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Cyclists should pay towards road costs

Should cyclists be made to pay for road use?
Should cyclists be made to pay for road use?

Sir, – Your correspondent Viv Wright is quite right to complain of off-road cyclists and their disregard for those in the way of their self- proclaimed right to speed.

This blatant disregard for the rules is not just by off-road cyclists but also applies to many who cycle on the roads, refuse to use cycle paths and some who even cycle on pavements.

These rogues have helmets and gloves and padding to protect themselves whereas the poor pedestrian has none.

This visible but large minority do a disservice to those who do obey the Highway Code and do not crash red lights or charge through pedestrian crossings.

The biggest argument from motorists is that cyclists pay nothing towards the roads, cycle paths or cycle-related expenditure.

The cost is more than £4 million most years in Scotland.

There is a solution.

If people can afford a bicycle and expensive equipment then they can afford to contribute towards infrastructure.

The Government should pass legislation demanding shops that sell bicycles and equipment should add a 10% levy which will be paid over to it for the cycling infrastructure.

Clark Cross.

138 Springfield Road,


Inaction over Perth’s plight

Sir, – I was furious when I read John Bullough, chairman of Perth City Development Board, had called for the public to stop criticising councillors and come up with suggestions to get Perth back on its feet.

There is no one more interested than myself in seeing Perth filling its empty shops and getting itself back on the map.

I do not know how many people have written with suggestions but I, for one, have taken the time with three sensible suggestions which appeared in this paper about two weeks ago and yet nothing has been done.

Norma Farquharson.
The Horn,


Ramblers’ holiday saved

Sir, – I would like to thank The Courier for the help given to Angus Disabled Ramblers.

Your story enabled us to get a vital driver for our holiday to Aviemore and meant we did not have to cancel it.

The driver was very helpful and nice and I hope he enjoyed himself. We all enjoyed his company and we had a brilliant holiday.

Pat Huband.
Angus Disabled Ramblers,
2a Dronley Avenue,


Time to rethink bullfighting?

Sir, – Following the death of a bullfighter in Spain, will the EU now ban bullfighting citing the fact that the bull’s actions were in breach of the matador’s human rights which allow him to kill a defenceless animal?

Alan Walker.
Struan Hall,


Currency contenders

Sir, – Interestingly Sir Nicholas Ferguson, who during the independence referendum decried an independent Scotland having any use or association with the pound sterling, now supports the idea of an independent Scotland having its own currency.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a national competition to name any such Scottish currency?

It could be exciting and create a good deal of interest in the idea.

For example, it could be called a muckle and the pennies could be called a puckle. After all, mony a puckle maks a muckle.

Brian Rattray.
124/2 Gylemuir Road,


Servicemen were willing

Sir, – As a member of the armed forces in the 1950s at the time of the nuclear tests (July 9), I well remember volunteering for these tests in response to a request on daily orders.

By the grace of God I was not selected.

It was made perfectly clear that these were tests, on us as well as the weapons, and volunteers were offered extra pay as far as I can recall, but memory may be a bit more vague here.

Such requests were not uncommon, and appeared from the chemical warfare establishment at Porton Down, with similar rewards, throughout my 40-year career.

I am not saying there were no participants who were not perfectly clear what was going on, but it was not the norm.

Remember, this was in the days of National Service and anything happening in the armed forces was quickly known to every family in the land, from the mansion to the maisonette.

I suspect some unwilling National Servicemen may be looking back with less than rose-tinted spectacles.

Laurie Richards.
100 Crail Road,


Protecting our young people

Sir, – We share the concerns of many over the fact that over the past years more than 20 children and young people have been turned away from Dudhope Young People’s Unit, a specialist mental health unit in Dundee, due to the lack of beds and staff (July 9).

Indeed, we wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Health in May highlighting the fact that only eight of the 12 beds were occupied due to staffing issues.

The issue of a lack of mental health facilities in Scotland, and the need to provide adequate staffing levels, is one we have raised with the Scottish Government already.

This includes the fact there are only 46 beds in Scotland, no secure beds at all and no specialist mental health units north of Dundee.

Situations such as this are forcing an increasing number of vulnerable children and young people to often travel hundreds of miles for treatment, or they are being treated in adult wards, unsuitable to their requirements.

We are facing an increasing number of children and young people being referred with mental health problems, so a situation such as this clearly does not help.

The appointment of a mental health minister and an additional £150 million in expenditure over the next five years is to be greatly welcomed, but it should be noted that less than 0.5% of the NHS budget is spent on child and adolescent mental health services.

However, half of all diagnosable mental health problems start before the age of 14, highlighting the importance of prevention and early intervention.

We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to ensure our vulnerable young people get the care and support they need.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition.
91 George Street,


Prepare for real austerity

Sir, – As predicted by the Government, the Bank of England and just about everybody else, there will be tax rises and spending cuts to recoup the immediate economic damage caused by the Brexit vote, and that is before the EU even begins to inflict further pain on Britain to show other member states what happens to those with similar ambitions.

A good start might be to cancel HS2, and our foreign aid budget, by pleading the poverty that is about to become genuine.

Malcolm Parkin.
15 Gamekeepers Road,


MPs can vote down Brexit

Sir, – British democracy gives the role of decision-making to the people’s representatives and not to a simple majority in a referendum, otherwise we would still have capital punishment.

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty allows a member state to withdraw “in accordance with its own constitutional requirements” and in the UK that is the approval of Parliament.

Referendums are inappropriate for complex decision-making and at the very least need to be circumscribed and incorporated into a written constitution.

We rely on an elected Government, subject to checks and balances and responsible to Parliament, whose members vote according to conscience.

The only solution to this fiasco is for voters to remind their MPs that Parliament is sovereign and ask them to right this wrong and to vote down Brexit.

The Rev Dr John Cameron.
10 Howard Place,
St Andrews.