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Readers’ letters: Holidays during climate change, bus problems and wind farm myths

Crowds gathered on Aberdeen beach to enjoy the good weather while it lasts. Picture by Kath Flannery.
Crowds gathered on Aberdeen beach to enjoy the good weather while it lasts. Picture by Kath Flannery.

Sir, – We have been warned for years that climate change is going to bring disaster to the planet and repeatedly told that it is essential to reduce carbon emissions.

The media of course have gone into overdrive the past few days over “unprecedented” (one of their favourite words) heatwaves, as they do at times of floods, hurricanes etc.

So why at the same time do we continuously hear about thousands of people being stranded in airports everywhere, having their holidays ruined due to cancelled flights?

Do they not believe in man-made climate change or are their holidays more important? Indeed why was non-essential travel of all kinds not banned long ago? Those who repeatedly warn us of the dangers are often those who fly in private jets for convenience, even to all those COPs, so why should we believe them?

The climate has changed since the world began; the UK was not always an island and the Arctic was not always frozen. Maybe with our greed we are accelerating change but I have yet to meet anyone who claims to be concerned about climate change and allows it to seriously affect their lives.

Brenda Herrick, Castletown, Caithness.

Where are bus bosses now?

Sir, – The curtailment of local bus services is becoming more and more inconvenient to those of us reliant on public transport.

The actions of senior executives at First can be pinpointed as leading us to where we are now.

Andrew Jarvis set about slashing drivers’ wages and conditions, leaving the drivers demoralised and disincentivised, to the point that driver turnover is at an all time high. Now things are in crisis, they, of course, are nowhere to be seen.

Ron Campbell, Richmond Walk, Aberdeen.

Wind farm myths blown away

Sir, – Your correspondent Charles Wardrop lists a catalogue of myths about wind farms. Let us take them one at a time.

Dr Wardrop hints at subsidies; there are no longer any subsidies for wind farms. Power exported from wind farms is now either under private contract or under the so-called “Contracts for Difference” regime whereby developers who bid the lowest price for electricity are approved to supply the National Grid.

Dr Wardrop describes wind turbines as “wildlife killers” but all the scientific studies ever conducted on this matter have shown no significant impact on wildlife (birds, bees or bats).

The sole exception in the world is a wind farm in California which was approved despite clear evidence of impact on birdlife.

Dr Wardrop suggests that manufacturing steel abroad and importing it for assembly carries a CO2 footprint.

Well, this is no different from a host of other structures: oil rigs, high-rise buildings, warships and mobile phone masts to name a few. Will the good doctor be complaining about these in a future letter?

Also, turbine blades need not be consigned to landfill. A company in Germany offers a complete service in recycling turbine blades, recovering the carbon for use in other products.

Dr Wardrop highlights the opinion of the late Sir David Mackay that society should have waited until electricity storage was perfected before deploying renewable wind power.

Successive governments have carried on anyway and a decade later the UK has one of the most advanced renewables markets in the world. The point about storage, though, is well made.

Large-scale batteries are gradually being deployed by the National Grid. Young UK companies are developing other new storage technologies, for example, hydrogen cells, gravity towers and what can only be described as “heavy water” for hydro-electricity. As these technologies become commercial, we will see a rapid reduction in the use of gas power stations on standby.

In summary, wind turbines provide power that is safe, cheap, clean and low-carbon. What’s not to like?

Jeff Rogers, Waters of Feugh, Banchory.

Infrastructure before housing

Sir, – Labour Moray councillor Sandy Keith has an article highlighted in the paper – “Services needed before new homes” – stressing the need for infrastructure before housing.

Over the last few years I have been highlighting the need for exactly that. I must assume that Mr Keith either doesn’t read the local paper or he does read it and has decided that now it could be a vote winner for the Labour Party.

Over the years the Labour Party has seemed the quiet party whereas the SNP are all blow and no glow and the Conservatives in between. I have left out the so-called Independents. In my view if you don’t nail your colours to the mast then you are of no account.

All during the SNP tenure of Moray Council they have been allowing housebuilding at an unprecedented rate without apparent thought to the sitting residents’ need for services.

I am not going to reiterate what has been obvious to the majority of Moray residents but now since one of the quieter political groups has picked up on the dire situation then maybe the more vocal groups will get on board.

So will we see more sewage workers, doctors, council workers, police constables, teachers, nurses, dentists, hospital consultants, etc?

I have suggested many times before that the housebuilder contribution should be more meaningful, from paying for dustbin collection from a new site for 10 years, to subsidising the wages of the number of extra doctors required to support the new estate residents for a similar period.

Naive probably, but ever hopeful that one day the ultimate councillor with vision and that rare commodity – commonsense – will listen to the people of Moray and from that conversation will motivate the other councillors into positive action for the good of Moray.

Finlay G Mackintosh, Loch View, Forres.

Where is the indy mandate?

Sir, – Grant Frazer brands unionists as “undemocratic pariahs” . What a load of balderdash.

His musings on the potential and very hypothetical benefits of independence are just that, as is his nonsense assumption that unionists also all voted for Brexit.

The same old recycled dogma dressed up as fact, taken straight out of the repackaged Nicola Sturgeon yellow Brigadoon Book.

No new concrete plans or ideas, just nebulous comparisons with mainly Scandinavian countries.

Unionist parties obtained fewer seats but more collective votes than SNP and Green at Holyrood so I fail to see where a mandate for referendum exists.

The factual litany of SNP failure in the last 14 years is frankly frightening.

Ferries debacle, drug deaths, hospitals all over budget, fraught with problems and years late, plus others, all set against an ever-increasing and record-breaking unsustainable budget deficit of 22.4% of GDP (April 2021).

Notwithstanding the shaky economics and track record, the SNP and indy supporters seem to think they can blithely usurp the terms of the 2013 “Edinburgh Agreement” signed by Salmond and Sturgeon, particularly this part: “deliver a fair test and a decisive expression of the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect”.

What parts of “decisive” and “respect” did they not understand?

Disrespect, grievance and division has been peddled every single day since the “once in a lifetime” fair referendum. Now, there are the hallmarks of “undemocratic pariahs”!

William Morgan, Midstocket, Aberdeen.

Democracy denied to Scotland

Sir, – May I reply briefly to Morris Kay’s “Don’t hold breath over IndyRef 2” (Letters, July 16)? After decades of Westminster Tory rule, which the people of Scotland have not voted for since the 1950s, it is ludicrous to suggest that even when consistent majority mandates for independence are achieved at Holyrood and Westminster, democracy is denied to Scotland.

May I quote an honest Conservative and Unionist, Ruth Davidson: “If the Greens and SNP or any other parties who have declared an interest in independence, get it over the line and make a majority, then they’ll vote through a referendum. That’s what democracy is all about.”

Grant Frazer, Cruachan, Newtonmore.

I’m still a Johnson fan

Sir, – So Sunak and Truss have declined to appear in another ITV debate.

As possible future PMs they are not fit for purpose.

Boris didn’t run when the knives were out. If there was a general election and Boris ran for it he would win hands down.

When the going gets tough the weak disappear.

T Shirron, Davidson Dr, Aberdeen