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Reopening St Andrews rail link is vital

Reopening St Andrews rail link is vital

Sir, – I am afraid Mr Chalmers has got it wrong in his letter (September 25); there is clear evidence that the transport access to St Andrews is inadequate.

Whether or notcommuters and tourists elsewhere would be happy with similar arrangements isirrelevant because St Andrews is unique and requires a bespoke solution.

There are the golfers and students, meaning many more journeys in and out of the town than its population alone would indicate and it is clear from the overflowing car park and the empty bus seats that buses and taxis are unacceptable to the half amillion passengers per year who use Leuchars, most of whom are going to and from St Andrews.

For Mr Chalmers’ information, far from jumping on a publicity bandwagon, StARLink was contacted by national media whoconsidered St Andrews to be an obviouscandidate for the next rail reopening.

We are drawing inspiration from the campaign for a Bordersrailway’s success, as we are from Alloa’s.

StARLink welcomes even opposing views, as they give us an opportunity to engage withpeople.

However, it has to be said that detractors seem to be a few lone voices in comparison with the large number of oursupporters.

It should be remembered that the St Andrews branch line was closed in the wake of the opening of the new Forth and Tay Road Bridges, when private motoring was seen as the way ahead.

This is no longer the case, as we now recognise that unfettered car use has resulted in increased traffic congestion, pressure on car-parking spaces and a backlog of road repairs, caused pollution and contributed to climate change.

Add to that the volatility of the price of oil and its diminishing supply, plus the increase in the town’s population and it is clear that the current situation is unsustainable.

However, should Mr Chalmers have an alternative suggestion as to how we can facilitate the conveyance of an increasing number of tourists, commuters, golfers and students in and out of St Andrews which will as effectively decarbonise, decongest and depollute and which would be as readily appealing to these groups as a direct rail link, we should be interested to hear it.

Jane Ann Liston. Convenor, St Andrews Rail LinkCampaign, 5 Whitehill Terrace, Largo Road, St Andrews.

Clarity needed at Tannadice

Sir, – I won’t be shedding any tears about the demise of Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara’s tenure.

He was the most tactfully naive manager we have had at Tannadice since Ian McCall.

His period in charge culminated withSaturday’s haplessdisplay against 10-manSt Johnstone.

It looked like United were a man short not Tommy Wright’s side, who were well organised, defended as a unit, supported the full-backs and pressed the ball as a team.

Jackie’s insistence on playing the same system, after five wins in 29 games, was unbelievable.

However, Stephen Thompson must share the blame for the most frustrating and disappointing period of Dundee United’s recent history.

No one can deny the debt of gratitude the club are due to the Thompson family, beginning with Stephen’s father Eddie who probably let his heart rule his head.

The chairman has done a great job getting the club back on a solid financial footing.

Accepting £5 million for Ryan Gauld and Andy Robertson in the summer of 2014 was an offer too good to turn down and good business but to sell two key players halfway through the season in January to one of our rivals, the day after reaching a major cup final, was unbelievable and totally unacceptable.

This came after the chairman said we didn’t need to sell any more players as the club was debt free.

I am sorry to say that the decision to sell the two lads at that time ripped the heart out of the team and spread despondency through the supporters.

I can say I have never been more disillusioned with my club during this time. It will take time to restore faith with not only the management team but the board.

Is the Australian issue still affecting decisions at Tannadice? A little clarity would go a long way to restore confidence all round.

Kenneth Horne. Gamekeepers Cottage, Teasses Estate, New Gilston.

Fossil fuels can beat poverty

Sir, – I have the greatest respect and admiration for those who have unshakeable faith in an all-seeing God.

Having lived and worked in some of the poorest parts of the world, I fully appreciate the importance of that faith to millions of people who face a daily struggle to survive.

However, I wish those admirable religious leaders would keep themselves out of issues which are, in practice, no more than party-political debates, which generate differing (even hostile) opinions.

For instance, I have the strongest-possible aversion to the current environmental movement, which is causing so much misery.

It is a demonstrable fact that untold thousands of children are dying daily due to diseases such as malaria, cholera and diarrhoea and the root cause is lack of clean water.

In many areas they have adequate supplies of water which can be treated and pumped to where it is needed but this needs large amounts of electricity.

That power could be generated by using the vast reserves of coal available but due to obstructive actions of greens, those communities are not allowed access to their natural resources.

So, if religious leaders are apparently on the side of the environmentalists, then, with all due respect, I beg to ask this simple question: why did God give us all that coal and oil if he didn’t want us to use it?

Jim Parker. 9 Banchory Green, Collydean, Glenrothes.

Pontoon a waste of cash

Sir, – Two articles in The Courier on Saturday show just how out of touch with reality Fife Council is.

The council apparently has a funding black hole of £77 million and will have to cut services yet again.

But on the opposite page was the announcement that against the wishes of local people, Fife Council wants to install a pontoon at North Queensferry’s pier, big enough to allow cruise ships to berth.

This is a totally fanciful suggestion dreamed up by local authority mandarins who have not a clue what they are talking about.

A berth for cruise ships is a facility costing many millions of pounds, needs a terminal and good road connections. They already exist at Rosyth and Leith.

It is about time Fife Council stopped wasting money on such crazy ideas and startedproviding first-classservices.

I am sure we can all come up with examples of money being wasted by the council.

Andrew F. Gilmour. Londive, Montrave Home Farm, Leven.

Fife requires radical solutions

Sir, – David Ross, leader of Fife Council, tells us that his draft budget will be late this year.

There are technical reasons for that but I wonder if there’s another underlying reason? Is he finally reaching the point where he has to propose something radical and new?

The Labour Group’s approach is based on unsound principles. They measure success by the amount of money spent.

They care more about who delivers a service than about the service that’s delivered. And they don’t know how to consult the public.

So we have the council using its scarce money to build new care homes when they know that others would do that for them and then deliver as good a service at a lower cost.

We have an increasing number of unused school places in Fife. But the council made such a mess of the last round ofclosures that it is tooterrified to try again.

The solutions are known. The Conservative Group has proposed them for years and has been ignored or voted down. Putting off the inevitable is like letting the water build up behind the dam. When it does burst, the floods are all the worse.

Cllr Dave Dempsey. Leader, Fife CouncilConservatives, 7 Carlingnose Park, North Queensferry.

EU harmony under threat

Sir, – Germany’s attempt to take in 800,000 migrants is proceeding apace.

In Nieheim, the rental leases of German citizens are being terminated so that migrants can move in.

On September 1,Bettina Halbey, a 51-year-old nurse was evicted from her apartment of 16 years to make room for migrants.

A landlord has evicted dozens of tenants from an apartment building to make way for migrants.

Municipal officials of Hamburg have introduced a bill to seize vacant office buildings and land and use it to house migrants.

In Lubeck, a secondary school for 150 pupils was given one day to close so that migrants could be housed there.

Germany today is again a danger to a peaceful, integrated Europe and in concert with the rest of the European Union, ignores the possibility of a second Islamic religious conquest.

Andrew Lawson. 9 MacLaren Gardens. Dundee.

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