I, AND, I presume, the majority of Scotland’s population, would share Andrew Livingstone’s frustration and anger at Scotland’s litter problem (Letters, May 6). However to call it Nicola Sturgeon’s legacy is just wrong. The problem of litter did not originate with her, or indeed any government. While I agree money has certainly been wasted by this Government on especially the ferry crisis, to blame her for council cleansing cuts is wrong. Councils set those budgets. We must focus on the correct targets.

Make no mistake, the real blame lies firmly and squarely with Scotland’s people. By and large it is Scots who litter. Turn constructive anger on our myriad litter louts. Name and shame. Publicise. At the risk of sounding an old fogey, in the short term why not more use of community service (after appropriate safety training) to clean roadsides? I am not blaming those who undertake community service of being guilty per se of littering, but by their actions they will help the short-term problem and I am sure many will have a wee word with guilty contemporaries.

In the medium to long term, it’s surely a mix of education (and I don’t mean schools) to change public tolerance by so many, with effective legislation, punishment and sanctions (for example penalty points for throwing or allowing litter to be thrown from a vehicle) and feet on the street to allow effective policing/wardening of our country.

Alastair Clark, Stranraer.

• ANDREW Livingstone is simply wrong, perhaps being a little mischievous, or perhaps indulging in political point-scoring, to blame our previous First Minister for the litter around Glasgow Airport or anywhere else.

The responsibility for litter lies only with those who create it and I doubt very much that any of our MSPs of any political hue are responsible.

I often see council workers clearing litter from some of our busier roads, an unpleasant and dangerous task given the high speed of passing vehicles. Sadly the litter reappears within days and those poor workers must feel that they are wasting their time.

Education, or lack of it, is often wrongly blamed. Teachers spend much time explaining to children that litter degrades our environment and they are urged, from an early age, to dispose of litter responsibly or take it home.

I do not claim to have a solution. I wish I did. There simply appears to be so many people who do not care about their environment. All I could suggest is fines high enough to discourage and rigorous enforcement, but how that might be achieved in theses straitened times of tight budgets is beyond me.

Sadly, as long as there is a significant minority who do not care, nothing will change.

David Clark, Tarbolton.

Read more: FM should look at SNP's record before lecturing us on poverty

Sheep are feral, not wild

IN your recent article about our petition to the Scottish Parliament ("Petition calls for St Kilda’s wild sheep to have protected status", The Herald April 24), the headline refers to the sheep on St Kilda as "wild" sheep, but there are no wild sheep in the UK.

It may seem pedantic but there is a crucial difference between "wild" and "feral". The Home Office definition is useful: a "feral" animal is an animal living in the wild but descended from domesticated individuals, whereas a "wild" animal species is one that has never been cared for or farmed by humans, and is not descended from domesticated individuals.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS), the Scottish Government and the Soay Sheep Project use the words "feral" and "wild" to suit whatever point they are trying to make. For instance, the Soay Sheep Project spokesperson ("Killed on St Kilda", The Herald, February 12) referred to the sheep as a "wild species" and compared them to puffins. This is misleading and unscientific: on St Kilda puffins are native wild animals in their natural environment; the sheep are non-native feral animals in an unnatural environment, brought to St Kilda by neolithic man, their reproductive physiology changed by artificial selection over many generations so that they are far removed from their wild origins as mouflon in Asia 10,000 years ago.

Without management, those changes to the sheep reproductive physiology (twinning; they can breed as lambs; the ewes wean their lambs early so they are in good condition for the rut etc) lead to rapid overpopulation and hence starvation. This is why feral animals are protected under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, at least according to the Guidance to the Act.

In the same Herald article, the NTS spokesperson states that the Soay sheep were treated as a "wild" population for hundreds of years, unmanaged save for periodic hunting by the archipelago's inhabitants. A recent paper by historian Professor Andrew Fleming paints a different picture: "...during the time covered by historical records (from the late Middle Ages onwards), these ‘old-fashioned’ sheep were ‘owned’ [by the laird] and at times the subject of financial transactions. For the islanders, expeditions to both Soay and Boreray, combining fowling with sheep management, were part of the annual calendar … The islanders valued both their wool and their meat … the laird charging only two shillings and sixpence for every carcase in the 1890s … the islanders evidently enjoyed Soay meat enough to make regular arrangements to get hold of it, and sometimes to pay for it too’."

The link to the petition is: https://petitions.parliament.scot/petitions/PE2021.

David Buckland and Graham Charlesworth, South Uist.

Joined-up thinking

THERE are many things in this life that are uncertain, but at least we can be assured that R Russell Smith and several other of your correspondents (Letters, May 3, 4 & 5) will give us the bird’s eye view, straight from the horse’s mouth.

AB Crawford, East Kilbride.

Leave the fuzz alone

IT seems to me a hare-brained policy by Police Scotland to require their officers to be clean-shaven ("Police anger at shaving rule", The Herald, May 6). Not only have Police Scotland’s numbers been trimmed, their bristles are about to be too. Police officers do a very demanding job, working hard to help protect the rest of us.

They should be allowed to do their duties, and then relax, and if they wish, fuzz and all.

Alison Ram, Helensburgh.