READERS’ LETTERS

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What our readers have been writing about this week

blues

Sir, – After seeing the recently produced leaflet encouraging locals to visit our green spaces, my family visited all the woods managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

I think your readers would be shocked and appalled at the mis-management of Luggiebank wood. I would be amazed if the Kingfishers are still present. The trout which are said to leap here, there was also no sign of. I have never in my life seen so much fly tipping in a public park/reserve.

Cumbernauld Glen and forest wood also suffer from a lack of public bins. The bins which are there overflow from a lack of some one being responsible.

It belies belief that a leaflet encouraging people to go has been produced without someone checking the woods first. Parkland not managed by the wild life fund in Cumbernauld such as the community park also suffer from a lack of bins.

Locals need to take their own rubbish home, but the council must also be more responsible in dealing with rubbish disposal in local areas. – Yours etc.,

MRS E. ROSS

via e-mail

Waves such a waste

Sir, – The money North Lanarkshire Council needlessly expended on the wasteful waves could have been more fittingly spent on the much more appropriate, much needed and long overdue ‘Welcome to Cumbernauld’ improvement – the Bus Station (Central Way stances). – Yours etc.,

ANDREW STEPHEN

Chairman/Secretary

Cumbernauld Commuters’ Association

Healthy

progress?

Sir, – I would like to update your readers on the progress of the action committee formed to oppose the reduction of practice treatment room service proposed by NHS Lanarkshire.

The action committee initiated by the Scottish Socialist Party, and made up of elected members from a cross-section of political parties, includes both service users and residents of Cumbernauld.

The action committee successfully reversed NHS Lanarkshire’s previous decision to withdraw any practice treatment room service from Kildrum Health Centre. However the action committee see this as only a minor concession, compared with the major cuts in service proposed by the NHS throughout the new town.

The action committee believe NHS Lanarkshire have formulated these proposals without any consideration on the impact to the communities they serve and without genuine consultation with interested parties.

Tim Davison, chief executive, NHS Lanarkshire has declined the action committee’s request to meet with him, stating no requirement in view of their change of heart regarding Kildrum.

The action committee is committed to defending any cut in practice treatment room provision wherever this may be in Cumbernauld, and therefore will write again to Mr Davison to request a meeting to discuss our concerns.

The action committee will continue to fight to defend valuable services from NHS cuts alongside any threat to public services that attack both workers and service users services and conditions.

If you wish any further information or wish to be involved please e-mail: andy.locke57@gmail.com – Yours etc.,

ANDY LOCKE

Secretary, ‘Save Cumber-nauld Practice Treatment Rooms’ action committee

Proper bus station needed

Sir, – What we have in Cumbernauld is not a bus station, but bus stops. You just need to visit various towns a lot smaller than Cumbernauld throughout Central Scotland to see what a bus station looks like.

We have had to put up with this situation for decades now and I find it suspicious that we are seeing these intended so- called improvements when elections are due soon.

As for the improvements themselves, it is ridiculous that NLC are even thinking of this when we should have a proper bus station. There are plenty of derelict areas around the Town Centre, and we all know where they are, that could be utilised for this amenity if NLC put their mind to it.

The Labour-run council will say they have not any money for a bus station but perhaps if they added all the money wasted on wave lights, statues etc together, it would have been possible.

There is also the safety aspect of having these bus stops on the main road through Cumbernauld where buses have to stop and pull out in front of through traffic causing motorists to slow down or stop.

So please do not waste any more of our council tax on more fancy lights and give us a proper bus station which is long overdue by the people of Cumbernauld. – Yours etc.,

JOHN K. McCRAE

Morar Drive

Condorrat

Space invaders

Sir, – Recently there have been letters about abuse of disabled parking spaces on the rooftop car park in Cumbernauld Town Centre.

The same abuse is also prevalent at Croy Railway Station especially when parents are waiting on the children returning from school in Glasgow, usually around 4pm, where parents park in these clearly defined bays.

Also, on many occasions buses are parked across the first three disabled parking bays to the left side of the station buildings, often with no sign of the driver in his cab, as they await the arrival of trains and their own departure time. The siting of the bus stop at the station means this is a regular occurrence and it also blocks access to the other car parking spaces to that side of the station.

On the morning of November 9, a taxi, North Lanarkshire Licensed No. 842 was also parked in one of these bays to the right side of the station booking office, driver sitting in the car, from before 10.50am when I arrived at the station and was still there when I left on the 11.12 train to Edinburgh. – Yours etc.,

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED

Doing up the house?

Sir, – Are any of your readers working on an historic or unusual property? We need homes for a new series of the BBC Two historical property series, Restoration Home, presented by Caroline Quentin and produced by Remarkable Television.

We would like to find a wide range of owners of derelict, historic properties who plan to transform them into their dream homes. Whether idyllic ruinous gems in the countryside, inner-city industrial buildings, mills, architectural gems or just quirky projects – we want to hear from you. If interested please call 0333 577 7740 or e-mail homes@endemoluk.com (calls charged at your local rate, mobiles vary). – Yours etc.,

JAMIE HAMMICK

Director, Restoration Home

Sir – The Scottish Government’s attempts to legislate against “offensive behaviour” at football matches demonstrates the total lack of understanding of what is essentially a working class sport by middle-class lawyers and self styled intellectuals.

Intrinsic to soccer is a tribalism which often spills over into ritualised verbal and physical violence off the pitch. For a significant proportion of match goers, it provides a weekly safety valve for the pent up aggression which they are, quite rightly, unable to vent in daily life. The Saturday scrap between opposing supporters is part of the genuine working class football experience and is well understood by the real football fans who inhabit the terraces rather than watching on TV.

It is sad to see MSPs buying into the commercialisation of the sport which requires a squeaky clean family image in order to attract major advertisers. They should stick to the violence of Rugby with its off pitch politesse and stop trying to impose their standards on a milieu of which they are totally ignorant. – Yours etc.,

John Eoin Douglas

via e-mail

Sir, – As Christmas approaches, Oxfam, Christian Aid, Age UK and other aid agencies are once again tapping into public disquiet over the existence of plenty in the midst of hunger, and asking you to make a Christmas gift of a farmed animal to an impoverished person in Africa, or in another of the world’s poorest regions.

This is despite mounting evidence demonstrating that animal farming is environmentally destructive; an inefficient user of agricultural land, water and energy; and that it generates disproportionately high volumes of global warming gases.

Because meat and milk production consume such high levels of precious resources, only communities with surplus wealth can afford them. A ‘gift’ of animals to destitute communities, who are without such resources, will simply impoverish them further. It is far more rational to support such people in growing food that they can eat directly.

There is also the very real issue of animal suffering. Vast numbers of cattle and other animals are currently starving to death in the drought-ravaged Horn of Africa and other parts of that continent. Replacing them with more animals will just create more human as well as animal victims.

Please support agencies that help people, animals and the environment. For details contact Animal Aid (www.animalaid.org.uk Tel: 01732 364546). – Yours etc.,

ANDREW TYLER

Director

Animal Aid

The Old Chapel,

Bradford Street,

Tonbridge,

Kent TN9 1AW

Sir, – As Minister for Transport, I would like to make clear the Scottish Government’s unswerving commitment to providing a rail service that is fit for purpose and serves the people of our nation.

We firmly believe that efficient transport networks, attuned to Scotland’s needs, plays a vital role in creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all to flourish, through increased sustainable economic growth.

We have a strong track record of investment in rail. Current levels are the highest since rail devolution with £725m per annum overall – increasing to £795m overall by 2013/14 – the end of the current Spending Review period.

Through the recent introduction of 38 new electric trains, we have added 7,500 passenger seats a day to the Scottish rail network. But we are not just adding to our fleet, we have expanded our network with new routes and new stations. The Airdrie Bathgate link is the longest new rail line in Scotland in a century; the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine has attracted more than four times original passenger levels expected.

While we recognise the need for a lower-cost, more integrated, better performing railway, how we achieve this will be based on what the Scottish rail industry and, more importantly, what the people of Scotland have told us is best for them and for our economy. Above all, we remain committed to a Scottish railway which brings communities together, enables business to increase productivity and increases access to employment and education opportunities creating a platform to support faster sustainable economic growth.

To ensure our success continues while meeting the challenges we face, in 2014 we will renew the current contract for rail passenger services and the funding arrangements for Network Rail in Scotland will need to be renewed. Our ambition is to have a railway that offers value for money, ensures that the railway industry acts in a coordinated, integrated manner, and, most importantly, has passenger interests at its heart.

It is in the context of that ambition and on the record of investment and expansion of rail in Scotland under this Government that we will take forward the Consultation on the future of Scotland’s railways. This will be a crucial discussion about the development of our railway to best fit passengers’ needs.

No decisions have been made. We encourage you the people of Scotland to read this consultation document, consider the issues which are important to you and give us your views. We would encourage all passengers to give their views. – Yours etc.,

KEITH BROWN

Minister for Housing & Transport

Sir, – Animal Aid has, for many years, investigated the cruelties and suffering inherent in animal farming and made public our findings. We have filmed sick, dead and dying animals in dozens of farms, as well as animals being sadistically abused inside slaughterhouses. But farmed animals are subjected to much more suffering than we have been able to show. According to Farmers Weekly, each year more than eight million sheep suffer lameness due to footroot, 900,000 piglets are stillborn, and mastitis in cows – a painful infection of the udders – remains endemic.

And on its website this week, Animal Aid is making public a series of photographs of a sow taken inside a slaughterhouse. The shocking wound on her shoulder is a pressure sore, caused in all likelihood by her incarceration in farrowing crates, where the majority of sows in the UK are forced to give birth. It is clear that this poor pig has suffered over a long period of time.

The lives of pigs – and other animals – in farms and slaughterhouses are filled with unseen suffering. Please help them by choosing a meat-free diet. A free Guide to Going Veggie or Vegan can be ordered from 01732 364546 or info@animalaid.org.uk – Yours etc.,

Kate Fowler

Head of Campaigns

Animal Aid

The Old Chapel

Bradford Street

Tonbridge

Kent TN9 1AW

Sir, – This Christmas World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is offering your readers the chance to remember loved ones lost to cancer with a Candle of Hope pin badge.

The gold brooch symbolically lights the way to a future free from cancer as money raised from its sale funds essential scientific and education cancer prevention programmes.

This Christmas appeal comes at a time when people’s thoughts often turn to departed friends and relatives.

The candle emblem provides a reminder of a loved one as well as hope for the future by helping us raise awareness of cancer prevention. Scientists estimate that by making changes to the food we eat, increasing our amount of physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight about a third of the most common cancers could be prevented.

To support our Candle of Hope appeal and receive your badge, please make a donation at www.wcrf-uk.org/candle or call our team on Freephone 0800 970 1461. – Yours etc.,

Teresa Nightingale

General Manager

WCRF