I welcome the intervention of the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure Committee in relation to cab access at Waverley station (News, August 3).
I am a visually impaired traveller who has experienced great difficulty since the station was closed to vehicles. I hope MSP Jim Eadie’s firm words get the necessary response from rail authorities.
I hope they will urgently reconsider opening one of the ramps to cabs carrying or meeting disabled rail-card or blue badge holders. Cab drivers currently have to leave frail and vulnerable people in unsafe places or risk parking illegally in order to find station staff to assist these travellers.
This is not acceptable in a station which formerly was so accessible and a pleasure to use. It is my view that station authorities are failing in their duties under the Equality Act in relation to disabled and frail elderly people.
Currently I avoid Waverley station whenever I can.
Hilary Davies, Falcon Court, Edinburgh
EU should ban import of hunted animals
While there have been many column inches devoted to the untimely death of Cecil the lion, one practical thing both the Scottish Government and UK Government could do is lobby the European Commission to prevent big game hunters from bringing their so-called ‘trophies’ into the EU.
Tighter rules preventing limited importation of these items came into force in February, with lion skins and bones from three countries in west Africa banned because of their endangered populations.
There are considerable fears that Africa’s lion population is on the brink of collapse, with numbers falling by 42 per cent in the past 21 years to around 30,000, and trophy hunting is recognised as a major factor in the decline.
Instead of focusing our anger solely on the actions of American hunter Mr Palmer, let us try to deliver something positive out of this situation and lobby our politicians to step up to the mark and restrict the import of these horrific items.
Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh
Driving badge unfair to young disabled
I write to highlight the unfair discrimination children with autism and Down’s face when being assessed for a blue parking badge.
Due to government cuts in welfare, thousands of kids with these conditions have been downgraded from higher rate mobility to lower rate mobility.
The criteria stipulates that if a child can walk 40 metres they don’t qualify for a blue badge. However, no consideration is taken of the fact that most of the kids need a carer or adult with them at all times for personal safety, as they have little or no danger awareness.
Once a child turns 16 and changes from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment, there is a provision for a blue badge to be awarded automatically on grounds of personal safety, so at the moment, those under 16 are not treated the same as those over 16, which is very unfair.
I have started an online petition on the Scottish Parliament’s website aimed at changing this discrepancy, as they have done in Wales. The best way to find it is to search for petition number PE01576 blue badges for children with autism and Down’s syndrome.
Owain Martin, Falcon Gardens, Edinburgh
Welsh leading the way on RE in schools
We were heartened to hear that the Welsh Government is considering a change to religious education in Wales.
Hoping to be called ‘Religion, Philosophy and Ethics’ this new approach will continue to cover different world religious beliefs but invite young people equally to consider other ethical and philosophic ideas.
In addition to tackling extremism and community division in schools, the subject will discuss religion as one of many ways of approaching life’s bigger questions and not as a one-stop solution.
Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive, Edinburgh
Sign up to one of our volunteer schemes
Scotland is a nation filled with people who cherish their local green spaces. Volunteering Matters wants to help people who want to transform their local community. Our Action Earth grants enable volunteer groups to reclaim derelict or empty spaces, plant trees, shrubs and flowers and boost wildlife habitats.
From 2012-15 our projects have improved 11 million square metres of land, 27,000 trees have been planted and 1060 bird and bat boxes have been installed.
We give projects up to £500, thanks to the support of Scottish Natural Heritage, to allow individuals and organisations to volunteer to improve their local environment. Grants can be used to purchase tools, plants and materials and to cover expenses.
Over the last three years, our grants of £120,000 have resulted in the equivalent of 156 years of work hours, which added to the material value of the projects is a benefit to the economy of £2.25 million (based on an average employee contract at minimum wage). Sign up to Action Earth by visiting www.volunteeringmatters.org.uk/actionearth
Katy McTernan, Volunteering Matters, Greenside Place, Edinburgh