Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Readers’ letters: Woolly metrics for the Haudagain

Haudagain roundabout from the air
New Haudagain bypass as seen from the air. Photograph by Paul Glendell.

Sir, – In three years’ time Transport Scotland will have completed a detailed assessment of the Haudagain Roundabout in Aberdeen based not only on cost, traffic volumes and travel times but also on environment, safety, economy, integration and social inclusion.

How on earth can they measure these woolly parameters?

The answer is they can’t but it’s something in the bank for three years’ time if the only real measurement – time taken to get to work – hasn’t improved.

Allan Sutherland, Willow Row, Stonehaven.

Highland Council’s disgusting attitude to Queen’s Jubilee

Sir, – I have been totally disgusted by the Highland Council’s lack of effort in celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

They were more than happy to apply previously for city status, but now seem to feel they do not have to do anything to commemorate the person who gave them that status.

When you consider there are over 16,000 events over the rest of the country, and that other councils have waived the fees to close streets so communities can have street parties, I look at our efforts and feel so embarrassed.

All the items that are being advertised, are by companies charging people.

I have just seen a few tiny notices of “bring your own picnic” at the end of my estate.

Does the council not realise that not everyone is pro-independence?

Nor seem to realise what a great opportunity it has missed to not only bring communities together, but also to raise funds.

On a different subject, I wonder if someone can tell my why some Airbnbs in the Highlands are coming up as being hosted by Highland Council?

Simone McNaught, Drakies Avenue, Inverness.

Why Polaris nukes landed in Scotland

Sir, – Loch Linnhe follows the line of the Great Glen fault and is the only sea loch along the fault.

It is about 30 miles long with a maximum depth of 492ft.

HMS St Christopher was a coastal forces training base of the Royal Navy operational during the Second World War and located at an Admiralty floating dock moored at Corpach.

After the base closed it was thought the military had no interest in Lochaber.

In March 1960, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan met US president Dwight Eisenhower at Camp David to discuss where the US Navy’s Polaris boats could be sited.

Mr Macmillan tried to persuade Mr Eisenhower to consider less populated areas for the submarines carrying Polaris, including Loch Linnhe in the Highlands. Rather than having atomic weapons stored at Holy Loch on the Clyde, within 30 miles of Scotland’s biggest and most populous city, Macmillan suggested: “Loch Linnhe would be a far better location.

“From a security point of view a robust population of 3,000 or 4,000 at Fort William is much more to my taste than the rather mixed population of the cosmopolitan city of Glasgow.”

The president agreed that it would be a better option, but objected on the basis his men would not accept the remote location. He said the servicemen should have access to a city for “comfort, morale and amusement”.

And so the Clyde Naval Base Faslane on the Gare Loch is known as the home of Britain’s nuclear weapons.

If not deployed, they are stored in vaults in RNAD Coulport (Royal Naval Armaments Depot) near HMNB (Her Majesty’s Naval Base) Clyde near Faslane.

Today there are 220 nuclear weapons in Scotland. How many in the rest of the UK?

Lachie Mor MacDougall, Glenloy Street, Fort William.

Ill wind blows for householders

Sir, – In his letter, Mr Peter Smith asks a very simple question – why are we paying so much for electricity?

Here is the explanation. In case he hasn’t noticed, power prices have doubled in wind industry-deluded Britain. They are expected to treble in October.

In the UK, higher energy prices are poised to push an estimated two million additional households into fuel poverty, taking the total to six million, the highest level of fuel poverty in more than 25 years.

Far from becoming cheaper, meticulously audited accounts from the wind industry itself prove wind power is actually becoming even more expensive. Ongoing operating, maintenance, repair and replacement costs are rising exponentially.

In 2019, subsidies for wind power in Scotland cost consumers £954 million. Fortunately for the Scots, this subsidy is absorbed by the National Grid and charged out to all UK customers. If Scottish householders had to pay for it themselves, it would cost every household £367 a year.

And that does not include all the other additional costs for integrating wind power, such as constructing transmission lines. Nor does it include the extortionate cost of essential back-up whenever the wind stops.

We are effectively paying for two systems running in parallel.

As at January 3 this year, according to data compiled by the Renewable Energy Foundation, we have been forced to pay £1,076,455,630 in “constraint” payments to the wind industry for providing absolutely nothing and the majority is paid out in Scotland by all UK consumers.

According to the annual medium-term OBR forecasts, subsidies for renewable energy have cost the public £78 billion in the last 10 years. This equates to about £3,000 per household.

If poor Mr Smith, or anyone else, is expecting ever-so-cheap wind power any time soon, heaven knows what expensive will look like.

George Herraghty, Lhanbryde, Elgin.

Waste time – or move my account?

Sir, – In 1961 I spent most Thursday lunchtimes standing in a hangar with several hundred others waiting for my name to be called, and then I would march up to the table, stand to attention, salute, state my number, rank and name, then extend my hand for my pay.

Although on alternate weeks they would start at Z instead of A, with a name like Mackintosh I always missed lunch. When we were given the opportunity to get paid through the bank I was first in the queue.

The first account was with Lloyds and then in 1969 on posting to Kinloss I had it transferred to Bank of Scotland Forres branch.

Most if not all customers of the branch will be sad to see it closing – most of the staff are going to Nairn and I was not looking forward to the travel aspect.

But my recent experience has made me consider my banking options.

Due to the BoS anti-fraud protection software I had several transactions declined – embarrassing but not life-threatening.

So on Monday morning I turned up at the branch and spoke with the teller and explained; she looked at the computer and said take a seat and one of the staff will look in to it for you.

A couple of minutes later I was called over to the customer relation windows and explained it to the girl, she took details and got on the phone. She said that there would be at least a 30 minute wait; 35 minutes later she got through and then after explaining was transferred to another team.

After waiting a total of 50 minutes I said I would wait no longer. She said that I would have to go through the same thing again as my card couldn’t be cleared until I spoke with the team concerned.

She apologised and explained that I couldn’t have picked a worst time with four-day jubilee celebrations, on a Monday and in the morning.

Anybody that knows me will wonder at me even waiting 10 minutes, never mind 50.

On reflection the member of staff was very good (as they all are) but she wasn’t able to do anything that I couldn’t do from my house phone.

This got me thinking.

If I have to bank online then it would be better with a company that specialises in that field.

Finlay G Mackintosh, Loch View, Forres.

Will FM speak up on walkout?

Sir, – The walkout by the Greens on Wednesday June 1 was a disgraceful act. Rather than join in with other MSPs and congratulate the Queen on her platinum anniversary they trooped out of the Holyrood chamber while Parliament was in session.

Unless I am mistaken, part of the oath of allegiance when being sworn in as an MSP states, and I quote: “I swear by almighty God… and bear true allegiance to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth.”

The Greens’ actions could be construed as not in keeping with my understanding of the word allegiance, more so when such a callous show of contempt was directed directly at the monarch.

The Greens’ appearance on the political stage in Scotland was never really intended but, thanks to a power-mad first minister who required their coalition support in Holyrood to ensure a ruling majority, they now occupy two ministerial cabinet positions.

There will be no apologies from the Greens but what will FM Sturgeon have to say on the question of the walkout?

Will it be something which cannot be construed as offensive to the Green Party, or could it be an occasion where she may fully endorse the actions of her coalition colleagues?

Going on Nicola Sturgeon’s past record I have little doubt she will succeed in talking her way out of this one too.


City dodged a bullet

Sir, – Looking at the picture of the Granite Web proposal for Union Terrace Gardens, I can almost smell the aroma of stale wee from revellers who have sneaked under the concrete structures – regardless of CCTV – to relieve themselves.

I can also hear the clatter of skateboards echoing around the gardens and I can picture the crude graffiti – we’re not talking Nuart here – adorning the concrete walls. And no one ever satisfactorily explained what was going to lie beneath the raised gardens.

I reckon we dodged a bullet there, financially and aesthetically. But why didn’t our elected members resurrect the Peacock plans after booting out the Granite Web proposals? Too obvious perhaps?

Jonathan Mitchell.