Letters: Clean-ups don’t tackle lower reaches of river

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I constantly read about various clean-ups on the Water of Leith, which I am sure have a significant impact on both the water quality and considerably enhance the environment for the scores of walkers and cyclists who use the much publicised walkway.

But having lived in the Bonnington area for five years, and regularly walked my children and dog beside the river, I must question whether the clean-up system is subject to some form of postcode lottery.

From what I have read clean-ups appear to be centred in the upper reaches of the river – mainly around Balerno and Juniper Green.

The state of the river upstream from Bonnington Bridge to the weir is disgusting. Hardly “a silver thread in a ribbon of green” as many describe it.

The water is filled with all types of debris from broken bicycles, to car tyres and plastic rubbish sacks trapped underwater and on the surrounding foliage.

It is a shame as following flood prevention works the banks have been carefully rebuilt and both water plants and young saplings systematically planted.

They will in time enhance the nature of the surroundings.

But unless steps are taken to clear up the river itself much of this good work will be wasted – and it can only be hoped the newly planted trees will mask the actual sight of the water itself.

It is surely time the Trust and Friends of the Water of Leith took some action.

The water of Leith is an asset for all to be enjoyed . . . not only those living in the higher reaches.

G Robertson, Bonnington

Majority of landlords committed to service

Shelter is right to highlight the need to tackle irresponsible letting agents (News, May 7) and there is clearly a need for a better regulatory environment for the private rented sector.

However, the Scottish Government should also look at regulations that already exist, but are not currently being enforced adequately, in addition to any new rules.

For existing programmes like the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, tenant information packs and others to work effectively, they require significant promotion to ensure all landlords are aware of the scheme and then rigorous enforcement to ensure compliance.

If the Scottish Government commits to actively policing the sector in tandem with any new rules, “rogue” letting agents described by Shelter should disappear.

Over the last ten years, the private rented sector has more than doubled its share of the total housing stock in Scotland, rising from five per cent to 11 per cent.

As the private rented sector plays an ever-increasing role in meeting Scotland’s housing needs, the vast majority of landlords are committed to providing an exceptional level of service to tenants.

Malcolm Cannon, chief executive, ESPC Lettings, ESPC George Street, Edinburgh

Immigrants behind boom as well as bust

UKIP is cashing in on the discontent of people at the inability of the Conservative/Liberal government to create and maintain more jobs and houses. UKIP is directing people’s anger not against the causes of the problems, the system and its incapability to provide jobs and houses.

The party is setting people against other people, seeking by their actions to maintain that system.

Immigration is being highlighted as one of the main causes of our increasing poverty – too many people chasing too few jobs, and so on.

If one accepts immigration as a main cause of today’s decline, then the days when things were booming, of rising living standards, must in part due to the contribution of immigrant labour.

Over many years the emigration of Scots, Welsh, Irish and English, whose motive was to find a better life, can now be blamed for the troubles happening in Spain, Italy, Greece, 
Cyprus, France and so on.

A Delahoy, Silverknowes Gardens, Edinburgh

Days of empire are
a thing of the past

After the recent electoral gains made by UKIP, we now have Lord Lawson saying that the UK should leave the European Union. Perhaps we should never have been in the EU at all.

Empires have been steadily breaking up over a number of centuries. For example, the Portuguese, the French, the Spanish, the Austro-Hungarian, the Ottoman, the Prussian and the Russian at least. Even the Chinese “empire” is cracking since Mongolia and Tibet want out.

Why has this happened? Simple, empires no longer work. So what is the centre of the once all-powerful British Empire doing?

Why, getting involved in the building of an empire of course, in Europe, and allowing it to impose its rules upon us.

When will we learn that Cornwall, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland are all part of the “English Empire” and that, at present, we are merely doing what that empire wants us to do?

We have an element of devolution certainly, but London is still the centre of political and economic activity for all of us.

And it seems that until very recently no-one has really cared about whether or not this European Empire was going to work for all the parts of the once-great Britain.

Derek Cochrane, Ferry Road, Edinburgh