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Readers’ letters: Driving tests backlog, Princess of Wales’s speech about addiction and the impacts of ferries fiasco

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Sir, – My grandson has had 14 driving lessons, passed his theoretical test and satisfied his instructor that he is ready for the practical test. DVLA have advised that, due to a backlog, it will be the end of March 2023 before any practical test can be scheduled.

My grandson lives in a rural area with poor public transport and is reliant on private transport to get to work.

With the present cost of living crisis, I consider it unacceptable to expect any working-class family to pay £35 a week for driving lessons until the end of March 2023.

With the addition of a £72 fee for the actual test, the extra expenditure would be around £700.

My grandson will not be alone in this predicament.

I suggest that the DVLA license several reputable driving instructors to conduct tests on their behalf.

No self-respecting driving instructor would risk his or her professional reputation to pass any unfit driver.

Rather than government services blaming their woes on Covid, they need to seek creative solutions to current problems.

Our youth need hope for the future.

Derek Littlejohn, Bloomfield Place, Aberdeen.

UK Government is confusing country

Sir, – I am not surprised this country is confused, with the recent change of three prime ministers and chancellors in the past few months.

The government continues with things like people buying petrol, milk and such like by the litre. You go to the pub and ask for a pint of beer, yet if you order a spirit it is in millilitres.

If you buy a car they say it will do so many miles to the gallon but we buy in litres, try converting that.

We half-converted when we were in the EU, but now we are out the confusion continues.

Don McKay, Provost Hogg Court, Torry, Aberdeen.

Let’s clear the air on climate change

Sir, – I was interested that two quite similar letters were published in response to that of Matthew Clubb, both explaining that in fact the amount of CO2 is negligible in causing climate change and that for instance the sun, clouds and ocean currents are more likely to be the cause (October 27).

Such is the hysteria surrounding the question of climate change that these views are rarely put forward. Charles Wardrop in particular urges changes in our present policy, which simply assumes it is all our fault.

There can be no doubt that the climate is changing, nature is telling us that in all sorts of ways, but there have always been changes in our climate. You have only to consider the term biblical, so often used to describe some of the major events to realise it has been going on for thousands of years.

Meantime we have decided to respond by working for net zero and trashing much of our present society.

For instance, we allow wind farms all over our lovely countryside, regardless of the damage they do to the local environment, not to mention getting them there in the first place.

We decide that petrol should not be used in cars, and imagine we can afford electric cars, hoping somehow that we can get them charged, and we decide that we should remove coal fires from some of the poorer people in our society, as was done last winter.

Surely a better way, as hinted by Charles Wardrop, would be to spend the money on mitigating the effect of climate change with things like more flood defence, or putting electric lines where they can’t be blown down by trees.

Or simple things like encouraging the burning of heather on hillsides, which we are told will help when wildfires are started.

There must be lots of other things that could sensibly be done in a positive way, without making things unnecessarily difficult for people. And we should remember that not everyone can afford some of the changes being suggested, heat-pumps and the rest.

Sheila Maxwell, Formaston Park, Aboyne.

Sheltered from addiction fallout

Sir, – Having spent a lifetime as a common working man, believing we are “abune them a”, there is nothing that gets my back up more than those in privileged positions giving advice on issues of which they have little knowledge.

Now we hear from Catherine, Princess of Wales, saying that “no one chooses to become an addict, recovery is possible” and that the public should show a more sympathetic attitude towards addiction.

While I agree that becoming an addict is not of choice, taking drugs in the first place – despite the millions spent in warning the young of the adverse effects – is a lifestyle choice, and just like alcohol, gambling or any pursuit that is enjoyed to excess sometimes the pleasure becomes pain when what you enjoy so much turns and kicks you in areas that bring tears to your eyes.

Luckily for Catherine, she does not live in an estate where decent folk live in fear that someone she advocates should be treated with compassion invades their property in search of anything that can be sold to buy their next fix, few cans of strong lager, or finance the next life-changing bet.

Even their own families are not immune, with parents and grandparents being terrorised in the search for money.

I have yet to hear of any residence belonging to the good lady or any member of her increasingly extended family being ransacked in the search for loot.

She lives in the fairytale world of privilege where banquets and shaking hands is the norm – we live in the real world where acts of depravity to people and property leave little room for sympathy.

Ivan W. Reid, Kirkburn, Laurencekirk.

Less talk and more action for the planet

Sir, – At COP26, 120 world leaders, 22,274 party delegates, 14,124 observers and 3,886 media representatives gathered in Glasgow – a total of 40,404 people. COP26 created 102,500 tons of extra emissions and UK taxpayers funded the cost of £100 million.

A recent report from UN Climate Change shows that actions remain insufficient to limit a global temperature rise to 1.5C by the end of the century.

In fact, the combined pledges of the 193 parties under the Paris Agreement put the world on track for 2.5C of warming. Nothing has been achieved in 27 years.

The UK must no longer attend these talking shops and refuse to contribute UK taxpayers’ money to the $100 billion Climate Fund to developing nations – especially since the world’s biggest polluter, China, gets the biggest slice. India has said it will demand that the $100bn Climate Fund funded by the UK and other developed nations is raised to $1 trillion.

My appropriate response would never be published.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow.

Islands travel sunk by the ferries fiasco

Sir, – This past few days a relative of mine had an important visit to a company on the Isle of Arran using the ferry from Ardrossan – sadly he had to wait a long time on getting there and coming back to the mainland.

He had been told that the ferries had been cut back from two vessels to one and that therefore caused major problems.

With the present SNP– led Holyrood Parliament stating that the ferries being constructed at Ferguson Marine have a completion date very far into the future it would seem that the population of the Western Isles, as well as all the companies that produce many items, are not being treated with the respect that they deserve.

They need help now not in the far-off future otherwise there will be many people and companies leaving the islands. With a lot of major tonnages of idle ferries around the world, I would think it wise for Holyrood to try and hire some to stop the rot.

The people and companies in the Western Isles as well as Orkney and Shetland deserve more, and instead of the SNP saying bad things about other UK political parties they should now do something about this situation and get on with helping those people or – in a real-world – resign en masse now.

Gavin Elder, Prunier Drive, Peterhead.

Are council’s plans just pie in the sky?

Sir, – I am writing to express my concern at the pie-in-the-sky Aberdeen beach development indicated in your newspaper. In a time of rising prices and fuel cost excesses I have never seen such a waste of money, both in the council’s plans and in this farcical Dons stadium being presented in its proposed location.

They already have a scheme approved adjacent to the western bypass which should be developed.

The Dons management are trying to promote this scheme as some sort of green development – it’s a ploy to extract some cash from the council’s taxpayers’ funds, which are excessive in any case.

To provide this stadium it is noted that an ice skating rink, flumes and swimming pools with gym have mysteriously vanished – they are probably closed as the council is saving on the heating and lighting.

At the southern end of the development the Cadona’s funfair, supermarkets and the Inversnecky Cafe etc have also disappeared. I do not see any benefit in the proposals at all.

The Pier is also a hazard to the surfboarders and fish. Where is the esplanade road providing access and exit for traffic coming to and from the city centre, which is used by thousands of cars each day?

Where do the council officials get these pie-in-the-sky dreamers in any case?

May this scheme never come to fruition.

By the way, I liked the Union Terrace Gardens as they were, this would also have saved millions and possibly allowed the local authority to cut the council tax.

I believe the Victorian toilets have been upgraded and are reopening, which is good news as the council’s provision of public facilities is lamentable.

J Glennie, Hammerfield Avenue, Aberdeen.

Demonisation of CO2 just absurd

Sir, – Messrs Bryce and Wardrop are right to question the absurd demonisation of CO2 (Letters, October 27).

In fact, they have a very powerful scientific ally.

We are told that CO2 is causing climate change – how many people even know the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere? Very few. Tell them that it is about 420 ppm (parts per million) – blank look. An actual percentage – 0.04% – is better.

But this works – 100 years ago, for every 10,000 molecules in the air about three were CO2, now it is about four. That causes climate change.

Consider this. CO2 is a weak greenhouse gas absorbing infra-red in two narrow ranges. Water vapour absorbs over a much wider range and, on average, it is about 3% – about 60 times the concentration of CO2.

Climate changed due to CO2 is a myth – the hypothesis of global warming from man-made CO2 depends on a much-repeated narrative about it trapping infrared (IR) photons leaving the earth.

A beguilingly simple idea, although a host of assumptions underlie it. One of these is that the radiative photonic absorption – emission interactions of the trace gas CO2 – dominate heat movement in the atmosphere, and it turns out this argument, a pillar of the global-warming theory, is false. It was refuted in advance by none other than Albert Einstein in 1917.

George Herraghty, Lhanbryde, Moray.