MY brother Eric, who was an ardent CND supporter and activist, said he would like the words on his tombstone to read “at least he tried”. Although he did not achieve his aims of nuclear disarmament his aims were positive and good.

The same principles I think apply to Nicola Sturgeon, our First Minister. She may not reach her goals nor take certain people along with her, but at least she tries.

The latest debacle over the Deposit Return Scheme causes outrage and may not be perfect, but it will help the planet and we who are old enough to remember have already experienced it... it did work. It was actually a way for poor people to make some money by picking up empty bottles and cashing them in.

Ms Sturgeon, I think, tries to be on the right side of history, which will judge her differently. Her attitude to gender reform and even trying to keep shipbuilding alive on the Clyde may attract criticism, even bile, from opponents, but she needs to put on her thick skin and keep going.

My brother’s legacy lives on as the vigil he started at the gates at Faslane every Wednesday still happens. When the intention is good that is all that matters; we have to try.
Susan Martin, Glasgow

Constant complaints are so tiresome

JILL Stephenson (Letters, February 14) is clearly one of those who prefer our existing plastic bottle and container disposal schemes to the Scottish Government's plans. Currently, my front garden is one of the main resources for the existing disposal methods, along with our highways and byways, motorways, streets, public parks and spaces. The car window, for many people, is the main disposal portal.

I regularly visit France and Switzerland and rarely see discarded plastic bottles and containers, and quite recently, driving on the Autoroute between Geneva and Laussane, I set myself the task of counting plastic bottles and other waste on the verge; I saw none. And yet as I look out of my window this morning I can see three plastic bottles deposited in my facility (the front garden) overnight, having emptied it yesterday.

Maybe Ms Stephenson et al should come up with some practical solutions rather than just constantly complain about those who do.
John Jamieson, Ayr

Let's hear the alternatives

TALKING about the Deposit Return Scheme, the BBC said on its website today (February 14) that “many older Scots will recall being able to get money back on their "ginger" (fizzy drink) bottles when they were children – and it works in a similar way.” A hunt for discarded bottles was a fine way to enhance pocket money.

However, the key phrase here is “and it works in a similar way”. Therefore, while there has been technical progress (for example, the "invention" of the reverse vending machine, which doesn’t sell you a can but gives you a voucher to the value of the deposit on the cans and other items you have inserted) the process is much the same.

Just what did people do when there were deposits before? Did they sit at home complaining about having to take their bottles back? Or did they just get on with it? Even now, my own council uses glass recycling hubs which require locals to travel to deposit their empty glass bottles in their nearest/most convenient hub. I pass one regularly while out on walks with our dog and frequently see it being used. It often seems to be full.

And what is the alternative? Last year Scotland’s household waste recycling rate dropped from 44.9 per cent to 42%. Given environmental commitments change is essential to increase Scottish recycling. It is all very well to be critical of the current scheme, but it would be interesting to hear of alternatives, directed at this aim, from its critics. It is hard to imagine any which won’t involve more involvement (ie work) by business as well as households.

In Switzerland, a municipal recycling service can pick up your domestic waste (sometimes with a fee), but only if it is properly sorted and contained. Otherwise, it has to be left at the many public recycling facilities (maps are provided for location), again properly sorted and contained. If not, then a fine is possible (they will go through the rubbish looking for some indication of address).

A more productive debate would be had if the core issue was that recycling levels need to be increased, and the more creative question, how do we do this, was posed.
Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton

Hoorah for Vicky Allan

I NOTE two opinion pieces and two different approaches to reporting on the problems besetting the introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme in today's Herald (February 14).

Thank goodness for Vicky Allan's informative, unbiased account ("Deposit return in peril. Is big business to blame for this mess?") which contrasts with Brian Wilson's anti-SNP/Scottish Government rhetoric ("Deposit scheme madness puts even the ferries in the shade).

Maybe Mr Wilson should have read Ms Allan's piece in order to ascertain the facts of the matter before penning his article.
Eileen Michael, Ralston

DRS fit only for the bin

THE Deposit Return Scheme is now only fit for the bin as major drinks and brewing companies describe the scheme as totally unworkable.

The scheme has great potential for recycling and litter control but simply won't work in the UK national distribution system unless it is adopted by the entire UK.
Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen

A high price for nationalism

IT is clear the certain saving of Scots lives by the upgrading of the A9 – promised by the SNP for way more than a decade and a task that the First Minister herself said would save lives – comes far down the SNP’s list of priorities ("Scottish Government launches driver fatigue campaign after crashes increase", The Herald, February 14).

It now trails well behind pretend embassies, foreign jaunts for the boys and girls, handouts to dodgy billionaires, tens of millions tossed down a shipyard drain, the list is virtually endless. Oh, and of course, no-one even talks much any more about the highest drug deaths in the civilised world.

Shame on you, SNP. Is nationalism worth even a fraction of what we are paying in human lives and the division and misery of our country?
Andrew McKay, Edinburgh

Deer farmers being ignored

LAST Friday the Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, made the welcome announcement to the NFU (Scotland) of a "new farm payment scheme" for cattle and sheep farmers designed to "support better livestock health and welfare". Conspicuous by its absence was the extension of this scheme to Scotland’s deer farmers. It is ironic that, announced in the same speech, was a new round of support for innovation, which rings a bit hollow when the most innovative sector of livestock farming was excluded.

Deer farming would appear to be a perfect fit for the Government’s targets of sustainable, high-quality food produced locally: venison is lower in fats and higher in iron than conventional meats, and, because it is grass and forage-based using little cereals, it is highly sustainable, and uniquely it can be processed on the farm, thus creating local employment. Deer farming is also notably attractive to young farmers and has virtually no antibiotic usage.

Yet groups formed by the Government to discuss the future of the livestock sector have not included representatives of the deer farming industry and coupled support remains in place for cattle and sheep but not for farmed deer.

This Government seems intent on ignoring the deer farming sector, pioneered in Scotland and still leading the way in Britain. It does not bode well for the next announcements of further new farm payments.
John Fletcher, Auchtermuchty

Shame on Cancer Research

I WAS angered that Cancer Research UK is axing funding for the Clinical Trial Unit at the Beatson and a similar unit in Cardiff ("Cancer Research axes funding for trials unit at Beatson Centre", The Herald, February 11).

There will now only be seven sites in England, including a new site in Oxford. This is a backward step and as an anonymous researcher stated "a smack in the teeth".

And a double smack in the teeth when money can be found to open and run a new centre in Oxford.

Levelling up? I don't think so.
Neil Stewart, Balfron

• I HAVE just cancelled my direct debit to Cancer Research UK.
June Browning, Blairgowrie

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