Letter: Too many events are strangling Edinburgh’s roads

Traffic chaos en route to the Royal Highland Show last week. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Traffic chaos en route to the Royal Highland Show last week. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Having read in the News that the council in Edinburgh is going to be more proactive in its approach to the number of events this great city hosts, because of congestion and disruption, I have to report as a lifelong resident that the policy is not working.

Getting to the airport recently was a major ordeal due to excessive traffic coming out from the city, some going to the three-day event at Ingliston.

It was only by good grace on the part of our taxi driver taking the country lanes from Hermiston that we got there. Once in the airport we had to leave the taxi in the car parking area because it was completely gridlocked, and walk some distance to the terminal in heavy rain.

Coming back on a delayed flight from Belfast we touched down in Edinburgh at 11pm and were faced with a lengthy queue and no chance of a taxi for two hours due to road closures within central Edinburgh because of the Moonwalk and aftermath of the Rolling Stones concert at Murrayfield.

At the airport tram stop, we purchased tickets but were told they had stopped running. How were we allowed to purchase travel tickets after the time the trams had stopped?

Again we were faced with a long queue for the Airlink 100 service and were fortunate to get on a bus.

I met several visitors in various queues, tired, angry and wondering how they were going to get to their destination in the centre of Edinburgh. I had to tell them that Edinburgh had been getting steadily worse in recent years in the control of events and people at various times of the year.

How could two big events with road closures be planned for the same weekend, without the necessary transport being set up?

Why, as has happened in the past, could the trams not have been left running later into the night? Road closures were strangling the city.

If the council think they can entice more people to this lovely city by packing in more and more events, they need to think again.

Most visitors I encountered were not impressed and I’m sure it would leave a sour note. I was embarrassed to say I was from Edinburgh and admit that this is getting to be the norm.

The council must get this sorted before it blows up in their face.

Ian Divine, St John’s, Edinburgh

Italy was right to turn away refugees

Italy was right to turn away the illegal immigrant rescue ship Aquarius. In the long run, if the latest batch of refugees in an overcrowded and dangerous boat in the Mediterranean are given immediate aid and returned safely to their port of departure, it will be better for all.

When the message gets through that there is no way in, others are discouraged, lives will be saved, the ruthless pirates providing this Russian Roulette ‘transport’ will have to seek another way of making money and leave these most vulnerable of illegal immigrants alone.

As long as they are being taken in when they arrive in Europe, the numbers will rise.

The greatest kindness they could be given is to be turned back. I am sure this could be done in a safe and humane manner. All that is lacking is the will.

Alexander McKay, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

Assisted dying should be left to individuals

IT seems that Anthony Horan, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office is lobbying MSPs about his opposition to any sort of assisted dying legislation and to the parliamentary cross party group set up to consider end of life choices.

To know that the end of your life needn’t involve pain or indignity surely would be a gift of time and lift the shadow of what might be a feared nasty decline?

What is clear however is that those who come to the question with a religious notion that their God has supreme jurisdiction over their bodies can chose that way for themselves, but have no right to use their established positions to impose their views on the non-religious majority.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive

University cap works against Scots students

The attainment gap in schools between affluent and poorer areas is narrowing only at snail’s pace. Meanwhile, university applicants from affluent areas who gain good grades are warned that they may well be rejected by Scotland’s ancient universities because of the cap on Scottish-domiciled student numbers and the threat from the Scottish Government of fines for those universities that do not increase noticeably the number of applicants from poorer areas whom they accept.

The Scottish Government’s insistence on providing ‘free’ tuition for EU students and ‘free’ tuition for Scottish-domiciled students is the cause of the squeeze on places for the kind of student who would normally expect acceptance from a good university.

Fee-paying students from the rest of the UK and, of course, from countries outside the EU who meet normal entry requirements are warmly welcomed.

Is this really what Scots want for their young people? That some of the able are discriminated against simply because of where they live?

I accept that there is a need to create opportunities for bright pupils from poorer backgrounds, but what kind of country will Scotland become if significant numbers of its young people are denied the opportunity for which they have been certified as qualified?

The long-term answer lies in improving schools in poorer areas, but, in the meantime, do we simply allow a strangulation of our university system to disadvantage our own Scottish students?

Jill Stephenson, Glenlockhart Valley, Edinburgh