Sir, – It was with some surprise I read Councillor Laurie Bidwell’s comments regarding the report coming to the education committee concerning school crossing patrollers.
Not only did Councillor Bidwell first see this report six months ago long before the rest of my administration colleagues he had an input into what it said.
The background to this is that four years ago I moved at council the creation of the School Parking Group.
The group looks at parking at every Dundee school to see how we can improve parking around schools to ensure our pupils’ safety.
Councillor Bidwell is the Labour group’s representative on the group.
One of the issues was, of course, school crossing patrollers.
We wanted to ensure we had as many as we needed and that they were where they were needed.
We now have more school crossing patrollers than we did.
However, we wanted to ensure a fair system on where school crossing patrollers patrol.
We have taken the system used in Edinburgh and modified it for Dundee.
Had we not done this, the threshold for school crossing patrollers would have been too high.
This criteria was agreed by the school parking group, including Councillor Bidwell.
One of the results of this is that there were six areas that did not have a school crossing patroller that were assessed as needing one.
They now do.
Councillor Bidwell’s comments in your story are at odds with everything he has said in the school parking group.
The irony is that the school parking group is a great example of cross-party working, where politics goes out of the window and we work collectively for the benefit of young people in the city. I believe there should be more of this in the council.
Councillor Bidwell’s comments show he is willing to sacrifice all of this good work for a few headlines.
I don’t find that acceptable.
Councillor Stewart Hunter, Convener of Education, City Chambers, City Square, Dundee.
Town is more than just Madras
Sir, – Councillor David Ross puts his finger on the nub of the matter when he says (Council to pour more moneyinto Madras, March 23) that the Pipeland site is the only one that “meets the aspirations of pupils and teachers”.
Exactly so. Pupils and teachers.
No concern about other St Andreans, who might wish to see their green belt preserved; or the wider north-east Fife community, who may wish to see their council held accountable in law; or town centre traders who see yet more custom diverted to the supermarkets.
I am not a St Andrean, though I did work there before my retiral and still have many friends there, and I visit two or three times every week, so the decision will affect me.
No one who visits St Andrews regularly can have any doubt about the impact of school traffic, and I imply no criticism of the invariably courteous and friendly seniors I meet in the town centre or the invariably polite and respectful juniors I meet in Largo Road.
Their animated chatter and smiling faces brighten even the greyest morning.
This decision goes beyond the school and beyond St Andrews, and as council leader Mr Ross should be looking at a broader picture than pupils and teachers.
Laurie Richards, 100 Crail Road, Cellardyke.
Need to strike a welfare balance
Sir, – Beverley Burns (Letters, March 24) makes an oft-repeated error in her assumptions.
Jobs are not created by spending more and more of our GDP helping the “disadvantaged”.
There is a balance to be struck by any responsible government.
Currently, the UK spends more than 16% of GDP on welfare payments, but only 2% on unemployment benefit.
Reduction in un-employment equates to the need for tax cuts so the employed will be better off working than being unemployed.
The whole of Europe has been conned into lavish welfare benefits by highly vocal pressure groups.
In times past, it was families of the disadvantaged who had to bear a share of the responsibility for looking after family members.
Now it seems that this responsibility has largely been passed to the state and the taxpayer.
We created an out of control juggernaut during the Labour Government years.
Time to now correct the balance.
Derek Farmer, Knightsward Farm, Anstruther.
Cupar has more nursery schools
Sir, – While it is very unfortunate that Mayfield Playfield is closing for personal reasons (“Child care concerns over nursery closure, March 22), and the Little Beehive (formerly Busy Bees) is leaving Elmwood campus, it is simply not the case there will be only one nursery in Cupar.
For Willie Rennie to assert this is simply wrong and it is disappointing your reporter did not look further into this situation.
Anyone who knows Cupar knows it is well served by the local authority-run Westfield nursery, which now has Family Nurture Centre status, offering care 52 weeks per year.
Children are funded for 16.5 hours per week and parents can choose when in the week they use this service.
Westfield is complemented by several playgroups delivering nursery-level education and care.
As Carrie Lindsay, Fife Council’s head of education and children’s services, pointed out in your report, there is adequate provision at Westfield for any children who will no longer be able to attend the two privately-run nurseries that are closing.
Your story, and Mr Rennie’s claims, are misleading.
It may very well be the case that there will now be less nursery provision for those requiring a full day, but these services were only used by a minority and anyone requiring daytime cover can benefit from excellent wrap-around services organised between the playgroups and Westfield.
Hilary Green, Crossgate, Cupar.
Longannet’s closure a crime
Sir, – The closure of Longannet Power Station today is a crime against the Scottish economy.
Longannet generated 2.4Gw of base load electricity in all seasons and all weathers.
No number of wind turbines, generating electricity only when the wind blows, will be enough to replace that.
In years to come we will suffer brown-outs and black-outs because of this decision and the Climate Change Act that led to it.
Otto Inglis, 6 Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh.
The unreliability of renewables
Sir, – Scotland’s last coal-fired power station has closed after nearly 50 years in operation.
Scotland will be left with unreliable renewable energy, will have to import more electricity from England, and there is a real risk of brownouts and even total blackouts.
An expert said: “This is a body blow to Scotland’s hope of remaining self-sufficient in energy generation.”
However, up pops Lang Banks of WWF Scotland with the sound-bite: “The world is moving forward to cleaner, cheaper forms of renewable energy generation.”
Does he live in a green bubble?
Scotland only has 0.13% of global emissions. China and India plan to open 2,400 coal-fired electricity plants.
There are already more than 5,000 in operation world-wide.
The world currently depends on fossil fuels to provide 87% of its energy use.
Those who support WWF should demand Lang Banks is sacked since he spends too much time writing letters and articles and not enough time on his day job.
Clark Cross, 138 Springfield Road, Linlithgow.
Perth pollution problem persists
Sir, – The problem of pollution in Atholl Street and Bridgend, Perth, is going to be much worse than I first thought if any further housing in Scone and north and west in Balbeggie and Guildtown is allowed before the new Tay Crossing is actually built.
There has been recent publicity about new housing in Balbeggie and Guildtown and there are now also the 50 McCarthy & Stone flats at Bridgend no doubt with car parking for each owner plus staff and visitors.
While I have no objection to that, is anyone in the planning authority going to give real consideration to the increase in pollution if even 100 houses are built in Scone North, let alone the 100 houses proposed for Scone South?
There is already a concentration of elderly residents in the Bridgend area, including Gladstone Court, Isla Court and Strathmore Street to name but three.
No doubt many of these elderly residents already suffer from heart and lung problems and to add to this by permitting further traffic pollution is verging on being negligent, if not judicially unsound.
The local authority (and developers and land owners) have a duty of care, the same as everyone else, and I sincerely believe that to allow any further development of any size before the existence of the Tay Crossing might well give food for thought to some ambulance-chasing lawyers.
John D. Ridley, Spoutwells Drive, Scone.
Time for a fair deal for farmers
Sir, – There were two headlines on the farming page of yesterday’s Courier that caught my eye.
The first was “Farmers see incomes halved in grim figures”, the second was “Yara (fertiliser manufacturer) welcomes £50m (to £883m) boost to pre-tax profits”, I do not think further comment is needed.
I would also like to ask consumers if they have noticed a reduction in the price of beef in the shops over the last year?
I suspect the answer will be no, despite there being an approximate reduction of 9% in the price received by farmers.
John Johnston, Annfield Farm, Dunfermline.