Comment: ‘Such a strict enforcement is long overdue’

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We fully support getting tough on staff and visitors who flout the rules by smoking outside hospitals.

As our recent articles have shown, the current arrangements are just not working, with smokers feeling able to freely light up yards from the hospital and often right underneath no smoking signs.

This is not just antisocial but, as smoke drifts into wards full of sick people, it is a real health concern.

NHS Lothian’s own tobacco policy set out in 2006 that smoking would not be allowed in any “premises, around entrances or buildings” and so strict enforcement is long overdue.

If people want to smoke that is, of course, their own choice, but it is surely not asking too much that they observe the rules and make the short trek to a smoking shelter.

And when it comes to staff, they really have to set an example to others.

Threatening those who break the rules with the sack may seem harsh but it may just be the stick needed to sort this issue out once and for all.

Exciting times

It is exciting to learn that talks are under way aimed at reigniting the £850 million redevelopment of the St James Centre.

This project promises to be the most important to take place in the Capital for a generation. It has the potential to restore the city’s reputation as a world-class shopping centre and in doing so transform our economic prospects.

We will have to be patient, though. Negotiations are at a very early stage and there are still many issues to be settled. Development on this scale will always prompt concerns, especially from conservationists and those who will have to live cheek-by-jowl with them.

It is vital that we get things right and that won’t happen overnight. Don’t forget that when the 
St James Centre opened in the 1960s it was seen as a great step forward for Edinburgh, but it didn’t take long before it was universally condemned as an eyesore.

We will all be keenly watching how these negotiations progress in the hope that they can deliver the kind of results that will improve the city for generations to come.