I NOTE with very considerable concern that the Government has proposed increasing the MOT intervals to two years from the present one year.

MOT standards are clearly set to an absolute minimum. Any vehicle which fails to meet those standards are considered to be unroadworthy and should not be used on a public road until the defects are remedied. Sadly, many people regard the MOT as a mountain to climb once a year, whereas the standard should be regarded as one never to fall below.

Insurance companies may refuse to pay out in the event that a vehicle is not properly maintained; this disclaimer is normally in the "small print" that very few people bother to read. I have had personal experience on numerous occasions of pointing this out to vehicle users on enforcement road checks. The common reply was "but it has still got a number of months of MOT left".

The consequences of moving to two-yearly intervals are potentially creating a major hazard to road safety. The latest official DVSA first-time fail rate for Class 7 vehicles (vans and light goods vehicles, these being by far the highest mileage vehicles in use, with often-minimum maintenance) is 45 per cent, with 17.6% failing for braking defects, 42.8% of these failures being noted as dangerous.Surely there is no justification to increase the test intervals to two-yearly. The likely effect in the present economic climate on the private car fleet is also very worrying with many demands on limited incomes.

The situation is not helped by the constant reduction of enforcement staff conducting spot checks at the roadside – another false economy of the present Government. I hope that the motor trade will make urgent representation to their MPs to have this proposal rejected as it was previously.

Allan Martin, I.Eng., MIRTE, MSOE, Inverness.


TWO gentlemen of Milngavie have been commenting on using public transport to reach Glasgow city centre rather than the car. Willie Maclean’s plea (Letters, April 27) is to use public transport and if necessary, take the car to the nearest point of access. David Miller responding (Letters, April 28), appears to suggest the appearance of the 60A bus from Milngavie to Glasgow is a rare occurrence, which is not going to tempt people to abandon their cars.

Spare a thought for those of us in the conjoined villages of Strathblane and Blanefield which is only four and a half miles distant from Milngavie. We have an hourly bus service to Glasgow which passes Milngavie train terminus and two-hourly on a Sunday with no evening service. There is no public car park in the vicinity of local bus stops, which means walking to and from the bus, and it is a hilly place and difficult for older people with shopping. Fortunately the train terminus in Milngavie has a large free car park at the station and is only a 15-minute drive away. Unfortunately it is usually full unless one is there at the crack of dawn, which means paying (previously free) for council parking elsewhere with a short walk to the station. Being just outside the old Strathclyde Region by a couple of miles, we do not enjoy subsidised rail fares. A return journey by train is almost £8 for two people and £5 for parking, making a total of £13 for a visit to Glasgow city centre. Far better, cheaper, more comfortable and half the travel time to take the car into Glasgow and pay the parking of £11 or £12.

This is merely illustrative of a much larger problem. Throughout the 20th century, the infrastructure of the UK and most other countries too, has been built around the motor car which has allowed housing developments in commuter areas well beyond the towns and cities where people work and shop. This infrastructure cannot be dismantled and is still being built with absolutely no thought by planners on the provision of regular public transport facilities. People will not give up their cars easily, no matter the cost. In Glasgow and elsewhere, pricing out the car is an asinine solution as car owners will simply go elsewhere to the detriment of the city centre. Hindsight is a wonderful thing when we look at the Glasgow Corporation tram network which ran to every extremity of the city and beyond to Coatbridge, Airdrie, Paisley, Milngavie, Clarkston, to name a few of the outlying areas.

The whole structure of local government in Scotland and the areas served by each authority requires complete overhaul and is long overdue. Until that is done, we shall continue to have decisions made by councils which do not consider the ramifications in adjacent areas beyond their control. I believe it is time to bring back the successful regional and district councils in a new format, which were previously dismantled in an outrage of political gerrymandering. Once that has been done, it might be possible to plan transport for the future in a co-ordinated manner.

Alan M Morris, Blanefield.


I READ with interest Helen McArdle’s recent article (“Role of female sex hormone in deadly athsma attacks neglected”, The Herald, April 27).

Some years ago, I developed a chronic cough over a considerable period of time. My friends kept urging me "to do something about it" as they considered it to be alarming. My GP carried out tests but no cause was found.

I realised that I had become allergic to my cat Poppy. It seemed rather strange as I’d had cats all my life and had not had an allergy before.

Eventually I had a eureka moment. I had stopped HRT as the NHS was unlikely to prescribe it to women in their seventies. However, the menopause clinic in Glasgow restarted my HRT prescription and the asthma miraculously disappeared – along with elevated anxiety, urinary difficulties, and other related problems.

I have been on HRT for 30 years and continue to adjust it according to new knowledge and available treatment. I am now working with full-spectrum BHRT and I wrote to my GP practice asking if they could prescribe it, stating that I an not taking any other drugs and have tried to look after my health and not burden the NHS unnecessarily. I’m 73 and in general good health but unfortunately they were unable to prescribe full-spectrum hormone replacement.

I have had no asthma/cough since and continue to monitor and adjust my prescription through excellent advice from Wells Menopause Clinic. However, hopefully the NHS will eventually be able to offer this lifeline to older women.

Sheila Eva Taylor, Lochwinnoch.