CAN I say initially that although I myself am unable to cycle due to disability, my wife is an extremely keen leisure cyclist, mainly on the (old railway line) network of pathways in Edinburgh, and both of my daughters cycle around 10 miles per day across town from home to and from their workplaces. I am part of a family of cycling enthusiasts! I am therefore very keen to encourage safer cycling in our towns.

I am, however, concerned at the seemingly haphazard way in which cycle lanes are being developed in our capital city.

Before any major development is proposed, and it almost seems silly to have to say this, we should define the problem – what do we wish to achieve!?

Do we wish to reduce car use in the city, encouraging people to travel in a more environmentally friendly manner? If this is the case, considering the mindset of most drivers, it might be a good idea to make buses more available, quicker and more comfortable. (Unfortunately, I would not think that a significant proportion of drivers are going to move in one step from cars to bikes). This probably involves an extension of our bus lane system, and perhaps even resurfacing these lanes to give a smoother, more comfortable ride.

If, on the other hand, we wish to improve the general fitness levels of our population (and goodness knows there is a case for this!) we may wish then to get more people on their bikes for leisure or commuting purposes. If this is the case, then it might be a good idea to improve our cycle lanes.

I assume that our political leaders have been persuaded that this latter idea is their priority. I say this because I even see examples of bus lanes being discontinued over certain stretches to allow for bike lanes. This, of course, discourages bus use (more cars!) and potentially makes cycling an even more dangerous activity, particularly at the busy road junctions where bike lanes simply stop, and no cycle-friendly plan has been implemented.

Because I do not know what our council is trying to achieve through the current road development strategy, then I cannot tell if the end result has been successful. We should always, when major developments are seen to be likely, ensure that the following basic design methodology is followed.

1. Define the problem

2. Examine a range of possible solutions to this problem

3. Make a plan, always considering any areas of inconvenience that are likely in implementing this plan. E.g. Likely disruption to shops and businesses because of long-term road closures.

I really don’t think that Edinburgh Council, and perhaps other councils, make their plans always considering steps one, two and three above.

Alex Leggatt


BRAVO, Suella Braverman.

Again, another display of ignorance by not knowing how many UK nationals had arrived in Cyprus from Sudan. Somewhere in the region of 300 to 400. A comment no doubt expressing the fact that didn’t her government do well. And, it will be sending many more planes to collect the, so far, ill-fated, left-behind, estimated 4000 remaining nationals.

Meanwhile, a successful rescue was made of all the diplomatic staffs and families, as a first-placed priority! Oh yes, and the not-so-clever Mr Cleverly also stated that the evacuation of UK nationals was the government’s priority, not saying which nationals he was referring to.

Alan Magnus-Bennett


I AGREE with most of the comments in Leah Gunn Barrett’s letter (April 26).

The UK is indeed “talking down Scotland’s energy potential” and back her conclusion that we must “restore Scottish sovereignty to end the theft”.

She rightly points out that in January 2022, offshore wind licences for 5000 square miles of the Scottish seabed were auctioned for a maximum one-off price of just £700 million. The licences went to Shell, BP, French TotalEnergies, Spanish Iberdrola and Danish Orsted. At the same time, an area off Long Island, New York, 25% the size of the Scottish area, sold for $4.37 billion.

However, this decision was not taken by the colonial UK Government but sadly by our very own Scottish Government, for reasons I completely fail to understand. Colonialism is when a colony’s resources are extracted and then sold at a premium by the coloniser but in that case it was the colony’s own pseudo-government who sold our resources for a whole lot less than they are worth.

Glenda Burns


IN an otherwise excellent article in Monday’s National (Here is what should define a Yes “movement”, April 24), Professor Gregor Gall states that “Scotland is not an oppressed country or nation”.

In her letter, Leah Gunn Barrett provides the example of energy to illustrate that Scotland is in fact treated as a colony by the British State.

There are many aspects to colonialism and oppression and they are explored in some detail by Professor Alf Baird in his book Doun-Hauden: The Socio-Political Determinants of Scottish Independence.

In particular, over time, the suppression and denigration of language and culture, the appropriation of resources, military occupation, the impoverishment and forced removal of people and propaganda that a country is incapable of looking after itself are commonly found in colonised places around the world.

Thus, on a number of criteria and metrics, I have to disagree with Professor Gregor Gall on his assessment of Scotland’s relationship with the British State.

Julian Smith