Letters: ‘‘Nutty’ campus idea better than most from Holyrood’

THE Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, thinks the need to build an east Edinburgh academy to replace Castlebrae and Portobello high schools is a “nutty” idea (News, January 2).

Well, it is certainly a more sensible idea than has come out of the policies of the Scottish Government’

Edinburgh east needs an educational facility such as a joint-campus academy, something that would integrate people from all backgrounds, developing positive attitudes and behaviour towards others, to live in a truly plural society.

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East Edinburgh is steadily moving towards being a very diverse community with Craigmillar and Portobello and other areas.

So it is vital that we are equipped for the future. Having a stable education through a joint campus facility is the way forward.

Chas Dennis, Niddrie Marischal Road, Edinburgh

Many pressures on ticket prices

Your article “Bus fares rise to £1.50” (News, January 9) speculates that a possible rise in the Lothian Buses single journey fare to £1.50 is linked to the Scottish Government’s funding of the National Concessionary Travel scheme.

Fare levels at Lothian Buses are a commercial matter for the company. A decision to increase fares would doubtless reflect many commercial pressures, such as fuel prices, and it would be overly simplistic and wrong to blame Scottish Government funding. Lothian Buses themselves have certainly not suggested this.

More generally, the Scottish Government is committed to protecting the National Concessionary Travel Scheme.

Despite significant reductions in Westminster’s budget allocations, Scottish Ministers actually increased funding for concessionary travel in 2010-11 and 2012-13; and they plan to sustain it in cash terms between 2012-13 and 2014-15.

In fact, the Scottish Government has a strong and consistent record in funding the bus industry, providing around £250 million each year to support a range of schemes such as the Bus Service Operators Grant, concessionary travel and the Scottish Green Bus Fund.

Donald Carmichael, director of transport policy, Transport Scotland

A prickly nettle needs grasped

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Surely the Scottish Government has to grasp a prickly nettle, and raise the age for concessionary bus entitlement.

When the lowest qualifying age for a state pension is now 62-plus, it seems bizarre that people in Scotland can receive a concessionary bus pass when they become 60. That does not apply in England, where the age for eligibility is tied to the pensionable age for women.

Lothian Buses provides a wonderful local service. Drivers have had to cope with endless changes of route and delays due to the tramworks.

This passenger, for one, cannot thank them enough.

Moyra Forrest, Starbank Road, Edinburgh

Buses will not meet many trams

JOHN M Tulloch (Letters, January 8) need not worry about buses trying to find room at Shandwick Place and St Andrew Street as I don’t think you will see more than two trams on Princes Street at any given time, as it is only one route.

Tom Loughray, Muirhouse Gardens, Edinburgh

Dog mess stinks and must stop

NOW that St Stephen Street has been awarded Scotland’s first World Host accolade, would all dog owners prevent their pets from fouling the pavements and steps?

The street is visited by lots of tourists, and it is not pleasant to be confronted by this ongoing problem.

M Chaplin, Edinburgh

Peat bogs have to be protected

IT IS deeply concerning that some of Scotland’s most vulnerable plant and animal species could be lost after a survey found their natural habitat in the Lothians is on the brink of disappearing as lowland peat bogs in Midlothian and West Lothian are rapidly drying out (News, January 4).

Surely something can be done to ensure animals and plants are not lost to their natural habitat.

It is an absolute must that peat bogs be protected.

June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh