Sir, – Many parties favour a rail link to St Andrews but the main questions are who is going to pay for it and how would it be of benefit?
It seems to me most of those in favour of the rail link want it to be publicly funded, however, I believe that would be wrong as there are countless ways in which public funds can be better spent such as the NHS, social work and education.
I believe that, instead of a rail link to St Andrews with trains only stopping at one single destination in the town and running to several other towns, it would be better if a new tram line was installed to run between Leuchars Station and St Andrews.
St Andrews attracts many wealthy people from the USA and elsewhere regularly visiting the town to play golf.
There are, no doubt, some rich entrepreneurs such as Donald Trump and Richard Branson and others who may be willing to form a consortium to build a tram line on condition they get to keep all future proceeds.
Surely that would be preferable to spending tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money and taking on the substantial business risk associated with such a project?
Also, there may be one or more entrepreneur who, in addition to funding a tram line, may also wish to invest in the construction of a hotel or a restaurant where the tram would stop at?
Perhaps a plan could be drawn up to start a tram service at Leuchars Station and then stop at St Andrews town centre, with other stops right outside the university, golf courses and also stops beside some of the upmarket hotels in the town?
That would eliminate the need for visitors to St Andrews to take taxis or buses to their eventual destination and encourage greater use of the new facility, thus making it commercially viable. Trams are also a very safe, modern and green form of transport.
If a project is publicly funded (as was the case with the recent Edinburgh trams) costs can run out of control.
When this happens the inevitable outcomes are delays in completion and a steep rise in the costs.
By contrast if, a major project is privately funded, there is nothing for the public to worry about.
Kenneth Brannan. 42 Greenlee Drive, Lochee.
Time to raise council tax
Sir, – I am very concerned about the possible cuts to sheltered housing with regard to the wardens.
The very name sheltered means residents are cared for and looked after at a time in their lives when they need care.
I am aware that among many other roles the wardens fulfil is that they help to run social events in sheltered housing lounges.
These are so beneficial to people on their own because they can meet other residents and they make a considerable difference to their quality of lives.
There is no doubt in my view that the Scottish Government system of self-directed support is having a disastrous effect on some services such as day-care centre places, home helps and sheltered housing as it has led to the individual being more important than the collective need and sheltered housing emphasises the community aspect to the benefit of all who live there.
It is clear to me that Angus Council is strapped for cash, so a simple solution would be for the Scottish Government to give councils more freedom to raise the council tax which has been frozen for years.
I am sure Angus residents, if they look to the future and their own old age, would deem this a sensible way of ensuring we have the care facilities we need.
Avril Simpson. Field Studio, Welton Corner, Forfar.
Severe weather harms millions
Sir, – Clark Cross (December 1) is simply wrong.
Every academy of science in the world agrees that human activities are the primary cause of global warming.
Scientists from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have repeatedly highlighted the massive risks we are taking with people and the planet.
What politicians in Paris discuss and agree is important, but what matters most is that climate commitments are actually turned into action.
With a strong climate movement holding politicians to account, we can move towards a better world, where we protect millions from misery and chaos, and a better Scotland, where we have warmer homes, healthier transport options, cleaner air and a successful green economy.
If Mr Cross had been at Scotland’s Climate March on Saturday he would have heard Voltaire Alferez, an inspirational climate advocate from the Philippines, talking about the effect that climate change is already having on people who are simply not able to adapt to more frequent and more severe weather events – exactly what is predicted in many regions of the world as global average temperatures increase.
Perhaps Mr Cross should spend some time listening to people who are already suffering the effects of climate change.
Gail Wilson. Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh.
Sir, – This week we have world leaders in their hundreds plus their entourages converging on Paris for yet more discussion on the issue of global warming and the reduction of carbon emissions.
We have been witnessing the same debate for the past 20 years.
Surely the root cause of the global-warming phenomenon is the worldwide growth of human population.
This growth destroys rain forests, the lungs of our planet, to create space for living and food production. It results in increased levels of energy consumption and of manufacturing in the developing economies, to meet increasing consumer demand from growing populations.
It changes the supply/demand ratio of world commodity prices and contributes to global impoverishment and starvation for people unable to meet the increasing cost of food.
At the same time, our medical science ensures that human lifespans are increasing as infant mortality rates decrease.
Derek Farmer. Knightsward Farm, Anstruther.
Beneficial global warming
Sir, – I agree with Dr Charlie Scrimgeour (December 1) that the world is gently warming and levels of CO2 rising but, unlike him, I think this is beneficial, making life more pleasant for crops and humanity.
CO2 fertilises plants and emissions from fossil fuels have already increased crop yields by around 15% while the wild places of the Earth in recent decades have become greener.
In fact, it also increases plants’ water-use efficiency, making them more resilient to drought, so there is a double benefit for crops production in arid parts of the world.
The current value of such natural fertilisation on global crop production is $150 billion a year and this additional production has reduced hunger and advanced human wellbeing.
Unlike the claims of future global-warming disasters, these benefits are being felt now and green hysterics cannot hide the vast improvement in the lives of the world’s poor.
Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.
Give elderly a holiday in sun
Sir, – A new phrase has been coined at the Paris climate conference: climate refugee.
These are people who flee harsh climatic conditions in the own countries for hospitality in more temperate climes.
As temperatures hit freezing in Scotland on their way to predicted record lows this winter, some of our elderly residents living in poorly-insulated houses should consider fleeing to more temperate climes as climate refugees.
I am sure if they turned up on the doorstep of some island paradise they would be welcomed with open arms and given free accommodation for the winter.
Charles Wilson. King’s Road, Rosyth.
Politics of intolerance
Sir, – That Sophia Coyle could be a top SNP candidate on one of the regional lists at May’s election is worrying.
She pits against stem-cell research, abortion, same-sex marriage and religion being given exemption from the equality act.
And all this is because of her religious belief.
Putting this before the rights others is unacceptable. Ms Coyle has made her mind up how she intends to represent her constituents: it is through her church.
Spencer Fildes. Scottish Secular Society, 58a Broughton Street, Edinburgh.