Sir, – Surely it is evident to all that the rail transport infrastructure in Scotland is needing significant assessment and improvement to protect it from the increased risk of landslips caused by rainfall.
The tragic landslip at Carmont, south of Stonehaven, the recent event again close to Carmont, where a bridge parapet collapsed, and a landslip near Tain are indicators action is needed.
Network Rail admitted they did not have the resources to apply solutions to all similar railway cuttings, which may be affected by high rainfalls.
Network Rail is a UK-wide operation and funded by HM Treasury, so you can see that scarce resources can be directed towards high volume transport routes.
The rail operator ScotRail, owned by the Dutch government under the name Abellio, is currently ‘under the cosh’ for reliability.
Much of the reliability issues seem to have been caused by Network Rail’s works on the infrastructure.
One would think and hope that each route has a minimum level of spend to maintain safety levels.
Wouldn’t it be better if both the network and the trains were managed by the same organisation, to allow an optimised operation, reducing needless interruptions?
EU needs a shot in the arm over Covid
Sir, – Independence regularly rears its head, more regrettably during this pandemic period, distracting from the important focus on beating the virus.
Coupled to that, the Scottish Government would intend to seek re-entry into the EU.
Facts, readily available for scrutiny, suggest as an example of vaccination progress, Germany has vaccinated only 1.2 million, Spain 870,000 and France a mere 479,000 of their respective populations.
By comparison the UK has vaccinated more than five times as many.
Given this ponderous and languid approach, had we been fellow EU members many more lives might have been sacrificed needlessly.
The EU is a hierarchical, ponderous entity, and as such is slow to respond to prevailing and needy issues, a matter which we might seriously reflect upon in our future deliberations and decisions.
David L Thomson.
Why the disparity in vaccine rollout?
Sir, – The health practice where I am a patient has been given 100 doses of the Covid vaccine.
That isn’t even a drop in the bucket never mind in the ocean, and they have no idea when they will receive further supply.
What further annoyed me was when a friend in England told me she had been given a second dose. Please someone explain to me why there is such disparity in what is a very serious situation.
Mrs June Reid.
Indy taskforce is not the central problem
Sir, – So wrapped up in her own obsessional angst about Scottish self-governance, Jenny Hjul fails to see how her attack on the SNP’s “independence taskforce” is just plain daft (Courier, January 19).
She tries to persuade us that this SNP campaign demonstrates Scotland’s first minister abandoning the fight against Covid-19, despite no government time, resource or finance being involved.
Hjul’s presentation ignores the announcement last November, when the UK prime minister revealed the British Government had established a “union taskforce”, to destroy support for Scottish independence.
The UK Government’s anti-Scottish independence taskforce reports direct to Downing Street, comprises Scottish and English Tory MPs and presumably involves the time and effort of UK civil servants, all paid for, at least in part, by Scottish taxpayers.
The exact same taxpayers who rejected Brexit and have rejected Tory policies for over half a century.
Jenny Hjul’s inane twists and contortions would be laughable, if her anti-independence rants were not so much verging on the pathological.