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Readers’ letters: Energy industry legacy, gamekeepers and circus animals

Mr Simpson's plan would involve moving a North Sea oil rig to Rubislaw Quarry.
Mr Simpson's plan would involve moving a North Sea oil rig to Rubislaw Quarry.

Sir, – While it is wrong that people in any walk of life should feel persecuted, the problems in the gamekeeping world to which Peter Clark refers in his article of July 18 may be an unfortunate manifestation of public anger and concern about the way so much of Scotland is managed purely for the benefit of a small number of people who kill animals for “sport”.

Far from being “key workers without whom iconic landscapes would be devoid of the plethora of flora and fauna that we see in our moorlands, forests and glens”, gamekeepers are perpetuating a system of management which maintains an almost industrial landscape designed to produce grouse for slaughter at the expense of practically all other species and most of the original natural vegetation.

The peculiar patchy patterns created by extensive incineration seen on so many of our hills may be keeping Scotland beautiful in Peter Clark’s eyes but in reality they are evidence of a degraded dreich and mis-managed landscape.

When contrasted with areas where muirburn is not practised the contrast is stark. On such areas our natural indigenous flora and fauna flourish. Peter Clark claims that the work of gamekeepers contributes to Scotland’s net-zero targets. Heather burning destroys young trees which will grow and lock up carbon.

When burning ceases, Scots pine, birch and rowan can establish fairly quickly and over time will enhance the habitat by supporting other wildlife. Muirburning and the construction of hill roads on peatland also lead to much loss of peat – the finest carbon sink we have.

I also think Mr Clark is being overoptimistic about the support from the Scottish Government as Nicola Sturgeon also replied to Rachael Hamilton in Parliament that “the Scottish Government has no plans at this stage to establish a specific taskforce on that issue”.

Colin D Young, South Headlands Crescent, Newtonhill.

Grass scorched on the other side

Sir, – Grant Frazer is in thrall to a perceived nation of contented, wealthy and much happier citizens (Press and Journal, July 19) in his rose-tinted vision for separation from the UK (the fifth most prosperous economy in the world) provided the unapproved October 2023 push for a second vote was supported by his like-minded allies.

Mr Frazer denounces the UK Government for holding back Scotland, but omits to explain the SNP failures after 14 years on promises to scrap council tax, build the A9 and A96 roads to safe dualled standards, or have in place a care system, and deal with demographics as the Scottish population has burgeoning elderly numbers to be managed, and why the finance department do not use the £3 billion borrowing facility.

When we tack on the verifiable failings in Scottish education (PISA records) and happiness and wellbeing from B of S study (the indicators show Glasgow and greater Strathclyde on the 38.5 mark) this underlines the direct impact of 14 years of a party, in one example, whose drugs policy has produced the worst deaths figures in Europe.

In criticising unionist party supporters, whose decisive 2014 result is never and will never be accepted by the SNP, Mr Fraser must realise the prime minister of the day is duty-bound to stand up for the unity of the UK and promote the successful 300-year-old agreement which sees Scotland get the lion’s share as verified, audited and agreed in the annual GERS report.

Hopefully the penny will drop soon for Mr Frazer and others who should realise that an independent republic that cannot finance existing public services, has a dismal record on job creation in the renewables sector, and defends SNP personnel in a variety of misdemeanours, further erodes any confidence that the separatist cause can offer anything of substance to Scots.

The grass is definitely scorched on the other side.

Angus McNair, Clochan, Buckie.

Can the UK really save the planet?

Sir, – Jeff Rogers says “Abandoning net-zero is absurd”. I hope my headline says “Abandoning Net-Zero is sensible”.

Net-zero by 2050 will cost the UK public £3 trillion. There are 67 million people in the UK so net-zero will cost each man, woman and child £45,000 or, alternatively, since there are 27.8 million households, each household will have to contribute £108,000. Do politicians never do their sums?

What will UK net-zero achieve, Jeff Rogers? The UK has a minuscule 1.13% of global emissions but the rest of the world have already abandoned their COP26 promises as they burn coal to keep the lights on.

China will buy gas from Russia for the next 30 years and Russia will supply India with 40 million tonnes of coal and China with 100 million tonnes.

China and India are responsible for 37% of global emissions.

Now knowing these facts, does Jeff Rogers still believe that the UK can save the planet?

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow.

Older generation good role models

Sir, – Every day we hear stories of families struggling to survive as the cost of living crisis bites deeper.

Noticeable among those hardest hit are the seemingly endless flow of single-parent families, almost always mothers with young children, juggling work with childcare and, if the latter becomes unaffordable, giving up work and relying on the state to sustain their existence.

One question always comes to mind as we listen to their stories – where have all the fathers gone?

My generation, boringly conventional, courted the person we wanted to share our life with for, in many instances, years, before becoming engaged and then married.

Only then did we set up house together following the path of previous generations of our families.

In contrast the modern couple, often still in their teens, decide to build a nest together within weeks of their first meeting. Love conquers everything – only it doesn’t.

The inevitable outcome is the girl becomes pregnant and they find themselves immature parents at an age when their friends are still partying.

For many this causes tension and resentment.

The attraction they felt at their first meeting is now much less intense as they get to know each other better.

With the cost of living adding to their growing list of problems the relationship breaks down, sadly on occasions with violence, when the father, with no ties except honour, flees the nest.

Now free, he starts to socialise again and before many months have passed he meets another girl, within weeks a fresh nest is built, with the occupants of the previous all but forgotten.

This leaves the mother, often with more than one youngster, to look after them as best she can.

We may have been uncool but as a couple, not without arguments or hardships, succeeded in raising our families with minimal state aid.

Many of today’s generation would benefit from the example, if not of their parents, more certainly of their grandparents.

Ivan W Reid, Kirkburn, Laurencekirk.

Government has no understanding

Sir, – As an independence voter of 2014 I was asked for comment on the BBC Radio Scotland morning programme with Stephen Jardine on Thursday July 21 and while I cannot join the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party as someone who also backs a fully federal UK favoured by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, for me the former chancellor of the exchequer started a domino effect to remove Boris Johnson MP from office.

The one thing you have the opportunity to do as someone who delivers groceries around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for a living is speak to customers and what was absolutely clear was most people, regardless of politics, regarded him as a complete buffoon of great service to the Scottish independence cause.

I was listening to BBC Radio Scotland the previous day and one of those backing the former chancellor of the exchequer was Andrew Bowie MP and for myself it gives the opportunity for a north-east of Scotland MP such as Andrew Bowie or David Duguid, who represents the constituency of Banff and Buchan, to become Scottish secretary.

It would see the north-east of Scotland represented at the heart of government.

It is completely clear to me, as a Fifer who works in the area, that the Scottish Government have no great understanding of the area. My local MP worked in the oil and gas industry before becoming the local representative and that should be interesting against a Scottish Government who see oil as pretty much redundant.

It also gives Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links (Ruth Davidson) the opportunity to make herself and the 800 or so other folk in the House of Lords redundant.

Who else gets £323 a day just for turning up for their work?

It certainly does not happen in the supermarket I work in or probably many other workplaces I would imagine.

Peter Ovenstone, Orchard Grove, Peterhead.

Glad we don’t see this now

Sir, – After seeing the elephants on parade in Union Street in the Aberdonian last week, I am quite sure I am not the only one who is glad this terrible thing does not happen any more.

These poor beautiful animals should be left in their own coutries where they belong.

I am glad they are no longer used in parades and circuses for our entertainment.

W Wood, Bridge of Don.

Did no one think of this?

Sir, – What an embarrassment to, and abject failure of, the Oil Capital of Europe.

After years of just transition chatter, One North East meetings, conferences, consultations and reports, Elevators, Oil and Gas UK, Council committees and Visit Aberdeenshire, an old oil platform has been towed to Weston-super-Mare – I’ll say that again… Weston-super-Mare – to be turned into an interactive art centre that will be a magnet for tourists.

Can it be true that not one person in any of these august bodies in thousands of hours of discussion and acres of paper came up with one of the best solutions imagineable to create a fitting memorial to such a prosperous, inventive and truly world-leading industrial era and magnet for other cultural and leisure activities and jobs?

A Sutherland, Stonehaven.