SIR, – Despite the general opposition, it seems the onshore wind turbine crusade is unstoppable.
Inverness, too, is being surrounded by these monstrosities, to the destruction of the celebrated Highland scenic attractions. There is even a proposal to bung some on the hill at Nigg as a welcome for the cruise ships at Invergordon.
There is a benefit to the UK's trade deficit once the overseas manufacturers of the turbines have been paid, but it's going to be small.
It is salutary to note that Germany is reaching the limit of its land-based wind-power production, with reportedly 21,000 turbines generating just 7% of its total electricity consumption. Some German regions are said to achieve up to 40% of their needs, but they are subject to the usual essential backup plant requirement, and to scenic ruination.
I hope that the proposal to put turbines smack in the middle of Peterhead is rejected out of hand, otherwise we'll find one in Falcon Square in Inverness.
St Martins Mill,
SIR, – How sad to read (the Press and Journal, December 29) that Glenfeshie, formerly one of the finest wildlife and sporting estates in Inverness-shire, is to further deplete its native red deer stock to appease the urban-driven conservation brigade.
Forty years ago, almost 200 deer were shot annually on Glenfeshie, which produced a substantial income for the owner and, most important, provided much-needed, all-year-round employment. Deer, in far greater numbers than at present, flourished in harmony with the pinewoods, so what has happened in the interim?
Perhaps part of the answer lies in a management regime which considers aspen, holly and oak to be rare species in the Highlands.
Of course vegetation will “blossom” if deer numbers are reduced. One need only pass by Scottish Natural Heritage’s Craig Meagaidh Estate to witness this and also to sense what the near annihilation of the deer there some years ago brought to that part of Inverness-shire.
To imply that the Glenfeshie pines are among the last in Scotland as an excuse to kill even more deer is arrant nonsense, verging on the emotional.
There are thousands of hectares of ancient Scots pine being regenerated behind fences throughout their native range.
Reducing Scotland’s most iconic and important mammal population to an all-time low is a dangerous game. If it continues, the wild red deer as we know them today will be as rare as the buffalo on the plains of America within a generation.
SIR, – Transport Minister Keith Brown’s recent announcement that public funds should not subsidise the travel costs of people living in the most remote parts of Scotland when travelling on business is as inconsistent as it is shocking for rural enterprises in the islands, Caithness and Sutherland.
Vibrant rural economies are vital if our most remote communities are to survive, and the additional travel costs incurred by businesses in these areas are a fact of life, be they the long distances involved, the highest cost of fuel in the UK or the need to travel by sea and air.
For the minister to announce that, from next year, without any consultation, the air discount scheme (ADS) subsidy will not now apply to residents when travelling on business is a betrayal of any sensitivity or understanding of the needs of our most remote communities.
Moreover, if the minister is true to his principles, we will next see higher fares for business travellers on the state-subsidised CalMac and NorthLink ferries, and train services to Wick and Kyle.
This seems all the more discriminatory when central belt business travellers do not, and will not, have to pay more to use their heavily subsidised bus and rail services, even given the minister’s planned £500million contribution to Edinburgh’s much-delayed and over-budget tram system.
SIR, – Hotelier John Shearer has some nerve pleading poverty because he has had a poor Christmas (the Press and Journal, December 28).
Does he not realise there are millions of pensioners who cannot afford to heat their houses during this cold spell and certainly many thousands for whom a Christmas dinner would have been a dream?
I would have thought that a hotel proprietor would have had the foresight to put something away for a rainy day.
The charges hotels put on a B&B overnight stay can be quite ridiculous. The profit margin during the summer months should be more than enough to cope with the quieter winter months.
How on earth the government could calculate what every scrounger hotelier would be entitled to is a mystery to me, as it obviously is to them.
Hoteliers should learn to deal with situations they cannot change and get on with their lives. It’s not too long till the start of a new season.
SIR, – With reference to Mike Lowson's column (December 29) and his remarks regarding the service he has received from Gleaner Oils, I also have to thank Gleaner for helping me out.
As I am wheelchair-bound, it has been impossible for me to check the level of oil in my tank and I was becoming concerned that I might run short over the holiday period, so I telephoned Gleaner on the Thursday before Christmas to ask if I could have a top-up.
The company could not have been more helpful. I was told that they would try to let me have a delivery as soon as possible and that their tanker driver would check my tank for me.
Imagine my surprise when, within five minutes of me hanging up the phone, the tanker drew up at my tank and a very pleasant driver, who had just happened to be in the village at the time, waded through about a foot of snow to check the level and then came to my door to assure me that I had plenty of oil to last me until Tuesday, when he would come and top up the tank.
On Tuesday morning, I was sitting reading the Press and Journal when the same driver came to the door to let me know that my tank was now full.
10 Stewart Street,