Letters: Many reasons why Capital still depends on the buses

WELL, now we know. Princes Street is just a giant bus station, a supposed expert tells us (News, December 30). David Sim of Gehl Architects says the area is underperforming and wants us to switch from the bus to the bike or our own two feet.

Mr Sim may not understand, but there are basic reasons why Princes Street, to him, resembles a bus station.

Edinburgh relies heavily on its buses. Commuters and visitors do not currently have the option of the tram (will they ever?). Edinburgh, unlike other cities such as Glasgow, is built on terrain unsuitable for the construction of an underground system.

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Getting about by bike is a nice idea in principle, but do most of us really fancy half-killing ourselves going up the city's many hills? And then there's the wind, the rain and the cold, in case Mr Sim has missed them in his study.

Finally, cars. Remember them? Those were the vehicles many of us used as our preferred choice for commuting before car-haters at successive councils drove us out of our vehicles by making use of them in the city so awkward and expensive.

So buses will be a common sight in the city centre for many years to come.

Gordon Walker, Portobello High Street, Edinburgh

Electricity imports are not possible

CLARK Cross concludes that Scotland must be relying on French nuclear power (Interactive, December 29).

In fact, because Scotland exports about a quarter of its electricity, it is impossible to import any, not even from England.

However, I agree that it is time to invest in our own nuclear plants, to keep the lights on when the existing power stations are decommissioned. Renewables will never accomplish this.

Steuart Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh

Nation has plenty left in the tank

A STUDY published by Aberdeen University has shown the next three decades could see 12 new oil and gas fields developed in the average year.

It suggests a conservative estimate of the oil price at $70 per barrel over coming decades could unlock the development of 365 new fields. A more optimistic oil price of $90 - it is currently above that price - would mean more than 500 fields.

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The study highlights that roughly a third of the oil and gas potential under UK waters still remains to be extracted.

Such figures show the tremendous potential and opportunities Scotland has to offer in the energy sector, not only in oil and gas, but also in the renewable energy revolution.

That is why this year and the forthcoming elections are so important, with the opportunity to gain economic independence and control which will enable us to mobilise these great resources, generating growth and wealth for our own economy.

Alex Orr, SNP Lothians candidate, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Usual suspects in the gongs gang

WITH the New Year's honours list being announced and the usual suspects rewarded for simply doing their highly paid jobs, isn't it time to call a halt to this charade for the privileged?

The chief executive of BA gets a knighthood, presumably for taking on the trade unions, or was it for mis-handling the snow debacle that left customers stranded or, as seems more likely, was it just for being "one of the boys" who has a job that comes with the obligatory honour?

Centrica's boss is knighted, presumably for maximising the profits his company has squeezed from recession-hit customers faced with fuel bills fully hiked with alacrity when wholesale prices increase, but only - eventually - partially reduced when they fall.

I know there's the usual token real honours handed out, but aren't the vast majority just doled out to the chosen ones simply doing their highly paid jobs?

Except the perennial one. There's still no Brucie bonus.

Jim Taylor, The Murrays Brae, Edinburgh