Law change better than poll on religion at school

Have your say

If the 1980 Education Act would require a referendum being held on religious observance (RO) in Edinburgh schools being changed from “opt out” to “opt in” (News, June 4), I suggest rather than hold such a referendum, repeal or reform said law.

Any such referendum would be unfair as it would mean everyone in the city having a say in RO in schools, whether they were a parent or not, or whether indeed their children attended the schools in question. To simply change the option to “opt in” would be a referendum in itself and much fairer as it would be decided only by the parents in question.

As to those who claim that Christianity is being “marginalised”, given that most parents are not currently aware they can opt out of their children receiving RO, I sincerely doubt that. I would suggest that they are intent on continuing to enforce their own beliefs upon children.

In the multicultural and increasingly multi-faith Scotland we live in, I would suggest that is an infringement upon religious freedom. They would not like it were another faith enforced upon their children.

Leslie John Thomson, Edinburgh

Nothing green about biomass power plant

Scotland’s largest biomass power plant has inconceivably been granted planning permission by the Scottish Government despite huge opposition. (News, June 4).

The plant at the port of Grangemouth will burn more than a million tonnes of trees every year and they will be imported from America.

The carbon footprint from the destruction of the trees and shipping will be horrendous.

For every tree cut down a new one will take 20 years to grow. What is “green” about this biomass plant?

Dr Richard Dixon of Friends of Earth and formerly with WWF said, “This decision reveals major confusion within the Scottish Government who previously set out clear strong reasons not to use biomass for large-scale projects”.

For the first time ever I agree with Dr Dixon.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Independence is not scaring firms

I NOTICED with interest the Ernst and Young figures indicating that foreign investment in Scotland reached a 15-year high last year with a total of 76 major projects secured in 2012, an increase of almost 50 per cent on the previous year.

It appears that international firms are clearly not being deterred from coming to Scotland by the prospect of independence or the potential “instability” created by the referendum. However, these figures surely cannot be correct. Chancellor Osborne and other key members of the Better Together campaign have consistently argued that the referendum and prospect of independence is acting as a deterrent to companies relocating north of the Border.

The Better Together campaign has been left rather red-faced over this and if they have been caught out on this one, one wonders what other issues they are scaremongering over.

If Mr Osborne’s strategy is to instil fear into the hearts of investors looking to come to Scotland, it has clearly backfired.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

No need for a messy and risky separation

saying that Scotland has the lowest percentage of the wealthiest households (Letters, June 4) does not indicate that Scotland is not the wealthiest region outside London and the South East – it merely indicates that we are less unequal than other regions, which is a good thing surely.

It is true that Scotland has had lower population growth than England, but this is because most immigrants head for England. If we want more population growth we can always reproduce more – surely England is not stopping us doing that?

What is Holyrood intending to do with more “levers of power”? The only thing the SNP has told us is that it will cut corporation tax, which will initially reduce revenue and in the long run may possibly attract a few more companies. However if it does, England will simply do the same and then we will all suffer. In any case most companies seem to pay practically nothing as it is.

Many analysts think that oil prices are going to fall for the reason I gave – in fact it has already started! Equally England is on the verge of a shale gas revolution from which Scotland will benefit as part of the UK.

There is no reason why we cannot continue to improve things without a messy and risky separation from the rest of UK. The SNP used to have Professor John Kay as an economic adviser and he told them the same thing (that there is no point in separation) – they then dumped him.

Donald McBride, Craigleith Hill Crescent, Edinburgh

It’s time to redouble school journey efforts

Your report suggested that the number of children being driven to school in Edinburgh is at its highest ever level (News, June 4).

Actually, the long-term trend in Edinburgh is positive, with less dependence on car and bus travel to get to school. What the Hands Up survey results may appear to indicate is an increasing dependence on motorised travel to get children to independent schools across Scotland as a whole but not in Edinburgh, where less than half of the children attending independent school are now driven.

The positive figures in Edinburgh demonstrate that government, councils and organisations such as ourselves must continue to work in partnership to get more pupils walking, cycling and scooting to school.

Now is the time to redouble our efforts to get everyone more active, starting with the journey to school.

John Lauder, national director, Sustrans Scotland; Keith Irving, head of Living Streets Scotland, Rose Street, Edinburgh