Sir, – I found your articles on the reappearance from the void of the £23 million Inverness Velodrome Project and the clean-up of the £758,350 Inverness Gathering Place structure, of great interest, and indicative of a worrying trend.
As a councillor for a rural area, East Sutherland & Edderton, I have found it increasingly difficult to get Highland Council to carry out even modest and minor repair and maintenance.
As an example, the council snowplough obliterated the Embo bus shelter in March last year and, despite my entreaties, the Embo bairns are still standing in the wind, rain and snow waiting for the school bus every morning.
I am increasingly of the opinion that we now have a two-tier Highland Council. Some urban communities can aspire to luxury items while other rural settlements are denied the basics. I wonder if this is the case with other local authorities?
Councillor Jim McGillivray, Highland Council.
UK’s nuclear test veterans snubbed
Sir, – I write with regard to the disappointment felt by the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Veterans, the service personnel involved in the UK’s nuclear weapon testing programme during the 1950s and 1960s, who have once again been refused the award of a medal by the supposedly independent Advisory Military Sub-Committee (AMSC).
The AMSC have recommended that a medal should not be awarded three times – in 2012, again in December 2020 and the latest was around December 2021. Each time they stated there was not enough risk and rigour. If standing in the proximity of a nuclear blast does not fit their criteria then I don’t know what would.
While 2021 has been another disappointing year for the UK nuclear veterans, both the French and United States nuclear veterans were awarded medals by their governments – the French in January 2021 and the US in December 2021.
Once again the UK Government and the North Korean Government are the only nuclear powers that fail to recognise their nuclear veterans in any way.
On November 17 2021, at Prime Minister’s Questions, the PM, in answer to a question, said: “I will certainly make sure that we get a proper meeting with the representatives of the nuclear veterans.”
This meeting has not taken place yet, but when it does I hope that the PM does the honourable thing and finally awards the UK nuclear veterans the medal that they truly deserve.
Colin Moir, Main Street, Hatton, Peterhead.
Look to Europe for green energy role
Sir, – A sensible suggestion from the European Commission warrants a comment. The Eurocrats have proposed labelling some natural gas or nuclear power plants as “transitional” or “green” investments provided they meet certain criteria. Replacing coal-burning power stations, for example.
The UK has the largest offshore wind farm in the world off the Yorkshire coast. Wind energy accounts for 25% of the total energy generated in the UK. But nil in still air or severe gales.
Orkney hosts the European Marine Energy Centre researching wave and tidal energy. And the Hydrogen Hub Orkney. Geography affirms that we are part of Europe. Meantime, hydro-electric, nuclear and solar must contribute to the controlled transition to total reliance on green energy. Biofuels are a no-no.
The jewel in the crown is the fusion reactor where hydrogen, in the form of deuterium and tritium, combine to form helium releasing neutrons and vast quantities of energy from which electricity can be generated. Essentially pollution-free.
As with Covid, we have to mitigate the effects of increasing atmospheric CO2 and ballooning energy costs. A gradual, determined and concerted approach to greening energy generation is essential.
Can we achieve this transition without generating further crises? And with the help of the European Commission, despite Brexit?
Bill Maxwell, Mar Place, Keith, Banffshire.