I WAS relieved to see the outcome of Glasgow City Council's Wellbeing, Equalities, Communities, Culture And Engagement City Policy Committee meeting on Thursday ("Controversial plans to charge entry fee to Kibble Palace paused by city chiefs", The Herald, November 10).

As someone who attends the Botanic Gardens almost every day and whom has autism, epilepsy and depression it is a lifeline to me, as much for the medicinal benefits it holds as for its beauty which I love to photograph.

As reported the council has decided to pause the implementation fee on local people until the full impact could be fully explored. It had originally said that the fee "could bring in an extra £180,000 a year based on footfall of 100,000 people". This was pure conjecture as many could just as easily be put off going at all.

The council is still taking money from private ventures like GlasGlow and Bard in the Botanics as well as renting out the Kibble Palace to weddings and other organisations' events. The council should charge these private companies more money to use our Botanic Gardens and Kibble Palace, helping to fund the black hole in its finances.

There are surely many other ways the council can raise funds more fairly instead of getting ordinary, hard-working, low-income people to pay for what should remain free.

Jill Ferguson, Glasgow.

Read more: Glasgow Kibble Palace entry fee 'paused' after backlash

Use climate plan delay well

SOME delay to Scotland’s efforts to tackle global warning (“SNP ministers poised to delay crucial climate change update, The Herald, November 7) may not be a problem. Forthcoming events could lead to a better plan.

Later this month King Charles will give the opening address at COP28, the annual climate change summit for world leaders. Perhaps he will return with a determination to demonstrate, on his own land, how to mitigate the impacts of climate change through better land use. In the uplands capturing carbon through appropriate management of grazing animals and vegetation should become a primary objective. This requires fundamental changes to the way that the deer and grouse are managed on Balmoral estate. Such changes are essential if the royal family is to maintain its reputation as a significant voice in efforts to solve the climate and biodiversity crisis.

On his return from Dubai the King should be in early discussion with our First Minister. They need to agree what action to take at Balmoral. No doubt it will be explained to King Charles that the report of the Deer Working Group, commissioned by the Scottish Government and published in early 2020, highlighted Balmoral and its neighbouring estates as probably the worst area in Scotland for overgrazing by red deer, destroying the natural regeneration of montane and forest habitats. Such damaging land use, along with the widespread and continuing burning of grouse moors has to stop. These estates occupy the headwaters of many rivers in eastern Scotland, including the Dee, Don and Tay, with downstream communities greatly affected by what happens upstream. Stopping over-grazing and burning will bring immense relief to these communities and elsewhere. Regenerating all our uplands is urgent, before the next intense rain storms arrive, bringing further flooding and misery.

A delay in producing the next climate change plan will also give the Government the opportunity to propose fundamental changes to the financial incentives that support agriculture and forestry. Planting trees in the uplands, most of which involves the cultivation of peaty or organic soils, releases more carbon to the atmosphere, over decades, than is captured by the growing trees. This undermines other efforts that are being made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net zero by 2045. Soil cultivation in the uplands needs to be minimised as planting grants are replaced with new incentives to employ more stalkers and gamekeepers to better control grazing and wildfires. The lowlands should become the focus for new tree planting.

The expansion of all field margins in the lowlands must be at the core of the new grant system. Planting trees for timber, fuel, shelter and wildlife fits well with other measures to create new habitats by limiting the application of artificial fertilisers and pesticides around field margins. And, with public rights of access to all field margins in Scotland, we could design the perfect system for increasing public contact with nature as well as improving the financial support base for all land managers.

Dave Morris, Kinross.

Read more: Forget the Covid mudslinging and learn the important lessons

Cyclists deserve much better

LET’S give JB Drummond (Letters, November 10) the benefit of the doubt and agree that he was trying to be humorous when he likened cyclists to the lepers of Ancient Rome.

Nevertheless his misplaced humour is symptomatic of the issue cyclists face from quite a proportion of the British population, particularly motorists. Cyclists are considered a lower class of life. It’s okay to put their lives at risk to save a couple of seconds. That cyclist may be a young person.

I don’t know it but doubt if the Ayr one-way system has been designed to suit cyclists at all, just motorists. Very few traffic lights, which are essentially for controlling cars, not bikes, have a time to allow bikes away first and, importantly, more safely. There’s a traffic light on a fast road near me that I have to jump because it doesn’t change for a single bike. In a one-way system near me, which is legally two-way for bikes, I’ve even had a policeman remonstrate with me, saying I can’t use it. That’s how ingrained poor attitudes are.

I do have separate third party insurance, which is for the (low) possibility that I may injure somebody. Most cyclists have it anyway through their home insurance. It’s relatively cheap because we rarely injure folk, unlike motorists. I have also paid vehicle excise tax, road tax to some, for many years.

Cyclists deserve a better slice of the pie than a society, many of whom haven’t cycled since their youth like your correspondent, are prepared to give them.

Angus MacEachran, Aberdeen.

The decline of Glasgow

WALKING through Glasgow city centre recently it struck me that it increasingly resembles New York City in its 1980s nadir.

Empty shop units, decaying buildings, lots of litter, graffiti and a lot of people hanging around the street with whom I felt safer not making eye contact. The general air is one of decay and foreboding.

The council seems asleep at the wheel while the city centre continues to decline in attractiveness.

Christopher Ruane, Lanark.