Letters: Time we looked at our own direct sea connections to Europe in the post-Brexit world

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WITH the seemingly increasing problems of queues and tailbacks surrounding the Port of Dover in England, it seems strange that Scottish exporters to Europe (and hauliers) are not using the Scottish alternative of DFDS freight seaways from the Port of Rosyth to the Port of Zeebrugge, Belgium. It is the only direct freight ferry route between Scotland and Continental Europe. Admittedly, they only run three times a week in each direction (I am sure if demand was there, DFDS Seaways would run a more frequent freight service to Zeebrugge). Direct sea connections to Europe are something we need to look at expanding as Scotland moves ever closer to independence.

Let’s look at the figures. Glasgow to Calais (including the ferry to Calais), is 503.9 statute miles. The road route from Aberdeen to Calais is 638.4 statute miles. The mileage from the Port of Rosyth to the Port of Zeebrugge is 467 nautical miles (537.4 statute miles). This is direct. No traffic jams, tiring driving hours, fuel costs, vehicle wear and tear and so on. The driver arrives refreshed for the onward journey.

For the time being, it would make sense for Scottish exporters and hauliers to use Rosyth to connect with mainland Europe, and ensure fast onward distribution to customers in Europe. Who knows, they might even continue to use Rosyth to access Europe, instead of going back to Dover.

William C McLaughlin, Biggar.

A BIAS AGAINST FOX HUNTING

MARK Smith’s article (“Confused, uncaring and inconsistent: the report card on animal welfare in Scotland”, The , January 18) is best described as an exercise in misinformation with an absence of facts and an excess of unsubstantiated prejudice. The fact that only 4.5 per cent of convictions for wildlife crime resulted in custodial sentences would suggest that the vast majority of cases were relatively minor, but Mr Smith merely uses the statistic to create his own fiction.

On raptor persecution, which we all feel is totally unacceptable, Mr Smith relates the disappearance of two hen harriers. It is totally unknown what happened to them, but that did not stop him implying that they were illegally killed just because there was a grouse moor in the vicinity. I assume Mr Smith has heard of the legal necessity for proof, or is that just an inconvenience? Couple that with his obvious lack of knowledge of grouse moors and how they are managed and we get a clear picture of prejudice. The RSPB kills predators on its reserves, so is Mr Smith suggesting that the RSPB also kills raptors? This clearly displays the paucity of his argument.

However, his bias is displayed most clearly in his references to fox hunting. Could it possibly be that his “undercover investigator” was actually a member of the League Against Cruel Sports (ILSC)? The same organisation which was criticised by the legal system for producing falsified evidence? No one could possibly believe this investigator was even slightly unbiased and his quote clearly underlines that fact. Whether Mr Smith likes it or not, fox hunting continues to function within the law.

This work of propaganda falls well below the standard one expects from a newspaper of the standing of The .

David Stubley, Prestwick.

END PROHIBITION ON DRUGS

STRUAN Stevenson (“We’ve had 12 years of a prohibitionist SNP war on alcohol. It has utterly failed”, The January 16, and Letters, January 19) lists the effects of US Prohibition: bootleggers, speakeasies and increased crime. While his views on SNP policies and actions on alcohol abuse are fair comment, there has been no Prohibition.

However, perhaps Mr Stevenson will next deal with the real Prohibition which applies throughout the UK and is not the policy specifically of the Scottish Government – the prohibition on drugs which produces the equivalents of bootleggers and speakeasies, crime which makes life a misery for thousands and fills our prisons, and horrendous death statistics.

The end of Prohibition did not mean the end of control of alcohol sale and use and the mitigation of its damaging effects, and there is no reason why the same should not be the case with drugs. On the other hand, prohibition and the “war on drugs” is the rejection of any real control.

Ronald MacLean, Beauly.

SLIDE-RULE ACCURACY

YOUR picture of the installation of the railway bridge at Anniesland Cross (“Men at work, 1937”, The , January 15) was witnessed by my now-95-year-old father. He tells me that its purpose was to allow the widening of the road into the four-lane thoroughfare we know today.

The frames of the bridge were pre-installed in preparation for the main part of the project. On a Sunday, when there were no trains running out to the then-developing Bearsden and Milngavie, the old bridge was removed, the abutments widened, the east and west frames positioned and the rail bridge, ballast and track installed. Train services recommenced on Monday with no delays.

It was even completed without computers, emails, computer-aided design or social media. A slide rule or two might have made things a little easier at the design stage.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.

CORNISH DELIGHT

HOWEVER much the tourist chief is paid in Cornwall, it isn’t enough. Try spotting a day or evening which doesn’t contain a programme about Cornwall on television. I’m writing this on Monday, January 18. There are three programmes on tonight.

I’m not complaining, I love Cornwall and I’m envious of its coverage. But is the relevant hero available for transfer?

Brendan J Keenan, Glasgow G43.

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