Letters: Aid visually handicapped by clearing street clutter

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Street clutter such as irresponsibly placed shop advertising signs (A-boards) and pavement cafe furniture can obstruct and hamper a person’s progress on the street.

Keeping pathways clear is particularly crucial for the independence of people who are blind and partially sighted.

A recent Guide Dogs survey for their ‘Streets Ahead’ campaign showed A-boards and cafe furniture are both in the top ten most common street clutter items, acting as a real barrier to a person’s independence.

Shockingly, 65 per cent of those with sight loss have been injured by street clutter too. It also prevents wheelchair users and other vulnerable pedestrians from using the pavements with confidence.

Several local councils have already introduced measures to reduce unnecessary clutter. For example, shops can use window adverts instead of multiple A-boards to entice customers and improve the street for pedestrians.

I would like your paper to join me in a campaign to ask the council to introduce measures to tackle unnecessary street clutter and ensure that our high street is fully accessible to those who are blind or partially sighted.

Please e-mail campaigns@guidedogs.org.uk for more information about their campaign and survey findings.

Declan Jackson, Campbell Park Crescent, Edinburgh

Vote devo max for local democracy

I am an ordinary, middle of the road, middle class Englishman. I live in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire where I run my own fine art business.

I have visited Scotland many times, mainly on business in Edinburgh and Glasgow, but also Inverness and the Highlands. I have many Scottish friends here in the area we live and have relatives in Scotland.

I have become increasingly concerned at the prospect of Scotland voting to leave the UK and become an independent country.

I can fully appreciate the frustration of being governed by a remote entity. In one sense we experience that here. Our town council has no executive power whatsoever. It is routinely ignored and over-ruled by the district council, which itself is subject to rules laid down by central government. I believe that there is a strong case for much more local democracy throughout Britain.

I strongly favour the ‘devo max’ option for Scotland. You have a very good point about local democracy, but that applies to all of us, not just Scotland. As a British person I am very proud of being part of a country that includes Scotland and its rich heritage. If you were to leave the UK it would feel like the loss, the death even, of a close relative. I don’t have a vote so I ask you, please don’t break the Union.

JM Shemilt, Friday Street, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Buying justice, like the good old days

In days of old, wealthy noblemen were able to avoid the perils of the dungeon for any misdemeanours by handing over a pile of cash.

Do the cases of Maria Miller and the anonymous hedge fund fare-dodger signify something of a return to the standards of those jolly days?

Julia Wait, Tomich, The Highlands

Zero hours is tip of employment iceberg

While the scandal of zero-hours contracts has to be addressed I think the real issue is draconian employment legislation which now appears to be in place.

Doesn’t matter whether you are a full time, part time, permanent or temporary worker, you do appear to be vulnerable to the whims of your boss.

Until fair and rational employment laws are brought in this will continue to be the case.

Angus McGregor, Edinburgh, by email

Imperial approach will solve trams debacle

WhilE reading about the latest problems with Edinburgh’s trams (News, April 12), I couldn’t help but notice that the deficient lengths of track were described in metres and kilometres.

The Victorian engineers who built our original system did a very good job using feet and inches. Perhaps it is this fetish for metrication (one unfortunately shared by your newspaper) which has led to uncertainty and imprecision in construction and has brought us to the present fiasco?

In the increasingly likely event that everything has to be dug up again and the tracks relaid, it is still not too late to insist on the use of imperial measure, thus restoring appropriate precision and familiarity to the undertaking.

John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace , Edinburgh

All Scots voices should be heard in parliament

Your correspondent Angus Logan (Letters, April 11) continues his one- man crusade to resist steps to encourage the voices of the non-religious to be regarded as equal value and weight as those of the religious.

The Scottish Parliament’s weekly four-minute Time for Reflection is monopolised by unrepresentative religious denominations against the intentions of Scottish Parliamentarians when it was started along with the new Parliament in 1999 that it should be representative of the diversity of beliefs in Scotland.

The petition before the parliament to which he refers would ensure that there is equal opportunity for the parliament to hear the ethical and moral views of the one half of Scots who do not today commit to any religious denomination.

It is important that the parliament should be open to all and I would encourage readers to consider signing petition PE01514 on the Scottish Parliament’s website.

Norman Bonney, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh