Two articles in today's Herald were of great interest, not only individually, but more especially when read in relation to one another. On the one hand Parents for Future Scotland have expressed support for Glasgow's low emissions zone and have highlighted other measures necessary to make our streets less polluted and safer for children, drawing attention for example to the dangers of car engines idling and the need to deter parking on pavements (“Parents backing low emission zones have challenge for the city council”, The Herald, September 20).

This environmental plea is reinforced by Julie Proctor of Greenspace Scotland who highlights the benefit to physical and mental health of open green spaces including Scotland's many public parks (“Scotland's parks need our love and support”, The Herald, September 20).

I enjoy, and always have done, walking in parks and recognise the many benefits of these places described by Ms Proctor. On my way to collect my morning paper, I walk through my local park and am invariably struck by the number of people who stop to chat or exchange pleasantries.

On exiting the park, which is close to a large secondary school, I am immediately confronted by the "school run". Large convoys of cars, all idling, waiting to enter or exit the school playground to drop off pupils. At the nearby mini-roundabout the sights and sounds are often of bad-tempered motorists blasting their horns, faces contorted in rage gesticulating in an aggressive way. The contrast in human behaviour with the park strollers could not be starker. Greenery and nature is life affirming, the role of the motor car is too often dehumanising.

It lifted my spirits when I read the two articles referred to. The spirits are less inflated when I hear of the "rights of motorists". We cannot wave a magic wand, abolish cars and have perfect public transport but we must recognise the problem and start somewhere sometime. Too many people pay lip service to this imperative.

Brian Harvey, Hamilton

The reality of shrinkflation

During the recent times of soaring food prices, and against a backdrop of higher production costs, many manufacturers have resorted to passing on price increases through the back door by reducing the size of specific products.

I first noticed this a few months ago when two products which we purchase regularly were both reduced in size: Anchor butter and Colgate cavity protection toothpaste. I contacted the manufacturers (Arla Foods and Colgate-Palmolive) to check whether the percentage reduction in product size had been reflected in a corresponding reduction in the Recommended Retail Price. I specifically asked about the relevant “RRP” for these products; however it proved a challenge trying to obtain a clear answer. I chased my contact-us submissions by e-mail and received evasive responses which didn’t even mention RRP.

Not being one to give up easily, I decided to write (yes, a good old letter, envelope and stamp!) to named company directors at their head office addresses. I eventually received replies from both companies; however, yet again they cleverly managed to fob me off with vague responses. After some searches on the internet, I discovered that at least two other products I buy, namely McVitie’s digestives and Penguin biscuits, are also now being sold in slightly smaller packs. My research threw up a new word for my modern-day vocabulary – “shrinkflation”.

It used to be said that the Penguin biscuit eventually became much smaller after it had been widely advertised in the 1980s, or was that just an urban myth? The current ploy where companies reduce product sizes is factual, and readers will no doubt experience this in virtually every aisle of their superstore.

Brian Watt, Edinburgh

Costly arrogance on Edinburgh trams

Lord Hardie’s long awaited and costly report on the trams fiasco makes grim reading but importantly lays bare the utter incompetence of this SNP administration in dealing with infrastructure procurement and highlights their arrogance in spending decisions relating to the public purse.

Lord Hardie details failures across all aspects of the project but perhaps his comments relating to John Swinney and his “lack of candour” around his telephone conversation with Transport Scotland director Ainslie McLaughlin is the most telling. The SNP tried to scrap the whole project when they entered Government and were defeated. Is it just possible that it was in a fit of pique, that John Swinney intervened and made the dreadful decision to instruct Transport Scotland to “scale back” their involvement and so remove a key “oversight” role?

This instruction from John Swinney, in effect, gave himself the powers for direct involvement when in reality this should have been the role of Transport Scotland. Finally it appears yet again, that no one in Government, Transport Initiatives Edinburgh or Edinburgh Council faces any penalty whatsoever and it is the public and the public purse that bears the brunt of their arrogance and incompetence.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

So what about the ferries?

I'm sure the belated tram inquiry report has made for very disturbing reading for John Swinney and the SNP. Lord Hardie has made it clear that Government interference was a major factor in the debacle.

We can now understand why the SNP Government is so reluctant to order a judge-led inquiry into the ferry fiasco. There can be few people in Scotland that don't believe that the root cause of this crisis was political interference with the procurement process, not to mention several years of political underfunding of new ferry builds.

It's sad to say that our so-called politically neutral civil service and quangos, with some notable exceptions like Audit Scotland, have become political lackies to the SNP Governing party.

Ian McNair, Cellardyke

Ronnie never forgot his roots

A short footnote to David Leggat’s excellent tribute and analysis of Ronnie Mackinnon’s career (The Herald, September 19th). Ronnie book-ended his professional career with appearances for Carloway FC, the amateur hometown club of his mother’s family on the Isle of Lewis. Ronnie and his brother Donnie would both turn out for Carloway in the Lewis and Harris League in 1959 whilst on holiday on the family croft. Twenty years later in 1979 and back visiting from South Africa, Ronnie would help Carloway out in a local cup semi-final aged 38. A true star who never forgot his roots.

Graeme Miller, Carloway, Isle of Lewis