Readers' letters: There's room for everyone in Holyrood Park

The proposal to ban cars from Holyrood Park would, apparently, allow people to enjoy the open spaces to the full (News, October 11).

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 7:00 am
Photographer Ian Georgeson, 07921 567360 Holyrood Park, Traffic

I fail to understand that closing the park to cars would "increase walking and cycling." Surely this assumes that people using the park by car at the moment would automatically change to walking or cycling and that the presence of cars reduces the number of people wishing to use the park.

As the figures show, the introduction of many cycle lanes and "spaces for people" have only increased cycle and walking use by an average 0.6 per cent in Edinburgh.

Considering that Edinburgh Council have used a reduction in air pollution as a reason for many of their recent road and pavement changes, it strikes me that the cars that would previously have passed through the park will now add to the existing tailbacks on Edinburgh's roads, thus increasing air pollution.

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Finally, Holyrood Park is 650 acres in size. I would have thought that that would be large enough for a multi-use approach to its use and management.

Mr K Clark, Edinburgh.

Covid blame lies squarely with Boris

Sir David King, former government chief scientific adviser, wouldn’t be surprised at the House of Commons report blaming Boris Johnson for the UK’s horrifically Covid high death rate.

When asked by CNN how he would rate the UK government’s Covid performance on a 1-10 scale, he said, “Is 1 the lowest number I can choose?”

For years, the UK slashed public health spending. Public health departments had their funding further reduced when the Tories transferred them from the NHS to cash-strapped local authorities.

The government failed to plan. In the run up to 2020, emergency planning was focused not on pandemic threats but on the potential consequences of Brexit.

It refused to learn from other countries, being slow to adopt measures such as face coverings, border controls and contact tracing to identify infection clusters.

It squandered £37.5 billion outsourced to private company Serco on a centralised test and tracing system that still doesn’t work.

It focused on the downstream hospital response and ignored the upstream public health response needed to prevent the spread of the virus.

It undermined public trust with inconsistent messaging. Lifting protections in July fed public perceptions that the pandemic was over when infections and hospitalisations were ten times what they were last year. Its failure to financially support people to self-isolate guaranteed further viral spread.

This is a UK, not Scottish government, failure. Scotland has the UK’s lowest infection rate and second lowest death rate, 30 per cent lower than England. This was achieved despite not having control over pandemic measures until the end of March 2020 and not having borrowing powers to save businesses and support those in need.

A sovereign Scotland would have acted differently, saving thousands of lives.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

Nuclear option

The SNP’s ban on nuclear power would have a fig leaf of cover and principle if all nuclear power-derived sources of electrical power were banned.

But in another of these great feats of reverse logic, it seems electricity generated in the rest of the UK and France from nuclear power stations is welcomed and somehow not contaminated and has kept the lights on in Scotland for years.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.