TOP marks to Lesley Riddoch for a splendid article on climate emergency (It’s game on for a new future ... but we all must grasp the green thistle, May 2).

As a retired farmer I see changes to land usage as a key issue and have realised a move towards “green organic agriculture” is vital. Integrating cattle with variegated a-forestation and the planting of grouse moors are two examples which might fit the Highlands.

READ MORE: We need a brand new Scotland that doesn't look like Britain

Forward-thinking farmers and landowners who have the means to try out methods of food production which reduce emissions, maintain soil fertility and protect the wider environment should be encouraged by reworking the current support to agriculture. Much stands in the way, not least Brexit and farming’s bank balance.

Commercial inertia is a powerful force. How to stay in business and fund the essential changes our future survival demands? There will be fresh opportunities for those who adapt. Farmers with their feet on the ground should start thinking now. Society is on the edge.

Iain R Thomson

I am delighted to see that the University of Dundee has been awarded top place for forensic science. Many congratulations to them. Clearly a centre of excellence in science and technology. With carbon capture and green technologies key to the growth of Scotland’s economy and prosperity and so also the wider world, let’s hope the other Scottish universities can reach such heights in their STEM departments. Never has it been more important that our universities work towards leading in these crucial technological areas.

Iona Easton

I WRITE to support the aspiration of your correspondent Jennifer Andres (Website comments, May 3) for the introduction of free public transport.

Public transport for residents has been free in Tallinn in Estonia for a while now and I am aware that there is an aspiration for free public transport to be extended to cover the whole of Estonia. I understand also that there are plans to make public transport free in Luxembourg. Given the climate change problems we face and the problems caused by traffic congestion and demands for parking space, I believe we should be seriously looking at free public transport in Scotland’s main urban areas if not yet the whole of the country.

There is no doubt that this would be expensive for the public purse and there would be implications for the taxpayer, but in seeking to reduce private car use and dependency we must use carrots as well as sticks.

At present a lot of time, money and effort is being put into the development of “smart” ticketing systems and in my view this effort is misplaced and the resources should be put instead into removing the need for all tickets other than a travel entitlement card.

For a long while we have accepted that both healthcare and education provision are largely free at the point of use and funded through taxation but the individual can choose if they so wish to purchase both healthcare and education. The time has come to extend this principle to transport.

Starting in urban areas, but over a period of time extending across the whole country, public transport should be available free but people will of course still be free to use their own private transport at their own expense. For all visitors to Scotland a very simple charging system would be put in place based on zones and durations. The time has not yet come for free public transport, but I believe its time is coming.

Cllr Andrew Parrott

TO be kind to Catherine Smith, perhaps she is so inured to political nepotism that she cannot see the irony in her article in Friday’s edition (We want to get people into politics – here’s why that is vitally important, May 3). She promotes political inclusiveness as the chair of her father’s foundation which has just appointed the ex-leader of his party. The public has largely lost confidence in politicians exactly because of this cronyism.

READ MORE: Catherine Smith: Our work getting people into politics is vital

The ultimate irony is that the new appointee will be replaced in the Scottish Parliament by someone who no-one ever voted for but who will have got the job through party sycophancy and the grotesque electoral system foisted on the people of Scotland.

Ian Richmond
Dumfries and Galloway

THE day John Smith died was one of the saddest days of my life. He belonged to a small and elite group of politicians who are admired and respected by friends and political opponents alike. His legacy is one of decency and integrity, and it is a matter of deep regret to me that his name will now be linked to the vacuous Kezia Dugdale, whose legacy could not be further from his, and which was recently and perfectly encapsulated by Kevin McKenna. Would that someone worthy of John Smith’s memory had been selected.

Joe Cowan