schools across the UK are finding that fewer and fewer pupils are taking maths, sciences and languages at exam level. They are also struggling to recruit teachers in these subjects.

A recent study in England found that 28 per cent of physics teachers did not have a physics degree. I wonder how many teachers in Scotland are not qualified to university standard in the subjects they are teaching.

The deterioration in standards of numeracy and literacy are indisputable and I fear we can hold out little hope that the situation is any better in other subjects.

It is not sufficient for ministers to constantly repeat the same old nonsense in response to failure, claiming they are “committed to providing excellence”, “will leave no stone unturned”, “have nothing but praise for dedicated and hard working staff” etc.

After nine years in office and failures on all fronts it is time the SNP stop banging the gong and put the dinner on the table.

Donald Lewis, Gifford, East Lothian

Council too quick to ruin city heritage

YOU can trust Edinburgh council to get rid of anything which makes the city unique (‘Residents plead for rethink of plan to bulldoze 18th-century cottage’, News, February 9). To them it’s just a cottage getting in the way of building flats, so why not?

They moved the clock at Haymarket and took away the roundabout on London Road to make way for toy trains that go nowhere but the airport.

The city and its heritage is slowly being ruined. It’s such a shame.

Maureen Anderson, Glenallan Drive, Inch, Edinburgh

NHS future depends on junior doctors

REGARDING the current dispute between junior doctors and the NHS – it is tragic that the two sides are unable to resolve the matter by negotiation.

Doctors have taken strike action as a last resort. Workers do not usually want to strike but will do so if they feel there is no other option.

Doctors deserve recognition and appropriate payment for their work and the future of the NHS depends on their loyalty and commitment.

Imposing a new and unacceptable contract is not the answer, and continuing friction will compromise future health care provision in this country.

Susan Begley, Elgin Terrace, Abbeyhill, Edinburgh