IN one sense I agree that there should be no need for buffer zones around facilities dealing with abortion (Letters, February 16). Having designed a number of maternity units it would not be that hard to incorporate a counselling room for anti-abortion campaigners. There they could engage with women in privacy and free from the elements. We could provide chairs, leaflet space, even a tea facility. As strong believers in choice I’m sure they would welcome women being able to decide for themselves whether or not to take up the offer of dialogue.

Designing a maternity hospital is particularly complex due to the variety of conditions encountered. For instance you have to try and keep separate heavily-pregnant women from those who had suffered a miscarriage as the sight of the former can be a traumatic reminder for the latter. This can take many meetings and discussions. However all that work to achieve an acceptable level of clinical segregation is undone if those who have suffered a miscarriage are forced to run a gauntlet in order to enter the facility.

A counselling room would remove the need for external engagement. It could be designed so that it is both adjacent but ancillary to the main services being accessed. After all, those interested in offering "advice" have stated that they would be content to be “at a reasonable distance from the main entrance to hospitals and clinics”.

Whilst others like Martin Conroy claim campaigners are offering "guidance" you can only fulfill that role if that guidance is sought voluntarily and without feeling pressurised. Choosing to confront people in a public space with banners and leaflets without first knowing their particular circumstances can negatively impact their mental health. Would we consider it acceptable for people to stand outside a cancer centre claiming “God has chosen you to die, repent before it is too late”?

Robert Menzies, Falkirk.

Letters: There is no need for buffer zones outside abortion clinics

Drop-off charges are so unfair

I NOTE that drop-off charges at Glasgow Airport have increased. The charge for the express area will now be £5.50 for 15 minutes, 50p up from the previous cost.

What exactly are people paying for? People have paid airport charges in the cost of their flight/holiday.

It seems to me the ever-inflating charges for drop-off at the airport is an example of people taking money in any way they can whether it's for a service or, as in this case, or whether it's for nothing.

People should be protected from such unfair/uncontrolled charging.

In Spain it's free to drop off where barriers are installed and tickets issues to ensure short stay.

The airline/airport business is more than profitable surely?

Morag Campbell, Milton of Campsie.

The Herald: Why do we have drop-off charges at airports?Why do we have drop-off charges at airports? (Image: Newsquest)

Bravo to Lidl

THE aborted Deposit Return Scheme made Scotland a laughing stock, needlessly costing a fortune in wasted public funds, with the major culprits still steadfastly refusing to take any responsibility for the debacle.

However, the one positive outcome is that Lidl (having invested significantly in the reverse vending (RV) equipment "encouraged" by Circularity Scotland) has decided to trial it anyway. Its customers can now return empty PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic containers and aluminium drinks cans (100ml to three litres) at any of its 21 Glasgow stores. The containers have to be clean and have a readable barcode but needn't have been bought from Lidl. A credit of 5p will be given for every container accepted by its RV machines. It can either be used to offset the cost of the customer's shopping or donated to the STV Children's Appeal.

This initiative is commendable on several fronts: firstly it means Lidl is getting some return on a significant financial investment it made in good faith; secondly it avoids one of the major safety problems with the flawed DRS scheme: that of people having to carry glass containers in bulk to an RV facility; and lastly, the impact on the tonnages of glass, cans and plastic currently being collected at the kerbside by the councils will be much smaller than had the DRS ever worked. The option for making a charitable donation is an unexpected bonus.

The scheme started on February 8 and will run until August 11 this year.

This is just the sort of thinking that Scotland needs to improve our waste recycling performances, devised by people at the coalface rather than those we have sitting in ivory towers dreaming up the next PR stunt.

John F Crawford, Preston.

Support bid for better buses

GLASGOW buses have had a sorry history in recent years, with declining passenger numbers and often unreliable service. One of the latest horrors was the threat to cancel night buses. This has been resolved in the short term, but we need a much better service in the Glasgow area for social, economic and environmental reasons.

Currently, bus companies decide where and when to run buses. Re-regulation would follow the example of Manchester and give local authorities the powers to plan bus routes and the timetables.We also need to put a cap on bus fares; these days Glasgow fares are more expensive than Edinburgh, Manchester and London.

In March, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) announces whether it will look at re-regulation of the buses. So, if you want to see this happen, please sign the "Better Buses for Strathclyde" petition asking for exactly this. The people of Glasgow deserve a better bus service and if the council wants to deliver the bright future they keep talking about, people need to be able to get to those new jobs.

Joyce Pountain, Glasgow.

Read more: Plan to double council tax designed to mask Scot Gov failures

The nuisance of wide hedges

I DON’T feel particularly strongly about the issue of pavement parking, though having once had to take my wheelchair-using mother out onto a busy road to get past a car I generally support the fines. I’d point out though that it easy for a local authority to vilify and fine car owners. It plays well with its "use non-existent, noisy and dirty public transport" message.

In the area where I live, however, there is a further issue that is also fairly prevalent, that of homeowners with hedges that go out beyond their property on to the pavement. There are a number of places where pedestrians require to go single file and the issue is often compounded by car parking. Since such hedges are also within the remit of the local authorities perhaps they could get their wardens to fine the homeowners at the same time, sort of two for one bargain.

Angus MacEachran, Aberdeen.