Letters: City road works need better strategic planning

Poorly integrated road works are a headache. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Poorly integrated road works are a headache. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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Edinburgh city centre has become a nightmare to drive in. Trying to get to Leith from High Street? Leith Street roadworks are obviously to be avoided. But how?

Abbeyhill? Well no... the road is blocked, including the road around Regents Circus, so to avoid a left turn taking you back to the roadworks at Leith Street you’re forced to turn right and then you’re stuck in traffic lights that only let three vehicles through at a time. Still set at a sequence from before the roadworks commenced.

I decided to take Restalrig Road to the bottom of Easter Road, then to the bottom of Leith Street. Big mistake. Another set of dodgy traffic lights on Duke Street.

Should I have gone down The Mound to Hanover Street and accessed Leith from Queen Street? Again, no. You can’t turn right and are forced to go left and the next possible turning is as far along as Frederick Street.

Of course roadworks are inevitable, but it seems to be beyond the wit and intelligence of traffic planners to make sure they don’t all happen at the same time in the same general direction.

Iain McKinna, High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Keith Brown must steel himself for future

the comments on last week’s BBC programme Question Time by the SNP cabinet secretary for infrastructure Keith Brown (pictured) were rather difficult to comprehend.

When asked why Scottish steel was not used in the manufacture of the new Forth Bridge he replied that the type of steel needed was not made in Scotland.

But Tata, who do have steel production in Glasgow, also manufacture the type needed elsewhere in the UK. And the entire section awarded to China also included a lot of fabrication work that could have been done at several locations throughout the country.

Maybe we should remind the Minister that Scotland does not have a car industry, aircraft manufacture nor produce Guinness, but when he works out how those products arrive here then he should be able to formulate a plan for future steel infrastructure projects.

Colin Cookson, Stenton, Glenrothes

Tory policy of 1980s killed Scottish industry

Much has been said about recent job losses within the UK’s steel industry. David Cameron’s complete disregard for workers north of the Watford Gap, who in the main don’t vote Tory, is typical of this Westminster Government.

But reader, Thomas McCafferty, is wrong to mislead over the Scottish Government’s ‘failure’ to award the Forth Crossing steel contract to a Scottish firm (Letters, October 20).

Not a single Scottish firm submitted a steel fabrication tender for the new crossing.

If Thomas is looking for someone to blame, I suggest he re-visits Tory policy towards Scotland’s traditional industries back in the 1980s.

Seán Dolan-Osborne, Dunfermline

Norway not the right way to an EU alliance

Prime Minister Cameron’s assertion that for the UK to form a Norwegian-style arrangement with the EU is not in the UK’s best interests is absolutely correct (October 20).

Norway is a member of the European Economic Area, but enacts most EU legislation in order to maintain access to the Single Market, practising the free movement of people, goods, services and capital.

Not being a full EU member, it does not participate in decision making in Brussels, but abides by its decisions, incorporating approximately three-quarters of all EU acts into Norwegian legislation.

It is what is known as ‘fax democracy’, with Oslo awaiting instructions from Brussels

Norway has no seat at the negotiating table. It has no veto in the European Council, no votes in the EU’s Council of Ministers, no MEPs or votes in the European Parliament and no European commissioner to help. In addition, Norway also pays about 600m euros (£432m) a year to the EU.

It is no surprise that Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende earlier this year stated that it makes sense for the UK to stay in the European Union, where it “can have more influence than outside”.

For the UK to voluntarily choose to move out of the core and into the outer circle in order to join those influenced by but not influencing Brussels would be a highly damaging and backward step.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

New bus shelters are worse than old ones

Apart from the farce of the seat heights in the new bus shelters (Evening News, October 14 and 19), I wonder if Cllr Lesley Hinds and her committee, while boasting about the modern design with touchscreen and phone charging availability in some, ever took into account the following:

The priorities in their design should have been a) As much protection from the elements as possible; b) As much seating as possible for elderly and infirm persons; c) An assessment of the size required for the new shelter taking into account its location, eg at main interchange areas.

The new shelters are far more open to the elements. Providing access for wheelchairs on the long side of the shelter has greatly reduced the length of seating available and there are now complaints by disabled groups that increasing the depth of the shelters has reduced the width of the pavements.

Appearance has taken preference over practicality and many of the original shelters were far superior to their replacements.

John M Tulloch, Duddingston Park South, Edinburgh