SIGNS WON'T SAVE BADGERS
Dear Ed, — I write in response to the article on badger road signs.
I have sympathy with campaigners wanting to protect our wildlife but I'm in general agreement with the comments from the council that static signs, such as those on Mauldslie Road in Carluke, are unlikely to work.
The reason is that motorists do not slow down and, even if they did, they would still hit badgers as I did travelling at 15 mph at a site I knew as a crossing point; the badger simply ran under the car.
There is talk of 'intelligent signs' that detect badgers at the road side and illuminate a warning sign, but these need fencing to concentrate the badgers at crossing points and this is expensive to install and maintain.
In Germany I saw a sign that included the time the badgers would be crossing and this is some improvement.
To illustrate what can be done I use the case of two otter incidents as they and badgers have much in common but are, perhaps, even more vulnerable.
The first was a live otter on Garrion Bridge; the reason for this is the weir upstream where the otters decant onto the bank.
The bank at this point is a wall that rises all the way to the bridge so the otter cannot negotiate the weir safely and ends up on the road as it tries to travel downstream.
I saw another dead otter at the M74 bridge over the Clyde at Strathclyde Park where the otter could not pass beneath the bridge and was killed as a result.
The reason for both these incidents is infrastructure design that does not take animals into consideration. Action can be taken at the design stage to install under or over road crossing points for vulnerable animals and this is where campaigners can have a significant impact.
I know from my work as an ecological consultant that engineers do need assistance to realise badgers are in the area and how to help them negotiate barriers to movement.
This usually means a ledge along the side of the bridge or a dry tunnel away from the water a little way up the bank.
In the meantime useful work can be undertaken to identify points where roads form formidable barriers to animal movements such as where the North Calder Water meets the Clyde at Daldowie; here animals cannot negotiate the three bridges. This effectively separates the Calder and Clyde animal populations. — Yours etc.,
BANK ON OWEN
Dear Ed — On behalf of the 'Bank on Owen' campaign team I would like to thank all the people of Lanark who took the time to sign our petition calling for New Lanark pioneer Robert Owen to be commemorated on Scottish banknotes.
A few weeks ago the campaign team spent a day in Lanark distributing
petitions around local businesses and were delighted to secure the support of several hundred local people.
Over 2000 people have now signed the 'Bank on Owen' petition and we now have the support of a majority of MSPs, The Association of British Credit Unions, Co-operative, Mutuality Scotland and the Scottish Government.
We have written to Scotland's three main banks asking them to give serious consideration to ensuring that this remarkable man is honoured appropriately in time for the United Nations Year of the Co-operative in 2012.
The beliefs and practices of Robert Owen remain as relevant today as they were in his own time. — Yours etc.,
Bank on Owen Campaign,
35/1 Parkside Terrace,
DOG BINS PLEA
Dear Ed, — Can someone explain why there are no bins around Lanark Racecourse?
We walk our dog there regularly and clean up; however, there are no bins.
It is disgusting how people hang their dogs' dirt bags on fences or just leave them on the ground. Take it home.
Please can we have bins? Yours etc., —
Dear Ed, — In light of the economic climate, I was moved to write this poem.
Ode to a Jobseeker
I am a drain on the Benefit State,
Part of the pestilent host.
I am the social outcast,
The unemployable ghost.
Our numbers are slowly rising,
In percentages not in name.
The economy dips and suffers,
My kind are to blame.
I will take, and take, and take,
I will bleed you dry.
I am the benefit's vampire,
'Give me', is my cry.
But do you ever really see me,
Amongst the unwashed horde.
Peered at me from ivory towers,
You, the employed little lord.
My weekly visits, my regular 'hajj',
To that depressing dismal hole.
Just, please let me sign and get out,
That is my only goal.
My routine is endless searching,
I seek but cannot find.
Oh, to be so unwanted,
Playing on my mind.
Passed over for job parole,
Rejected time after time.
Imprisoned by the Benefit State,
Joblessness my crime.
I ask no more than to work again,
To show you I am worthwhile.
I need to have a purpose,
To live, to breathe, to smile.
Carnwath Road, Carluke.