Sir, – Jim Crumley’s unbalanced opinion piece (January 19) gives a distorted view of the countryside and those who look after it.
The RSPB report to which Mr Crumley refers omits the good news that raptor persecution is in long term decline.
Official statistics show that poisoning incidents involving birds of prey fell from 19 in 2009-10 and 24 in 2010-11 to four in 2012-13 and six in 2013-14.
This decrease is down to the hard work of the countryside community and partnership working through groups like the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW Scotland) which is delivering welcome reductions in a range of wildlife crimes, including poaching, hare coursing and raptor persecution.
Subsequently his comments about Scottish biodiversity are unjustified.
Land that is managed for shooting is rich in biodiversity and habitat.
People who shoot are passionate conservationists who carry out the equivalent of 3,900 full-time jobs (unpaid) worth of conservation labour (PACEC Report 2014).
BASC strives for high standards in all aspects of shooting and its associated land management activities and we will not tolerate the small number of individuals who feel that breaking the law and killing protected birds is acceptable.
However, biased opinion pieces undermine the hard work that is being done to eradicate persecution.
Nicolle Hamilton. Press and Policy Officer, The British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Trochry, Dunkeld.
Come up with cycle solutions
Sir, – Unsurprisingly, Clark Cross, with another anti-cyclist rant (January 13), yet again side-tracked my proposal to make cycling safer and more accessible by painting cycle paths on key pavements.
For some bizarre reason, he seems to be of the misconception that cycling is associated with affluence and that cyclists would be willing to contribute £80 towards his idea of “building expensive but safe facilities”.
Perhaps Mr Cross should take a drive (clearly he does not cycle) out of his leafy Linlithgow and into the real depths of depression around some areas of Dundee.
There he would find that unlike the comfort he enjoys, with health issues aplenty, such people can barely afford to live never mind contribute £80 for the pleasure of pedal power.
How many cyclists/families would be required to contribute towards the expensive facilities and what facilities would Mr Clark propose to encourage individuals to use their cycles for everyday living like our continental friends?
While Mr Cross somehow believes that I am part of the global green brigade, the reality is that I am an experienced businessman who has clocked up around 40,000 motoring miles per year.
Rather than continuous negativity, it would be more appropriate for Mr Cross or others to propose alternative low-cost solutions to increasing cycle use in Dundee.
Trevor White. 45 Albany Terrace, Dundee.
Doubts over house prices
Sir, – I was astonished to read that the Yourmove/Acadata study reported that house prices in Scotland are galloping ahead of the UK (January 20).
This is diametrically opposite to the Nationwide Building Society’s quarterly house-price index report.
Nationwide reports that in the year to December 2015, Wales, Northern Ireland and 10 distinct regions of England all showed increases in average house prices.
Only Scotland showed a decrease.
They are clearly using very different methods of gathering and processing data but one of them must be wrong.
My instinct is to trust Nationwide, well respected for its commitment to remain mutual, the largest building society in the world and the third-largest mortgage provider in the UK.
Richard Sloan. 267 Perth Road, Dundee.
New bins are waste of cash
Sir, – On January 13 you published news that Perth and Kinross Council is planning to remove all large 240-litre refuse bins and to replace them with one 140-litre bin in an effort to cut costs and increase recycling.
At the same time the council verified that the frequency of collections would not change.
On January 19 you published a picture of Perth and Kinross Council leader Ian Miller to accompany a story about the slashing of £22.5 million from the council budget over three years, including £7.3m for 2016-17.
Mr Miller claimed that the authority was as “lean and mean as we possibly can be”.
The council is to finally decide its budget on February 11.
I have made inquiries with the council’s environmental department to find out just how much this bin replacement is going to cost.
I was told that the figure was unknown to the department but that council HQ might know the full cost.
I was told that new 140-litre bins will cost about £30 each and that about half of the old 240-litre bins might be found to be too old and would be scrapped and that the remainder would be refurbished.
I believe our council could save a great deal of money by leaving things as they are.
If householders are given smaller bins and these bins are only emptied once a fortnight, it is obvious they will soon overflow and householders will require to visit the nearest recycling area, which might be many miles away, where their extra rubbish will eventually end up in the same landfill site anyway.
Councillor Alexander Stewart has said he has concerns the bin replacement, which has apparently been tested in some areas of Perth, may not be so well received in many other areas. He is correct.
Major Colin B. Innes. Inchlaggan, Ardoch, Murthly.
Drug resistance threat to world
Sir, -The growth in multi-antibiotic resistance in bacteria is terrifying.
In China there has been a discovery of a bacterium resistant to the last-resort antibiotic Colistin.
A world without effective antibiotics does not bear thinking about.
Routine surgery would suddenly become life threatening.
A great many operations that greatly improve the quality of patients’ lives for example hip replacements would not be carried out.
How many of our children grow to adulthood without once being treated with antibiotics?
Without those medicines, how many of them might have died of currently curable infections?
When one species of bacterium has achieved resistance to a particular antibiotic, the resistance soon spreads by horizontal gene transfer to other species. It also spreads internationally.
Here in Britain, we have both major pharmaceutical companies and many world-class university research departments.
It is time that we removed public funding from climate change related studies and invested it instead in anti-bacterial research.
Otto Inglis. 6 Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh
. We need cross-border dialogue
Sir, – Scottish Secretary David Mundell is right to attempt to “reboot” the relationship between Holyrood and Westminster.
Virtually every time Ruth Davidson asks Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister’s question time when she will next meet with David Cameron, Ms Sturgeon jumps up to respond that no meeting is planned.
Why not? The nationalist leader is fond of demanding anything and everything from the Prime Minister, except for open communication.
Ms Sturgeon and Mr Cameron have something in common of vital importance to all of us: the running of Scotland.
And who knows? A couple of hours together every fortnight could improve mutual understanding.
It might even help minimise the SNP’s relentless them-and-us rhetoric. Come on Ms Sturgeon, put aside the politics of grievance.
Martin Redfern. 4 Royal Circus, Edinburgh.
Scotland has more than oil
Sir, – As BP announced it was to lay off hundreds of workers, those against Scottish independence went into overdrive.
Combined with sympathy and concern for the families, was the delight at attacking the SNP and highlighting how lucky Scotland had been to have rejected independence.
According to some, the economy of an independent Scotland would have suffered meltdown.
This might have been if Scotland’s economy rested solely on oil. We do not and even without oil, Scotland’s GDP per head is less than 1% lower than the rest of the UK’s.
We are fortunate to possess oil wealth which has, over the last 40 years, been both through periods of feast and famine.
Alex Orr. 77 Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh.