Letters: Bikes don’t cause gridlock and can help the economy

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With regards to the Pedal on Parliament rally which was held last Sunday (News, May 20), perhaps it was simply because no one really noticed, but the delivery of at least 4000 people to The Meadows in under an hour, without gridlock, or parked cars blocking the streets, and the equally silent and “invisible” evaporation of the crowd from outside the Parliament Buildings at Holyrood makes a clear point about why we need to promote cycling as a means to make local journeys in our towns and cities.

Would we need to spend eye-watering sums, which surely our cash-strapped councils cannot afford on by-passes and relief roads, if transport policy planned for making more local journeys by bike?

One Belgian city (Hasselt) taking this line cancelled the building of a relief road, ripped up tarmac and returned the inner ring road to its former state as a tree-lined boulevard. As a result the rental values for commercial property went up and local tax revenues rose, but at the same time the council’s borrowing (no longer needed to build the roads) was reduced, so in effect they moved closer to balancing the books.

Even Scotrail delivered on Sunday, as the numbers heading back by train (having cycled in from Glasgow, Fife, and even further afield) had melted away by 7pm, soaked up by well 
managed loading of the trains.

Effectively managed and executed by the POP team and cycling police officers, a great day, just not enough time to meet all the people I hadn’t seen for years, and just had brief glimpses of and to whom I could only shout short greetings.

Dave Holladay, Transport campaigner, Glasgow

Money well spent on new badger home

I was very pleased to read that thousands of pounds are to be spent on creating new homes for badgers who are living along the route of the new Borders Railway (News, May 22).

The artificial setts will allow hundreds of the animals to be relocated from the path of the 35-mile line which is required by law, so the badgers will be safe and protected.

A full-time badger expert has now been drafted in to oversee the project which will see identical, roomier setts comprising numerous chambers and tunnels which are to be constructed then covered in soil up to a metre deep to hide them from view. Tasty treats are to be used to encourage the animals to visit and get used to the new setts, then once the entire clan has moved in, access to their previous home will be blocked.

Network Rail in conjunction with Scottish Natural Heritage is also providing alternative nesting spots for owls and have plans to limit the impact on other species along the route. This is brilliant news indeed.

June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian

Better off without Europe or England

I voted against joining Europe first time around and for much the same reasons that count against the Caesars, Plantagenets, Hapsburgs, Stuarts, Hanoverians, Bonapartists and of course Hitler and his gang.

Yesterday’s Anglophiles are today’s Europhiles, conspiring to exchange the luxurious green and red benches of the Palace of Westminster for whatever will become the equivalent in Brussels and Luxembourg.

It seems the virus is particularly prevalent at Holyrood, peopled as it is with collaborators of the unionist faction and pretentious patriots and no less unionist of the SNP.

As to UKIP, it is just another English political party which however recognises that the road taken by the Scots of 400 years ago is one best avoided when Switzerland during the same period evidences a better alternative to an avaricious neighbour’s aggression – belligerence and imperialism.

Suas Leis a’ Ghaidhlig.

David McPhillips, Broomfield Crescent, Edinburgh

Nicolson Square left to look like a slum

I refer to the letter by Margaret Callis (News, May 23) re the cherry trees in Nicolson Square. I passed the Square yesterday in the No 47 bus and could not believe the neglect of this area. It looks like a slum!

Filthy waste bins, overgrown grass and unkempt pathways. What a complete mess! And right across from one of our most beautiful buildings – Surgeons Hall.

But that’s Edinburgh council for you. Lack of maintenance seems to be the norm. We don’t seem to be 
entitled to nice surroundings. So sad!

M Quade, Fairmilehead, Edinburgh

No money for anything except big bonuses

So the country is in a mess. Why the surprise? The political parties were told 50 years ago that we were 
heading for trouble.

Stop National Service. Why? Axe the railways. Why? Axe the police beat system. Why? No money for ships like the Ark Royal, the army or the RAF, but money for bonuses. What message do the voters send to the parties?

Politicians, get a grip or the voters will do it for you.

CJR Fentiman, Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh

Why should SNP alone apologise to Farage?

D Smith says the SNP should apologise to Nigel Farage for the demonstration against him (Letters, May 23), but I notice he/she is not calling on Labour, Lib Dems or Conservatives to apologise for their supporters taking part.

The demonstration was by people of different political persuasions and also included many English people. Regarding apologies, should Mr Farage not apologise to the people of Scotland for the tirade against the Scots by one of his party officials?

B King, Edinburgh