Letters: A French lesson would improve our pavements

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The Evening News’ “Dish the dirt” campaign against dog mess not being picked up by owners is a good idea that everyone in the city should support.

Unfortunately, as usual it is the small minority who let the side down and make the place look a mess because they cannot be bothered acting responsibly and cleaning up after their pets.

While the responsibility should be mainly with dog owners, I think the council could play a greater role in cleaning streets and pavements up.

On a visit to Paris, I noticed that the pavements in the city were cleaned by council employees on a daily basis. One of the things being cleaned up off the pavements was dog dirt, and there was plenty of it, as the French seem to have more regard for les chiens than they do for the surroundings in their beautiful city.

However, with the authorities no doubt recognising the importance of tourism to the city, it is no surprise that they take the job of keeping it clean very seriously.

That’s an attitude that we would do well to follow here in Edinburgh. It is not on the same scale as Paris, but it is one of the most beautiful little cities in the world, and we should do our best to make the most of it.

With many thousands of visitors about to descend on the city’s streets thanks to the approaching Festival, there is no better time than now to look again at how we go about keeping the city clean.

Andrew Morris, St Leonard’s Lane, Edinburgh

Ghost runs of project that haunts our city

I READ your story about tram drivers doing “ghost runs” along the route of the new line to acclimatise themselves to how it will be when the trams finally take to the streets for real (News, July 5).

Transport expert Simon Johnston said it was “standard practice” for rookie tram drivers to enter a “programme of familiarisation” by getting behind the wheel of a bus along busy junctions of the rail line so they could recognise danger spots.

What a shame it wasn’t standard practice for those whose bright idea it was to have a tram “network” in the city to think instead of having drivers driving buses, like the ones they have done successfully on very popular routes.

These drivers could have kept on doing so instead of having pie in the sky ideas.

That way, we could have kept things running as well as they were, spared the city and its people much inconvenience, helped some struggling businesses along the route survive, and save around £1billion.

Just think how many useful projects that money could have gone to, such as building or revamping schools, or improving our Third World potholed roads.

Kate Colquhoun, Northfield, Edinburgh

Tunnel vision would been the better idea

IT was interesting to read about the parade to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge being cancelled (News, July 5).

The fact that it was called off because of fears of what would happen due to high winds blowing up underlines one of the flaws of the crossing being made by a bridge, which is at the mercy of the weather.

So many times when the wind gets up, the bridge is off limits to high-sided vehicles, and sometimes it is closed completely.

For that very reason, it would have been a much better idea to make the new crossing to be built a tunnel instead. Some people will say it would cost a lot more, but it would soon recoup the extra outlay as Scottish business would not lose any money by having to give up when the wind blows hard.

A Barker, Albion Road, Edinburgh

Ignore the voters and you’ll lose their trust

Over the last 50 years or so, successive governments, including the SNP, have been making cuts in various services, be they civilian or military in the belief they were saving money.

What they were doing was devaluing their fellow citizens by implying that their country no longer needed their help and they were to blame for the financial situation. In addition, the obsession to privatise everything is damaging. Does it matter whether a business is private or public as long as the service it provides is satisfactory?

I would suggest that those in authority think again before they lose the trust and support of the voters. If the voters, by their actions, say NO, they mean it.

CJR Fentiman, Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh

Keep an eye out for furry friends in sun

With the arrival of hot weather, we should be reminded that animals suffer and die when temperatures rise.

Dogs die very quickly in hot cars and they should not be left inside them even for very short periods. Opening a window a few inches is not sufficient.

Other animals suffer, too. Rabbits must not be left in a hutch in the glaring sun or inside a sweltering garage or shed. They need a cool, shady place where the air circulates, and where they are able to move freely. A hot rabbit can be kept cool by applying cold water gently to its ears. Should your rabbit become listless, or start breathing hard through an open mouth or go limp, get him to a vet immediately. Rabbits must also be checked daily throughout summer months for signs of flystrike.

Smaller animals, like hamsters, rats and gerbils, can be kept cool by opening windows and closing curtains, using a fan (but not pointing it directly at them), refreshing water and providing a frozen water bottle, wrapped in a towel so that it cannot be chewed. Please take good care of our friends this summer!

Kate Fowler, head of campaigns, Animal Aid

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