Letters to the Editor

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Coastal flooding - Coverage

Madam - Many thanks for the excellent coverage you gave this subject in last week’s Mearns Leader.

The closer one looks at this so called consultation the more of a sham it seems to be. If you have a look at it, you will see that the first 10 pages are un-numbered, then page numbering starts at page six. Not a problem in itself, but the second, un-numbered page needs to be filled in or comments will not be considered, then there are five pages pertaining to terms of use and a further page relating to data sharing.

Questions relating to coastal flooding are on page six with all flooding in Stonehaven on pages 36 to 38.

Realistically, who has the time or motivation to go through the whole document to find the relevant bits? Why is there no guide, table of contents or index provided? And who is then going to post a document weighing 230gmmes back to SEPA?

I am afraid I now think SEPA and the local authorities do not want to get any feedback, just to be able to say they have consulted with the public. Well, I don’t think it’s democratic, fair or reasonable and will be telling our MSPs and Councillors so.

Some comments or quotes next week would be most welcome. The Coastal Flooding Group is not going to let it rest and will be speaking to people face to face over the coming weeks to make sure they know what is happening - or not happening, to be more accurate.

Yours etc,.

Name and address supplied

Thank you - Sir Robert Smith

Madam - Thanks, for the opportunity to try to make my contribution to this past election process. To Sir Robert and you all, 18 years of good work as our MP for West Aberdeenshire, thank you.

Democracy is a tough business.

Time for reflection, and to give the victors their opportunity, there is no other path. My nightmare “display” of fish being before folk is still flying high over the A90 here at Mondynes, and I have retained my Tibetan Prayer Flags, just in case prayer is our only hope. We Riparian Land Trustees believe that the Scottish Government must make immediate changes to watercourse maintenance policy and they are proving hard to engage on the subject.

I am just back from visiting clients in Frankfurt-am-Main in Germany & also in Linz in Austria. Linz is on the Danube. My client, driving me back to the airport, pointed out a sign on the bridge (over the Danube) we were crossing. The sign had been put up to mark the current 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, and marks the border of what used to be the Soviet Sector of Austria. He is certain that being united to face adversity is the best policy. He also advises that we must take care and also respect Russia. It will always be in Europe, whereas we cannot be so sure of the Americans who are far away.

Yours etc,.

Fred & Sandra Powada

Bridge of Mondynes

Fordoun

Cam fan - Prime Ministerial praise

Madam - David Cameron is a man unleashed. He was bruised by failing to win outright in 2010. There was a question mark at the beginning of the 2015 campaign did he really want it. It has only been a couple of days but, already he looks like he feels that he has earned his place in history.

This new found personal confidence and the knowledge that he doesn’t have to put himself before the electorate again will mean that we will get to witness the real David Cameron.

For anyone who is interested in what that may be like I recommend they take a look at Cameron’s favourite prime minister, Harold Macmillan. It was not a coincidence that he used the phrase One Nation in his victory speech in front of No.10.

There will be an answer to the snp tsunami that occurred on Thursday but, it will be a Conservative answer from a man who cares passionately about the United Kingdom.

Yours etc,

Stewart Whyte

Aberdeenshire

Coeliac disease - Symptoms

Madam - Coeliac UK is the national charity for people with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis.

We are urging your readers, in Coeliac UK Awareness Week (11-17 May), to ask “is it coeliac disease?” if they are suffering from any of these symptoms - stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, regular bouts of diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, ongoing fatigue, anaemia, weight loss, or constant mouth ulcers.

If that is you we encourage you to visit www.isitcoeliacdisease.org.uk and take the Coeliac UK online assessment for coeliac disease symptoms and risk factors.

The assessment provides you with a result that you can take to your GP if the result indicates a need for further investigation into coeliac disease.

When people with coeliac (pronounced see-liac) disease eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, the body attacks and damages the lining of the gut where food is absorbed, making it difficult for the body to get the nutrients it needs.

Gluten is found in many every day foods such as bread, pasta, cereals, cakes, biscuits and sauces.

A lack of diagnosis means unpleasant and damaging symptoms recurring on a frequent basis which, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems such as osteoporosis and in some cases, small bowel cancer.

It is estimated that nearly 40,000 people in Scotland have coeliac disease but remain untreated and undiagnosed.

The good news is that coeliac disease is treatable by switching to a strict gluten-free diet for life.

So, in this week of awareness and beyond when you notice these symptoms, be ready to ask yourself “is it coeliac disease?”.

Yours etc,

Myles Fitt,

Coeliac UK

Mental health - Penumbra

Madam - Figures released yesterday show mental health support in Scotland is moving in a positive direction, with fewer mental health related admissions to hospital and a decline in the number of people resident in Scottish psychiatric hospitals.

Although the NHS has played an important part in this progress, a significant contribution has been made by social care providers in the third sector and community organisations.

These organisations offer a wide range of person centred services such as housing support, counselling, wellbeing workshops, employment support and advocacy services which support people with mental health problems to lead meaningful and contributing lives in our communities.

The work of third sector and community organisations has moved mental health care and treatment away from a “one size fits all” model, to one where people are supported to have their care and support built around their needs, choices and aspirations.

However, spending on social care has decreased over the last few years as councils seek to balance their books as austerity measures continue to impact.

The new health and social care partnerships need to address this issue so that these important social care services continue to offer positive outcomes for people.

Yours etc,

Nigel Henderson,

Chief Executive, Penumbra

Fouling solution - Follow the Euro-example

Madam - I always clean up behind my dog, but I always find it frustrating that there is an unsufficient amount of bins for the dog waste.

There’s not many bins around and I know I hate to walk about with a large bag of poo.

But I do understand people moaning about the dog mess.

It’s disgusting the amount of dog mess on the pavements and I would hate for children to be playing in a park with dog mess everywhere.

Why doesn’t the Council do what some of the countries in Europe do and that’s have poo bags fixed on street lamps, just in case someone has forgot to lift theirs... and provide more bins – Yours, etc.,

Name and address supplied

Guide dog’s view - A dangerous parking habit

Madam - Cars that are parked irresponsibly on pavements can cause a potentially dangerous obstruction for pedestrians as it can force them on to the road and into the path of vehicles.

Newly released research by YouGov has shown that three quarters (74%) of people are affected by vehicles parked on the pavement.

Some groups – including people living with sight loss, older people or those with buggies – are at greater risk. A total of 91 percent of respondents living with sight loss who responded to a Guide Dogs survey said that parked cars on the pavement regularly obstruct them.

You can see how dangerous pavement parking can be in real-life video footage, filmed from a guide dog’s view, of a guide dog and their owner having to go out into the road to get around a car on YouTube.

I am urging the public to ensure they don’t park on the pavement. – Yours, etc.,

Renny Thomson

(Address supplied)

A helping hand - Keeping poverty in the public eye

Madam, – As a charity working to support people in financial hardship, we welcome the new report by Academics Stand Against Poverty as it keeps public attention on the real practical issue of poverty.

A huge 83% of low income households told us they’ve seen no sign of their finances improving in the last year, with many struggling to put food on the table for their families or ending up increasingly in debt.

This is having a detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing.

Yet we also found that more than a third of those on low incomes have never checked what financial support could be available to them.

We are working to raise awareness of this support and make it easy to access, and anyone in need can use the free tools on our website – www.turn2us.org.uk – to find out quickly and easily what help might be available.

Organisations like Turn2us exist to get practical help to those who most need it.

We want people to know that that help is available and urge all like minded organisations to make this help as accessible and prominent as possible.

Simon Hopkins

Chief Executive

Turn2us

Return to education - Escaping the poverty levels

Madam, – Now that the egg- fearing Jim Murphy has received his P45, perhaps he should be considering a return to Strathclyde University in order to finish his studies.

It would be interesting to see how he gets on with the current generation of students who have lost the free education and maintenance grants that he enjoyed in the 90s, largely due to his promotion of student loans against union policy whilst president of the National Union of Students.

Whereas the Scottish Government will pay for his tuition, he’ll no doubt manage to maintain a reasonable lifestyle on his Parliamentary Resettlement Grant and Winding-up Allowance – in stark contrast to his fellow students who have to run up student loans in order to maintain themselves at near poverty levels.

That’s always assuming that he isn’t considered to be an English resident, in which case he’ll have to stump up tuition fees too! – Yours etc,

John Hein

address supplied

How does it feel? - Facing a lack of understanding

Madam, – “When my M.E. was at its worst, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t go out. Even washing my hair was tiring.”

This is what one woman living with the chronic, disabling condition Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) told us about her experience for May’s M.E. Awareness Month.

On top of symptoms, including pain, cognitive difficulties and post-exertional malaise – the body’s inability to recover after expending even small amounts of energy – people with M.E. often face a lack of understanding about the condition from those around them.

How does it feel to live with this every day?

You can find out at www.actionforme.org.uk/get-the-facts. –Yours, etc.,

Sonya Chowdhury

Chief Executive