Reader letters: Confusing rickshaw rules are putting the passengers at risk

THE recent tragedy involving an Edinburgh rickshaw/pedicab clearly raises numerous safety-related questions, as per your recent leader column (April 6).

There are also several wider issues.

First, the existing licensing legislation doesn't specifically accommodate such vehicles, hence the ad hoc street trader's permits used to regulate them in Edinburgh.

The Act in question is almost 30 years old and the Scottish Executive consulted on change almost a decade ago, but with little sign of significant progress since, despite Holyrood hardly seeming to be over-productive in terms of significant new legislation.

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Second, the local nature of such regulation seems contradictory and unsatisfactory.

In the UK context a quick internet search reveals one local authority stressing the environmental benefits of pedicabs, another refusing licenses on safety grounds, while London mayor Boris Johnson shelved plans to regulate them because of fears that injured passengers could sue the authorities.

Third, the duplication and bureaucracy involved in such matters is both wasteful and confusing to end users.

For example, in recent days councillors in both Dundee and Edinburgh considered markings and signage on private hire cabs – both with attendant consultations, reports and meetings – and the result is differing and, to an extent, contradictory rules.

It's little wonder that members of the public are put at risk by the chaotic and confusing nature of all this, not to mention the currently very pertinent question of wasted resources.

Stuart Winton, Hilltown, Dundee

'Safe seats' mean change is unlikely

ANDREW Murphy says "The people of this country are now being given a chance to say who is right to run our country" (Letters, 7 April).

For Mr Murphy, with an Edinburgh address, that may well be true. But sadly, most electors in Scotland will not have that chance. In 36 of our 59 constituencies the election is already over.

How so? Because these 36 constituencies are "safe seats" where any change of party is most unlikely. So 60 per cent of the Scottish electorate – that's more than two million of us – will have no effective say in who will run the UK.

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We need to change that – and urgently. So ask every candidate what plans they have to change the UK voting system so that your vote will count.

You deserve nothing less, no matter where you live.

James Gilmour, East Parkside, Edinburgh

Make the graffiti artists clean it up

I AM sick of seeing public property daubed with graffiti.

Every time a building is painted it is vandalised. It is as if the same people are doing it.

It seems to happen a lot in the Old Town area. There is a club on Holyrood Road. It was painted and looked great. Within days it was covered in graffiti. Now it is a terrible eyesore.

If the people who keep making a mess and defacing buildings were caught I would make them clean the mess they made.

If these idiots like drawing on public buildings why don't they go to art college? Have they got nothing better to do with their time?

Stephanie Wint, Holyrood, Edinburgh

Homeowners want low energy bills

HOMES for Scotland's claim that energy saving regulations will lead to a dip in new house building (Green building standards 'will slow city's growth', 7 April) is myopic nonsense.

In the current era of sky-rocketing energy bills, homeowners welcome any measures to help them cut costs. Better insulation and airtightness can be achieved for a tiny fraction of the overall build cost, and this investment is paid back through lower fuel bills – usually in a matter of months.

Our current building standards have still not risen to the standard introduced in Sweden in 1978. To suggest that Scotland should remain more than 30 years behind the best in Europe betrays a shocking lack of ambition.

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Chas Booth, senior press and parliamentary officer, Association for the Conservation of Energy, Mansfield Traquair Centre, Mansfield Place , Edinburgh