Letters: Alison is right to fight cuts in children’s needs

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Alison Johnstone MSP (‘Spare kids with support needs from callous cuts’, News, (July 7) highlights a key issue we have as a coalition been campaigning on for some time.

As we know, some 20,000 young people across the Lothians have additional support needs (ASN) and this number is increasing dramatically, in part due to better detection rates.

As this number rises, urgent action is required to ensure that those children and young people with ASN are identified as early as possible, and provided with adequate support.

Local authorities are, however, finding it increasingly difficult to provide the necessary services due to budget cuts.

Under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009, local authorities have a statutory requirement to identify, provide for and review the additional support needs of their pupils.

We are, however, concerned that a combination of financial constraints and increased pressure on resources is leading to many local authorities not being able to fulfill this basic requirement. This is leading to a postcode lottery for services and a potential lost generation of vulnerable young people.

Like Alison Johnstone, we urgently call on the Scottish Government to speak to local authorities to identify how we can protect and enhance the provision of services for those with ASN.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition comprising:

Sophie Pilgrim, director, Kindred Scotland;

Tom McGhee, managing director, Spark of Genius;

Duncan Dunlop, chief executive, Who Cares? Scotland;

Stuart Jacob, director, Falkland House School;

Niall Kelly, managing director, Young Foundations

Don’t leave your pet locked in a hot car

I hope all those coming to our village of Gullane for the Scottish Open Golf this week will have great weather and enjoy the golf.

But please do not leave any dogs in cars – whatever the weather is like.

I am a retired veterinary surgeon and while I worked here for over 40 years, I had to treat quite a few dogs which had been left in cars – even with windows open and in the shade.

Some made it but some died. It is not worth it. Any dog seen in a parked car will be reported, and if necessary the required steps will be taken to get the dog out. Dogs fry in cars, so please don’t take the risk.

Enjoy the golf.

Mrs Pat Morris veterinary

surgeon (retired), address


Wind farm growth is blow to Scots tourism

I am seriously saddened by the extent to which the quintessential character of the Scottish rural countryside is being demolished by the relentless march of the concrete and steel towers of wind turbines, especially in the Borders, the area where I spent some happy years in the midst of (then) unspoilt natural beauty.

Although I still like your towns and cities, I would not fly to Scotland merely to visit Auld Reekie or Muckle Toon.

Instead, the reason for travelling to Scotland, as a tourist, would be to enjoy your spectacular landscape. But I don’t do that anymore. For I detest being confronted by the massive industrialisation of your rural countryside.

Some of you who live in towns and cities may pretend that it’s no big deal, but as a former tourism executive let me say this loud and clear: if your aim is being a tourist destination, you have no asset that’s more important than the unspoilt nature of your rural countryside.

Wind turbines and unspoilt natural beauty cannot peacefully co-exist. Wind farms in the countryside always destroy peace and solitude. They are the enemies of reflection. Wind farms on the ridges of your hills squash your efforts to increase tourism.

When rambling on the hills of Scotland, visitors expect to be in natural surroundings. From a foreigner’s perspective, the unspoilt natural beauty of the countryside is the whole point of visiting Scotland to begin with!

But with countless wind farms remorselessly spreading all over your country, there is no longer any point in enduring uncomfortable air travel or expensive car-ferries to visit you.

When people tell me they plan on visiting Scotland, I tell them the unspoilt countryside has vanished.

I tell them to look up the website of Scottish Natural Heritage and find document A1055080, which is a PDF file of the map showing the footprint of the Onshore Wind Farms in Scotland (August 2013).

That makes them recoil in horror. And they choose Italy instead.

Robert Esland, Amsterdam, Holland

War hero who saved us from doodlebugs

I WAS interested in the story about the wartime RAF pilot, Squadon Leader Berry, and the sale of his medals in Newcastle.

He is credited with shooting down 61 V1s, or ‘doodlebugs’ by conventional attack.

It may not be accurate, but my late father, who served in the wartime RAF, used to tell me that Mosquitoes were the only fighters fast enough to pursue doodlebugs.

What they did was tilt the doodlebug down, physically making them descend to explode harmlessly in Kent.

People used to say that when a V1’s engine cut out, you knew you were in for it.

RJ Chisholm, Clifford Road, North Berwick