Sir, – It appears that the Scottish Government are to push ahead with the licensing of airguns and that 76% of Courier readers who took part in your poll last week are in favour of this.
Have our elected representatives not given any thought to the fact that gun crime in the UK actually rose after the last amendment to the Firearms Act in which handguns were banned?
Do they not realise that criminals intent on using airguns for non-sporting purposes are highly unlikely to take part in a licensing scheme.
Criminals do not abide by the law.
All this act will do is punish law-abiding shooters who will be forced to apply for a licence or give up their chosen pastime.
Far better to spend the enormous cost of this scheme targeting offenders and removing these misused guns from circulation.
Furthermore, Police Scotland have seen fit to reduce the number of Firearm Enquiry Officers (FEO) from 34 to 14 to cover the whole of Scotland.
They have dispensed with 20 experienced civilian individuals and seem to think that 14 people can cover every application and renewal of a shotgun or firearm certificate in Scotland.
As it stands, application and renewal times are already increasing, so imagine the problems that will arise when the alleged 500,000 airguns are subject to a licence.
To combat this, Police Scotland have sent 200 to 300 frontline police officers on a course to provide them with the knowledge to undertake the role of FEO.
So when the 76% of Courier readers that approve of licensing cannot get timely access to police services (as happened to your reader recently in Broughty Ferry where he waited 20 minutes for the call to be answered and then another hour for attendance), remember that your uniformed officer may well be checking that law-abiding citizens are complying with an ill-advised piece of nonsensical legislation devised by the SNP.
Mike Hibberd. 9 Meadowbank Gardens, Wellbank.
Sir, – Several correspondents have in the last week or so, commented on aspects of police duties, particularly with regard to firearms licensing.
With reducing numbers of firearms enquiry officers, it is apparent that certificate renewals are getting ever closer to being issued and received by the recipient nearer to the expirydate than was everexperienced before.
To bring in licensing of air weapons without increasing the number of enquiry officers would lead to the ludicroussituation of having amyriad number of responsible peoplebeing in breach of firearms law through not being in possession of a valid certificate.
Then we have aproposal put forward by an MSP who wants the police to stop drivers who smoke with children in the car.
The police are little able to stop people using mobile telephones while driving, so there’s fat chance of stoppingsmokers with children exposed to nicotine and tar.
I would urge our MSPs to wake up.
We expect those in elected public roles to display a high level of intelligence but I cannot see evidence of that in our Holyrood parliament.
Geoff Bray. 5 Heather Croft, Letham (Angus).
New laws would be ignored
Sir, – I would urge our elected representatives to avoid introducing any more well-meaning but completely useless legislation.
The laws on using mobile telephones while driving were brought in with the best of intentions but these laws areroutinely ignored.
There also appears to be little attempt by the police to enforce the rules.
Banning smoking in vehicles where children are present is the latest wheeze by the Scottish Parliament.
However, before this law is even brought in, Police Scotland aretelling us that enforcement will not be apriority.
Legislation without enforcement is meaningless.
Ian Allan. 5 Marchside, Sauchie.
Keep up gull pressure
Sir, – Congratulations to your paper and to your journalist Paul Reoch (June 22) for exposing the environmentally unacceptable situation caused by the seagull infestation at Inveralmond Industrial Estate in Perth.
The trite and patently impractical suggestions from the Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson show little responsible involvement from the authority that logically would seem to have ultimate control of the situation.
Please do all you can to keep this in the forefront of the authority and elected members’ attention span.
Bob Bruce. Chapelhill Lodge, Logiealmond.
Tackle this flying menace
Sir, – With reference to your article about a call to tackle aggressive gulls in Perth, I have to take issue with Perth andKinross Council.
A spokesperson was quoted as saying the council does not have a statutory duty to take action against gulls.
The statement added that it is illegal to capture, recklessly injure or kill any gull, or destroy an active nest.
But what about Perth and Kinross Council’s duty to protect itscitizens and visitors?
While your article concentrated on Inveralmond, gulls are a major problem for walkers, shoppers and wildlife that dare to use thearea of St Catherine’s retail park and theLade-side area of Perth.
The council’s usual response is to take no responsibility and simply blame the humans for creating the problem in the first place.
Yes it illegal to intentionally or recklesslydisturb the birds at or close to their nest or to disturb their dependent young.
However, the lawrecognises that in certain circumstances control measures may benecessary.
Simple nuisance or minor damage toproperty are not legally sanctioned reasons to kill gulls.
The UK administrations can issue licences permitting nests to be destroyed or even birds to be killed if there is no non-lethal solution, and if it is done to preventserious damage toagriculture, the spread of disease, to preservepublic health and safety and air safety, or to conserve other wild birds.
I would consider that dive-bombing pedestrians, attacking nesting ducks and their eggs, which has been reported to the council in the past, and messing on railingsand fencing meet these criteria.
Bob Ferguson. North Muirton, Perth.
Strathallan ospreys at risk
Sir, – I note with interest the comments (June 22) by Steve Taylor, the man tasked with safeguarding wildlife at T in the Park’s new site at Strathallan Castle.
He states that ospreys “will be capable of flying off at festival time, so they will certainly be capable of looking after themselves”.
I would be interested to know where thisinformation came from.
My understanding of osprey chicks is that they test their wings between six and seven weeks of age by helicoptering above the nest.
Usually by the seven to eight-week stage they are fully fledged.
For at least two weeks after fledging, the young ospreys return to the nest for food brought in by their parents.
They are still, at that stage, fully reliant on their parents for food.
Since the Strathallan chicks were spotted around about June 1,this will make them approximately 40-days old at festival time,therefore, they will be,by my calculation, nest-bound and unable to fend for themselves.
This information is available on the Rutland Osprey Project website.
Marjorie Edgar. 1 Caldwell Acre, Kingskettle.
In defence of Scots farmers
Sir, – Your correspondent Andrew Dundas (June 23) suggestedthat the poor subsidise farmers.
I would dispute this. If, as at present, most crops and farm products are sold at or below the cost of production by the farmer, then appear on the shelves at prices that are too expensive, it is hardly the fault of the farmer.
Costs of production are higher in thiscountry.
Land maintenance and other environmental requirements do cost more than a slash-and-burn type of unsustainable agriculture carried out in some of the large food-producing countries.
Quality assurance and animal welfare also are added costs in thiscountry that are not required in other countries.
Fuel prices in the United Kingdom are some of the highest in the world, which adds to costs.
John Johnston. Annfield Farm, Dunfermline.
Land reform bill an illusion
Sir, – Austerity does not extend towealthy proprietors of Scotland’s salmon angling rights, as the SNP land reform billcontinues the Torypolicy of exemptingsuch owners from paying sporting rates.
Yet a week’s salmon fishing on a majorScottish river can cost up to £30,000 but nocontribution is made towards local authority services.
The land reform bill proposals, published on Tuesday in the Scottish Parliament, make it very difficult for a community body to acquire salmon rights by creating a large number of caveats, in particular, “eligible land which consists of salmon fishings”.
The Scottish National Party is well aware that salmon fishing rights in Scotland are normally sold separately, without any land whatsoever, so such fishings cannot be acquired by a community body.
Thus the ScottishGovernment gives the illusion of community ownership, but thereality is that the status quo will prevail with most Scots still excluded from our rivers and lochs.
When Sir John Sinclair, in 1814, stated of Scotland that: “In no country in Europe are the rights of the proprietors so well defined and so carefully protected”, he could hardly have envisaged that 200 years later, nothing much has changed.
Jim Stewart. 57 Oxgangs Avenue, Edinburgh.