YOUR report concerning the plight of our cultural venues ("Arts facing ‘perfect storm’ of cuts and soaring costs", The Herald, October 31) is a timely reminder that we should now be reconsidering our over-generous practice of free admission to our museums, galleries and botanical gardens. Rather than diverting money from the planned Transient Visitor Levy to meet their running costs, these venues should be introducing entrance fees.

As an Edinburgh Festival Volunteer Guide, I regularly find that visitors to Edinburgh are astonished to be told that there are four city museums on the Royal Mile that have free entrance. They are so used to having to pay for admission back home or in other countries that they have visited.

As a policy, free admission to such cultural centres in Scotland was well-intentioned but is now surely unsustainable. I am sure that those of your readers who have travelled abroad and who have visited such venues would have paid an entrance charge. It would seem that this is pretty much standard practice elsewhere. So why do be we persist in allowing universal free entry to these attractions, particularly when there are other venues such as those managed by Historic Environment Scotland and National Trust for Scotland who do charge an entrance fee? This inconsistency must be confusing for our visitors who find our generosity, particularly in these hard times, hard to understand.

It is perfectly feasible to allow for reduced or indeed free entry for particular individuals or groups. For example, many European cities allow free entry to museums and galleries for the over-70s. In Tokyo, one day a week is identified on which senior citizens can get free entry to many of the local art galleries and museums. Similar concessions are applied elsewhere in the UK. In York for example, local residents qualify for reduced entry to the city’s museums while, for an annual charge of £20, local residents can purchase a York Museum Card which gives unlimited free entry to such venues. The bottom line, however, is that there is a charge which must generate much-needed income. Given our financial woes, can we afford to be so different?
Eric Melvin, Edinburgh

Cyclists aren't the real danger

I WRITE to extend my sympathy to Peter Bray (November 1), who was knocked down by someone cycling on Sauchiehall Street. That part of Sauchiehall Street, where I guess Mr Bray was, is a core path and thus available for both cycling and walking. Personally, I avoid cycling on it when it is busy, but I am constantly surprised at the absence of conflict between walking and cycling traffic there and I hope that what happened to Mr Bray is a one-off, or at least very rare event.

This is in complete contrast to the article by Catriona Stewart last week ("Is retaliation right when you’re abused on your bike?", The Herald, October 28), where she told of her journey on the Victoria Road cycle lane. Her route was blocked by what I can only describe as an arrogant and ignorant person who had not only driven off the roadway but blocked the cycle lane with the door of the vehicle and refused to move the door or the van. This, unless I missed something, went without comment in your Letters Pages.

Some years ago now when I was cycling to work, I was knocked off my bike by a car that was driven into my path. As I lay on the ground with what transpired to be a broken elbow, the driver stood over me and swore at me! According to the police officer I spoke to this added the charge of breach of the peace to one of careless driving.

Sadly though, as Ms Stewart pointed out, those of us who cycle rarely complain because arrogant, careless, dangerous behaviour by some people people driving motor vehicles is an everyday occurrence for us.

However, it is now really time that all of us who walk and cycle got our space back. We have been promised dedicated cycle space on so many of our streets, including all the city-centre part of Sauchiehall Street, for so long now, and so many people are scared to cycle on our roads because of the real danger they face from motor traffic that they feel their only option is to use the footways. We hear every day of collisions not just between motor vehicles but between motor vehicles and people either walking or cycling. This is where the greatest danger to all of us comes from – the motor vehicle. Yet we avoid facing the fact and pushing vulnerable road users into limited space – and even on our cycle lanes and pavements we aren't safe from encroaching motor vehicles.
Patricia Fort, Glasgow

COP27 help is vital

I WAS interested in your report on young people from countries facing the worst effects of climate change being given the opportunity to attend the COP 27 climate summit as part of a Scottish Government programme ("Funds for youths to attend COP", The Herald, October 31).

This is extremely important. The countries suffering the effects of climate change must be given help to deal with the damage, and the citizens of these countries must be able to inform the rest of the world how the adverse weather is making life worse for them. And, most importantly, the scientific evidence must not be ignored.
Margaret Forbes, Blanefield

Yeah, this is annoying

THE regular misuse of words complained of by your correspondents (Letters, October 29 & November 1) occasions my comment. As a regular viewer of Escape to the Country I despair at the incessant use of the word "wow" as used by participants. Even more cringeworthy is "yeah", which is both slovenly and impolite. Regrettably, "yeah" has now developed into "yeah, yeah, yeah" in some programmes including Bargain Hunt. Time for a nationwide "watch your language" tidy-up by all the media.
Allan C Steele, Giffnock

In loo of conversation

I HAVE the answer to R Russell Smith's concern about his soft-release toilet seat's failure to develop chinwag skills (Letters, November 1).

A little googling by Dr Smith will reveal a wide range of talking toilet seats.

A din in the middle of the night caused by letting go the traditional toilet seat will, of course, have to be balanced against the volume of eerie nocturnal conversations.
David Miller, Milngavie


HeraldScotland:

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