Don’t let crazy planners get close to public funds

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I COULD hardly believe my eyes when I saw the council’s latest idea – plans to extend the tram line to Dalkeith (News, May 10).

Are barmy ideas such as this what we pay our council tax for? These are plans to extend a tram line that is years behind the intended complete date and hundreds of millions of pounds over the budget.

Let’s not forget the chaos and confusion caused by the work done to update utilities and then lay the new tram line. Thousands of motorists, commuters and pedestrians were inconvenienced for years, and many folk have simply got out of the habit of going into the city centre.

As a consequence of that, many businesses have had to close, including ones on the line to the waterfront, which never even came to fruition.

Council officials say they are merely planning for the future. That’s all very well, but wasn’t it planning for the future which left Edinburgh with a shortened tram project at a much higher than promised price?

The mess made with the current tram project shows these people should not be trusted with planning anything more complicated than their next meal, and should certainly be kept miles away from our council tax payments.

Anyway, far from planning for the future, if we have to spend cash on transport projects, how about repairing our diabolical road surfaces? That would at least be a start.

William Marshall, Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh

Keeping an eye on our fascinating birds

As we enjoyed the annual Bird Fair at the weekend at the stunning Hopetoun House, I noted recent press on the effects of climate change and farming methods on Scotland’s wildlife.

Less ‘celebrated’ icons of our countryside unfortunately don’t tend to feature so prominently in coverage, but are just as affected. Sadly some of the UK’s beautiful wading birds are in rapid decline – notably both lapwing and curlew numbers have halved since 1995 according to the British Trust for Ornithology.

It’s interesting that some very simple changes in rural land management can dramatically assist recovery of these species including the control of pest predators such as foxes, crows and stoats and the rewetting of rough grassland.

Such measures are already common practice on Scotland’s managed grouse moors where lapwings and curlews thrive. The Scottish Land & Estates Moorland Group is working hard with RSPB and others to get this message heard and encourage more landowners to take simple, usually free measures to make sure we never lose these fascinating birds.

Tim Baynes, Scottish land & Estates’ Moorland Group, Stuart House, Musselburgh

Connery has done nothing for Scotland

I WAS disgusted when I read that some people had put Sir Sean Connery down among the names for the new Forth bridge (News, April 29).

Mr Connery has done nothing for Scotland, doesn’t live here or pay taxes here. He is one of those Scottish people with loud mouths such as Brian Cox and Elaine C Smith, none of them know about politics.

C Carson, Concord Way, Inverkeithing

Salmond’s plans are blowing in the wind

UNDER the SNP Government, wind farms have spread across our countryside like an ugly rash, even though they don’t seem to contribute much power and are expensive to create and situate.

In fact the pointlessness of these eyesores make me wonder if they are Alex Salmond’s secret weapon.

Perhaps he is hoping that when his dream of independence is tramples into the dirt at the referendum next year, a great wind will rise and, through the countless turbines, blow Scotland away from the rest of the UK.

That’s the closest the SNP will get to separating us from the rest of the country.

D Hunter, Northfield, Edinburgh

Labour party hand in hand with the Tories

I PROFOUNDLY disagree with the direction in which Johann Lamont has taken the Labour Party.

The Tories congratulated her mimicking their policies after she made a speech saying Scotland was a “something for nothing society”. Abolishing the council tax freeze and free prescriptions would be a threat to hard-working families.

People need to know and understand that voting “No” in the referendum might also mean pensioners voting to pay for their bus passes and personal care when they become infirm.

No wonder the Tories are over the moon with Labour, which is hand in hand with the Tories in the “Better together” campaign.

The unions warned Ms Lamont not rely on their automatic support in the referendum as Labour are siding with the Tories

Scotland under the SNP will control taxes and welfare benefits to make sure it can make the rich pay taxes and look after the poor in our society.

J Hill, former Labour activist, Stenhouse Avenue, Edinburgh Remembering dad, Arctic convoy hero

REGARDING the Arctic convoys, which have been in the news.

My father, Lewis John Wilson, went to Russia six times and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by King George VI at Buckingham Palace.

He never spoke much about it and he said it was not just him alone that should have been rewarded, but the men as well. He was made a chief petty officer – he was my hero!

Agnes Wilson, St Clair Avenue, Leith