RECENT letter writers (April 6 & 7) have suggested large fines as a way of reducing litter in Scotland. That would be helpful, but it is much more complicated unfortunately.

You have to first catch the culprits and, secondly corroborate the offence before proceedings can be undertaken.

The answer lies in technology.

First, small CCTV cameras could be hidden in lay-bys in known "fly-tipping" sites. You see their use regularly on TV wildlife programmes.The camera could detect vehicle number plates, allowing criminal charges. More importantly, this would need national support from the Scottish Government, which would coordinate the operation.

My main idea is the use of electric tricycles with a large collection box on the back clearly marked "Litter/Dog Warden". Such vehicles are in use in the Far East.

These wardens would operate on known problem areas at times where the littering is worse, for example large parks at weekends, promenade and beach areas in summer, city or town centres and outdoor music festivals. They would pick up litter themselves at times and put it into the box just to set an example, although that would not be their main responsibility. This is a local authority function.

The uniformed warden would have the authority to issue on the spot fines for littering offences. His helmet CCTV camera would corroborate his evidence. If the culprit refused to confirm his identity or became aggressive the police could be summoned by the litter warden by pressing a support button on his smartphone. Police would immediately know the problem and location of the warden and go to support.

Failure to pick up dog waste would be treated similarly by spot fines. Culprits of either offence would be given the chance to apologise and make amends. The warden would be trained to be fair and helpful. My thought is to solve the problem, not create aggression with the public, but the warden has the authority and final say.

Only if the fine was not paid it would then go to court when fine level would be much higher, matching the suggested levels.

Action like this could solve a major problem in Scotland. As long as the law requires corroboration we must think outside the box.

John Ewing, Ayr.


IN the run-up to Glasgow’s Green Jolly (COP26), draconian new eco rules are to be introduced as part of our commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. By 2040, all homes must achieve a "C" rating for energy performance – only 10 million of our 30m homes currently reach this standard.

It’s impossible for the eight million homes with solid walls to reach a "C" rating unless they are fitted with internal or external insulation. The cost of installing such insulation and the mandatory new heat pump is around £20,000. Sadly heat pumps only work efficiently at relatively low temperatures, so radiators will need to be replaced with larger ones or by expensive underfloor heating. Worse still, the Green Homes Grant giving £10,000 to low-income homeowners closed last week.

These eco-modifications can be very damaging: covering breathable walls with impervious insulation causes serious damp in buildings without a damp-proof course. There is also a fire risk if they aren’t monitored, as seen in the Grenfell Tower disaster. Yet it’s not even certain these crude targets will cut carbon emissions and they are irrelevant when the contribution of China, India, and the like is considered. But they will clothe our leaders in green virtue and that’s what really matters.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.


IT'S interesting from a recent poll that many Scots think the Covid recovery should be community-led, with councils being considered insufficiently responsive to local needs. This is a far cry from the massive regional councils of past years which morphed into the shape of large local authorities where local opinion was sought through community councils with little bite and influence.

Are we now heading back to the days of parish and town councils? In respect of local services such as roads and planning, there is a grassroots feeling that local concerns are not being taken into account by councils when reaching decisions which affect the everyday lives of individuals. If consequential bureaucracy can be avoided, statutory local forums such as citizens' assemblies could have merit.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.


THE public expression by certain EU political leaders of the possibility of a causal link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare forms of blood clots may itself have been the cause of many deaths. Bertrand Russell’s advice in such circumstances is worth heeding: ‘‘The scepticism that I advocate amounts only to this: that when the experts are agreed, the opposite opinion cannot be held to be certain; that when they are not agreed, no opinion can be regarded as certain by the non-expert; and that when they all hold that no sufficient grounds for a positive opinion exist, the ordinary man would do well to suspend his judgment.’’

Doug Clark, Currie.


RE the letter from Thelma Edwards (April 6): I don’t think I have been so moved in my life. Her letter was one full of love and I admire her so much for this after all she has suffered.

As someone coping with grief I sometimes wonder if the Victorian way of wearing mourning clothes, a brooch or some other outward sign that one is in mourning would be a good idea again.

Jane Porteous, Kinross.