What a splendid initiative by Historic Scotland to invest in simple energy efficiency measures in its buildings, saving £110,000 in one year alone (News, January 11).
That’s money to spend on other priorities, cutting carbon emissions and creating jobs in materials and installation to boot.
That this can be achieved in some of our oldest buildings should be a wake-up call for the city council, presiding over the City Chambers with medieval heating systems and over-heated rooms and schools where the only control in the middle of winter is to thrust open windows.
Yet the amount of money earmarked for energy efficiency investment in council buildings next year is pitiful.
Next month’s council budget is a chance to take a step change. We could be investing massively in insulation and high-efficiency lighting, while exploring opportunities to create income from solar energy. Saving money, reducing environmental damage and supporting jobs.
Gavin Corbett, Green spokesperson on finance and budget
Conundrum over EU referendum
I have always thought of the United Kingdom as a political union of four distinct countries – each with its own strengths, problems and character (in England’s case several characters).
What will happen if in the referendum Westminster is about to offer on remaining a member of the EU, one of the countries – say Scotland – votes decisively to stay within the EU, whilst the others vote equally decisively to leave?
Will the EU effectively expel and turn away a country strong in its wish to remain?
A Scotland in Europe campaign would have a better chance of success than the current campaign for independence – and if handled skilfully by Scottish politicians, could, de facto, produce the same result.
David Fiddimore, Nether Craigwell, Edinburgh
Blow whistle on council activities
Edinburgh people can sign this petition to the council’s petitions committee, calling for “A Safer way to report Edinburgh City Council mismanagement”. Under revised procedures, if this new committee pass the proposal, it immediately becomes council policy.
It seeks an independent whistleblowing hotline to which council staff could report not just malpractice and nascent scandals, but the many unintended consequences of council decisions that can cause misery to so many.
The petition is supported by Councillor Rose (leader of the Conservative Group) and Ian Murray MP (Labour Shadow minister for employee relations).
To sign, visit the council website at www.edinburgh.gov.uk, go to “support a petition” then “support an existing petition” to find this one.
No council mangement would see staff reports – just the five leaders of the city’s political groups. Whistleblowers’ jobs and careers would be safe, their identity secure.
Thus the petition seeks to avoid any more Mortonhalls, property conservation scandals, tram debacles, Water of Leith flood prevention overspends, mistaken school closures and the many other nightmares that may even now be brewing up at the council.
If there is a mechanism whereby those council workers at the bottom of the food chain could let those at the top learn as to what is really going on with council tax-payers money, this is it.
James Grant, Edinburgh
Bottleneck blues for trams route
With reference to Tom Loughray’s comments in the Evening News (Letters, January 11) regarding my letter about road narrowing for buses.
While he may be correct that there might only be two trams on Princes Street at any one time, this if anything would support my argument.
The point I was making is that two bottlenecks have been created reducing the road width at Shandwick Place approaching Princes Street, and again on Princes Street at the South St Andrew Street junction from two lanes to one which is bound to create tail backs for buses.
This is already evident on the completed junction at South St Andrew Street with as yet NO trams running!
John M Tulloch, Edinburgh