Time for Jenny to change her message

Sir, Jenny Hjul is at it again (January 9), having another go at Prince Charles for expressing his concerns about climate change.

She insists that “ordinary folk have little patience for the whole sustainability charade” and believes that the “recession has reduced the expensive global warming industry to the peripheries”.

Once again, she is indulging in wilful blindness. Shemust know that green technology represents one of the few growth areas in our economy. She seems to believe that “the Earth stopped hotting up around the millennium”, but can she really have missed the news about the shrinking of the Arctic sea ice to its smallest extent in September?

Surely she heard about the unprecedented flooding in the UK last year, with England having its wettest year on record. There was also the little matter of Superstorm Sandy which finally made climate change a decisive issue in the US Presidential Election, after destroying lives and livelihoods in New York and New Jersey. Typhoon Bopha also attracted some headlines after killing over 300 people in the Philippines in October. And just as Ms Hjul’s latest article appeared, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology added new colours to its weather maps to show temperatures over 50 degrees celsius, after several days of record high temperatures resulting in catastrophic bush fires across SE Australia.

If Ms Hjul really thinks “it is only the privileged few who can afford to embrace green ideology these days” she ought to try to tell that to some of the evacuees in New South Wales or New York or parts of England who have lost their homes as a result of destructive weather events. Catastrophic climate change is not just a concern for our grandchildren, it is with us already, and virtually all scientists around the world recognise we need to take urgent action to try and prevent it getting much worse. She’s the one who needs to change her message.

Andrew Llanwarne. Co-ordinator, Friends of the Earth Tayside, 8 Glasclune Way, Broughty Ferry.

New force off to farcical start

Sir Regarding your article on the police (January 9), it seems to me the new police force for my country, Scotland, is getting off to a rather farcical start. Firstly, I believe the chairman of the new Police Authority should concentrate on studying the Act of Parliament, terms of reference, rules and regulations for the new force and leave the hiring and firing of staff to the new chief constable.

Secondly, a top-heavy organisation always leads to financial waste, bureaucracy, in-fighting, incompetence and low morale. It seems to me that this is happening 32 police commanders, one for each local authority. Doing/costing/needing what? Three police areas, 14 police divisions?

So, the new chief constable arrives at his office at, say, 9am. The phone rings. It is the first call from 32 commanders, three area commanders and fourteen divisional commanders. Plus the national roads unit commander and all the other important police detection and special operational heads. What a mess!

I would suggest the 14 divisions alone are sufficient, each reporting to the chief constable. Each divisional commander can liaise with the local authorities in the divisional area. A ‘Montgomery’ type of liaison officer system could be employed. Special to purpose units would report directly to the chief constable’s office.

A T Geddie. 68 Carleton Avenue, Glenrothes.

PRI car park nightmare

Sir, I dropped my wife off at Perth Royal Infirmary recently for an appointment before trying to park the car in the hospital grounds. It was well-nigh impossible, with a queue of cars stationary at the entrance.

Every time I go there, the car park is full, with cars waiting for a space. The approach to it is narrow, winding and steep, with cars, presumably belonging to staff, passing the queue on the right to proceed to their car parks. The manoeuvre is itself dangerous, since they could meet visitors’ cars leaving.

The whole site is difficult to negotiate, with narrow, winding roads everywhere and very little room to pass. Buses, taxis and ambulances mingle with the cars.

The exit on to the main road is also a problem. The road is narrow and very busy, yet cars are allowed to park directly opposite the exit.

If all the cars parked at PRI are staff, visitors’ or patients’ cars, then the car park is too small. I do not know what the answer is, but perhaps the chance for solving the problem was lost when so much new housing was permitted a few years ago in the immediate vicinity of the hospital.

That ground, previously grassland, could have been put to better use as a car-park for the convenience and safety of patients, visitors and staff at PRI.

We are fortunate in being only occasional visitors to the infirmary. I shudder to think of the problems facing those who have to attend more frequently!

George K McMillan. 5 Mount Tabor Avenue, Perth.

A far better use of our troops

Sir, Since 1960 more than $1trillion in aid has gone into sub-Saharan Africa and the only indisputable economic consequence is that the GDP per capita in the region has fallen. Yet I was howled down in the courts of the Kirk every time I argued as an economist that such aid fostered dependency, encouraged corruption and perpetuated poverty.

The EU swallows a third of all our aid funds even though Clare Short admitted it ran “the world’s worst development agency and its operations were an outrage and a disgrace”. Lavish budgets boost the vanity of politicians and celebrities and allow our self-righteous aid industry high salaries, perks, first-class travel and jamborees at five-star resorts.

Our armed forces are far better at running emergency operations and it would be more productive to use the troops and their aircraft there than in Afghanistan.

Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.