WHAT is that you hear? A trumpet? Yes, I am blowing my own trumpet. I have not used a car for 14 years, a decision prompted by concern for the environment and precipitated by the news that the car would not pass its MOT. This is my tuppence-worth.

People living in the country are usually of the opinion that a car is essential, but I have managed with legs and buses. At this point I must confess that for some of that time I have had the benefit of a bus pass.

Some say that they would use buses more if a service or a better service were to be provided. Bus companies would say they would need more subsidy or revenue from fares. Hence impasse, stalemate.

We could consider re-introducing regulation and “nationalisation” at a local level, and pay more in local taxes to pump-prime the deemed improved services. Some would say discontinue free bus passes or at least have means-testing. That is fine as long as we didn’t lose the benefits of increased mobility of elderly, isolated people, the disabled and young people travelling to find jobs.

Although I am pleased with myself (hence the trumpet) I am not complacent. Ignorance is partly to blame for apparent lack of concern for the environment, and George Kerevan gave me a fright with his article on cobalt (Forget electric cars as a solution ... they will only lead us to another disaster, July 15).

I would not be so arrogant as to suggest that people living in the country give up their cars altogether. There will inevitably be some journeys which indisputably could be done only by car, or in the case of infirmity or disability. Vonny LeClerc’s article of Tuesday (ScotRail and the human cost of a failing franchise, August 27) doesn’t offer much hope of encouraging commuters to Edinburgh to leave their cars at home.

I would propose that each car user (town or country) undertake a type of audit of car use. It would of course need to be objective, quantitative and honest or it would be open to self-deception. Such an audit could be applied too to our use of anything which damages the environment or to limited resources such as cobalt, lithium etc.

What’s that? That trumpet again? Aye, but this time it is the trumpet which heralds the imminent demise of the blue planet, now hastened by the fires in the Amazon rainforest.

Robert Mac Lachlan

AS someone now living in Dumfries and Galloway I agree totally with Hughie McNeill’s letter (August 26). I was amazed to find when I moved here that it was not possible to receive STV anywhere in this area as well as in much of the Borders.

It seems that Border TV based in Carlisle has the franchise and will only broadcast daily news, for instance at 6pm, which is restricted to very local news (shared with news from Cumbria) as far as the south of Scotland is concerned. After a recent retuning of Freeview I find there is now a second channel giving Cumbrian news, which is irrelevant to most Scottish viewers.

Surely in this digital age it would be possible to allow viewers in Scotland to access news from the rest of Scotland? This would not necessarily mean losing Border TV in the area; it would simply give a choice. There can’t be many other countries where the main commercial TV channel broadcasts from outside the country while the main commercial broadcaster in the country (STV) is not allowed to broadcast to all of that country.

What’s happening in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh or the Highlands? Don’t ask anyone from Dumfries and Galloway, because they won’t know about it except from a BBC perspective.

I also wonder if this state of affairs is perhaps of significance in the likes of Messrs Mundell and Jack being elected in this area?

Shirley Johnston

AMONG the Brexit furore it was pleasing to note the late Hamish Henderson is to be honoured in the Scottish Parliament next week with a debate and a reception recognising him as one of the “most brilliant Scots of his age”.

A poet, academic, linguist, songwriter and ethnologist, his work was central to the folk revival of the 1950s in Scotland. He also had a distinguished war service in North Africa and Italy and helped Jewish people escape Nazi Germany. Hamish was also heavily involved in the peace movement, anti-Apartheid campaign and campaign for Scottish Home Rule. His great compositions Freedom Come All Ye, which was sung to mark the opening of the Scottish Parliament, and Farewell to Sicily stand well the test of time.

A great internationalist, in this period of Brexit angst we could well do with a world with a few more individuals of the calibre of Hamish Henderson.

Alex Orr

SO the Scottish Tory branch office is diverging more and more from headquarters in England and they no longer share the same concerns, to the point where they feel they need to separate and work independently. But they do not believe in independence, do they? Funny thing that!

P Davidson