FOR some 12 years I travelled each January to Helsinki and never experienced any delays at Helsinki Airport, even though the snow depth was sometimes more than 50cm and the temperatures was as low as –20C. The only delays I experienced were at UK airports on my return, especially at Heathrow when it had1cm of snow. I believe Helsinki Airport closed in 2003, for 30 minutes.

Of course, in Finland all vehicles have studded winter tyres and they do not salt the roads, only plough them. Studded tyres could never be justified here but, surely, if all private and commercial vehicles were required to change to rubber winter tyres, as happens in many other European countries, the traffic would keep flowing better, fewer lorries would jack-knife and lives would be saved.

I hear the transport lobby complaining about cost but it would only be a one-off cost as it would be simply like buying a new set of tyres a little early. Surely the savings in terms of delays and inconvenience would be worth it. Perhaps the Scottish Government could consult on this.

With thanks to the delivery drivers and our paperboy for ensuring that, despite “the beast from the east”’, The Herald has made it to our snowy doorstep in Fife every morning.

Brian Porteous,

Kildene, Westfield Road, Cupar.

NICOLA Sturgeon says that many drivers, especially HGV drivers, ignored the warning not to travel after the red alert was put out by weather forecasters (“Sturgeon hits out at hauliers over road jam”, The Herald, March 2). We left for Prestwick at 11am and there was no warning put out at that point. Drivers had left and and had been going about their business many hours before. If you are many hours from home you cannot just abandon your journey and turn back. It is unfair for the First Minister to blame the drivers.

On Thursday they took note and the roads were quiet. Our trip to Prestwick was fine with very little snow around and we saw three gritters on the M77 as well.

We have been closed for three days due to the “do not travel” advice. This does not help, especially in the south side of Glasgow where the roads are relatively clear of snow.

T Nigel Brown,

Brown, Son & Ferguson Ltd.,

426 Drumoyne Road, Glasgow.

I HAVE been unimpressed by the reaction to a few inches of snow in our city. I dug the car out this morning (March 2) and went for a drive as I couldn’t get a bus, despite local bus companies having skilled staff capable of driving in these conditions. All the major roads were black.

Side roads were passable with care, although there was no sign of any salting even on comparatively busy ones like my own. Our local supermarket, with empty shelves reminding one of the best of Soviet-era Russia and without milk like everywhere else in town, had closed its car park rather than pay to have the access road cleared.

The skills of driving in snow and ice seem to have been lost by the modern generation: much skidding at inappropriate speeds. Don’t start me on those incompetents in the latest model cars with spinning wheels failing to do hill starts. I passed quite a few in my 1955 Austin A30 at a steady 10mph.

I know it’s different out in rural idylls but Edinburgh city centre is affected only by the inhibitions of those who insist on listening to government baby-talk red warnings instead of making their own risk assessments, which are not assisted by the refusal of weather forecasters and broadcasters to give snowfall in feet and inches.

John Hein,

78 Montgomery Street,


WE are having the worst winter for a generation. At 4am (on March 2) I noticed that coal was generating one-third of our electricity.

Metered windfarms were also generating one-third, at 10,100 MW (megawatts). This is all very well when the wind is strong but what would happen if it was not, as on January 10 when wind generated less than 1,000 MW for 36 hours, culminating in a miniscule 270 MW at one point. Westminster says all coal power will be shut down by 2025 without saying what will replace it.

The other aspect that concerns me is all those cars stuck on remote roads. The Government wants us all driving electric cars in the foreseeable future. If a car stuck in freezing conditions were to have its heater running it would have a flat battery in no time, with all the obvious consequences. Battery capacity reduces considerably in freezing temperatures. It’s easy to carry a can of petrol but you can’t carry a bucket of electricity.

Geoff Moore,

Braeface Park, Alness.

SITTING comfortably in front of my little stove as the snow swirls outside I thought I might read more of We Chose to Speak of War and Strife by John Simpson.

At the end of chapter one, A Glamorous Existence? (note the question mark) he quotes part of the poem by James Elroy Flecker, The Golden Journey to Samarkand.

The last verse says:

We travel not for trafficking alone;

By hotter winds our hearts are fanned:

For lust of knowing what should not be known

We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

This is an excellent read about those intrepid people we know as foreign correspondents who often risk their lives for information they seek on our behalf; but I think a debt is owed to all journalists, especially the excellent people working at The Herald, who in their own way also travel the golden road.

Thelma Edwards,

Old Comrades Hall,



THERE are three major football stadiums in Glasgow, each club professing to be a charitable organisation, which is admirable.

With freezing temperatures and snow, why don’t these clubs set aside a place in their stadium for those who are sleeping rough on the streets?

There is ample space within these stadiums which could give shelter. There are toilet facilities and refreshment bars that could be opened to provide hot food and drink.

I’m sure there are other agencies that could provide sleeping bags, blankets and other items to keep the homeless warm.

Let’s see some constructive charity for the homeless now and in the future that these stadiums could provide.

Robert Buirds,

12 Lomond Avenue,

Port Glasgow.