Letters: Replacement bridge is completely unnecessary

Martin Hannan (News, 23 September) asks why, if the Forth Road Bridge is good for “another 50 years, are we spending £1.4 billion on the replacement crossing?”

The short answer, of course, is that the Scottish Government, when they could have waited to see the results of the third internal inspection of the bridge’s main cables, chose instead to sign the contract for the new bridge in the ‘purdah’ period before the Scottish Parliament elections of 2011 - when normally no such action by the government would be allowed.

The main cables have lost ten per cent of their strength, but this third internal inspection showed that the works to arrest this decline had been successful

Indeed, only the other week, one of the world’s leading experts on bridge structures told me that the bridge’s main cables were in “really good” condition.

The Scottish Government, having declared ‘The End is Nigh’ for the current bridge, couldn’t wait to sign the contract for the new bridge. In doing so they took a political decision - one, in my view, not justified by the expert opinion of the world’s leading bridge engineers.

That’s why we now see arising from the Forth the so-called ‘replacement’ crossing.

Lawrence Marshall, Forth Estuary Transport Authority Chair, 2005-2007, ForthRight Alliance, King’s Road, Portobello

Confererence season shows worst of politics

As much as politics interests me, I do so loathe the party conference season, and the battalions of daddy’s boys and mummy’s girls who’ve never held a proper job, and are frankly unemployable outside of honorary directorships and lobby companies, who queue up to tell each other how well they’ve ruled us in the last six months, and hope we fall for their line.

I hate the positive gloss and spin they put on their failures, and the back slapping luvvydom they celebrate on stage - it’s the political equivalent of indecent exposure

David Fiddimore, Calton Road, Edinburgh

It’s time to stop digging up Leith Walk

What a nerve thinking the trams going to Ocean Terminal would increase tourism. Open your eyes - we have the best bus service in the country.

Also if you look at the mess and destruction we have to put up with daily, as some idiot decided we needed huge pavements, big enough to put a marquee on and no island in the middle of the road for safety.

They pulled our trees up and now there’s nothing but a very wide pink lane for buses. It feels as if Leith is always under construction.

As an afterthought, if we want more tourists here, then charge a hotel tax so the authorities could afford to dig up Leith Walk again.

Andrew Forest, Leith Walk, Edinburgh

Edinburgh united in defeat of Rangers

NOW that both Hearts and Hibs have beaten Rangers, thereby helping each other in the quest to return to the Premier League (let’s not kid ourselves, it’s really just the First Division), I would like to see the fans - apart from when they are playing each other, obviously - supporting both teams.

Let’s get both Edinburgh clubs back where they belong.

Come on the Hi-Bees!, come on the Jam Tarts!

Jim Ruxton, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh

£260million on road repairs? That’s nothing

Well, we managed to spend £1billion on the trams and we spent a similar amount on the Scottish parliament, so £260 million on the roads (News, September 29) should be a doddle.

Raymond Ross, Edinburgh (address provided)

Bigger driving fines can plug spending gap

To plug healthcare’s ‘yawning funding gap and increasing costs’ - not least caused by obesity - Ed Miliband is proposing a mansion tax.

To tackle obesity, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence is proposing a ‘TV-free day’ and ‘cycling to school’.

Seven children are killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads every day and the annual cost of these deaths and injuries is £547 million. Accordingly, wouldn’t a better way of raising revenue for the NHS be to increase fines for law breaking drivers? Some estimates put the total cost of UK road casualties at £32billion.

In Denmark and Sweden, where road fatalities per 100,000 motor vehicles are 5.7 and 5.1 respectively, compared to the UK at 6.2, they have earnings-related speeding fines, and cycling is much safer, especially for children, than in the UK.

With so many earning less than a living wage, affordable transport for work is essential and it doesn’t come more affordable than cycling. If we’re going to tax the rich more, then surely first and foremost, make it for breaking the law, (bone-idle/disrespectful parking in disabled-bays and on double yellow lines for sure), not for working hard.

Allan Ramsay, Radcliffe Moor Road, Manchester