Letters: Folly for planners to pass buck on alcohol issues

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STAGGERING news – Edinburgh is now the drink capital of Scotland and it is costing us more than £220 million each year (News, November 6).

Attempts to limit outlets via licensing powers have been repeatedly thwarted by well-financed legal appeals.

A new proposed policy shift may prove equally ineffective – protecting some districts would leave others vulnerable to exploitation.

Invoking planning policy 8 ought to protect residents from any development which would be likely to lead to alcohol-related problems. But planning officials have decreed that such concerns are a matter for the licensing board.

This is one of the ways in which consent was given for the Accies’ rugby stadium with its bars, restaurants and hospitality suites.

Who can estimate how much that folly is going to cost us, one way or another?

Alan Murphy, Learmonth Grove, Edinburgh

You cannot cut crime by making cutbacks

HOW can we have a justice system that can cut down crime when resources are being cut back?

Our local police stations are at the forefront of efficiency savings which can only mean a minimum front-line police force will be available to the public.

To deal with underlying issues of crime, whether it is antisocial behaviour or more serious crime, could run the risk of undermining the all-important relationships between the community and the closing down of local police stations.

It is said that crime prevention is better than punishment, so is it not the case that having a local police station would be the direct link between having a safe community rather than throwing the book at continual offending?

Chas Dennis, Niddrie Marischal Road, Edinburgh

Gaelic has a place in Scotland’s capital

I WAS delighted to read your story on furthering the use of the Gaelic language in Edinburgh, (News November 11).

Not only is it a good thing for language in general, it’s crucial in the preservation of our culture and heritage. We must not forget that although the Scots language and not Gaelic was more prevalent in the lowlands, Edinburgh is the capital of all Scotland, including areas where Gaelic is still dominant.

Interestingly, this move is in stark contrast to that of a certain Tory councillor in Fife, Dave Dempsey, who recently proposed a motion to ensure no future signage would ever appear in Gaelic. Thankfully his insulting motion failed.

Seán Ó Dobhailen-Osborne

Dùn Phàrlain

Language decision was a unanimous one

I’d be grateful for an opportunity to clarify some points raised in your article “Gaelburgh”.

Firstly, the claim by the group “TaxpayerScotland” that the “Scottish Government is using [Scottish Gaelic] as a political tool” is hardly borne out by the fact the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 was introduced under a Labour/Liberal Democrat Scottish Executive and then passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament.

The decision to create the new stand-alone Gaelic Medium primary Taobh na Pàirce was also agreed unanimously by Edinburgh City Council.

Cllr Deidre Brock, spokeperson for Gaelic, Capital Coalition, Edinburgh City Council

Council’s reputation is now fit for the bin

It is not very often I feel the need to criticise Midlothian Council and indeed I had the impression that it was one of the better-run Scottish councils.

However, the decision not to empty a bin with a lid slightly open now makes me wonder about that (Was this bin really too risky to lift?, News, November 8).

I worked with Perth and Kinross Council for a short period and as part of the training I received, I was told a good bin collector should be doing a quick visual check of the bin including a quick look inside before hooking it on to the back of the truck.

The purpose of the quick check is to ensure that nothing is inside that should not be.

It would not be the first time a small animal had crawled inside a bin, and in the cases of big bins even humans being inside.

The visual check also helps identify problems with the bin in general. A bin with cracked plastic could potentially fall off the motor during the lift or if the wheels are faulty it could injure the collector if they try to move the container.

In this case where the lid was just slightly open I do not think it would have done any harm to the collectors. If they had done a quick visual check and lifted the lid the offending bag would have slipped back inside the container.

I get the impression that the collectors in this case were either being awkward and taking rules a bit too far or they were just being plain lazy.

Alastair Macintyre, Webster Place, Rosyth, Fife

MPs in no danger of facing fuel poverty

WHILE millions of people are facing food and fuel poverty, no fewer than 340 MPs are getting their energy bills paid by the taxpayer via expenses claims.

I take it this comes under “we are all in this together, part 1,642”?

Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar, East Lothian