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Readers’ letters: The dangers of LED street lighting, the timing of strike action and free electric vehicle charging

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Sir – I applaud Ailsa Sheldon’s article (Press and Journal, November 22). Better policy, policing and planning are needed to make our streets safe.

The lack of women on our streets on a winter’s evening goes largely unnoticed and it is good to see someone highlighting the safety concerns associated with poor street lighting. There is, however, a group of women I would like to include who go even further beneath the radar.

The switch from sodium to LED lighting on our streets is having a devastating effect on the health of significant numbers of people, predominantly women, who are unable to tolerate the flicker and glare of this form of lighting.

Symptoms include searing eye pain, debilitating headaches, skin rashes, dizziness, fainting and vomiting. The prevalence of this new form of lighting means that people with severe symptoms are unable to go out after dark at all during the winter months leaving them socially isolated and virtual prisoners in their own home for much of the day.

At LightAware we continue to increase awareness of this hidden disability and provide support for light-sensitive people who are struggling at this time of year.

Fiona Thomson, LightAware, Aberdeen.

Timing of strikes is most inconvenient

Teachers in Aberdeen striking over pay. Image: Kami Thomson / DC Thomson

Sir, – I do not disagree with workers going on strike for pay and conditions to be approved, but I do question the timing of their strikes and the days they choose.

Looks like they pick Thursdays and Fridays for total disruption which is very crafty as well, because when postal and rail workers go back to work it is the weekend which attracts time-and-a-half and double-time payments. If they work weekends they will not be out of a low wage at the end of the month and earn the same with a couple of days off.

Now that’s good thinking. Trains will run and postal workers in the sorting offices all work at weekends.

All teachers are doing is robbing the children of their education and making mums and dads either take the day off to watch their kids or organise child care, all costing money.

Don McKay, Provost Hogg Court, Torry, Aberdeen.

Scotland needs to control finances

Sir, – I have to correct Peter Larkin over what he wrote in the Letters page (November 21).

The Scottish Government is legally bound to balance the books on a fraction of our tax take and do so every year. The deficit he speaks of is created by Westminster which passes a proportion of its debt to us, hence “partnership of equals”.

The GERS figures are estimated by Westminster and these are the figures the Scottish Government has to work from, but the figures just don’t add up. Norway’s oil tax revenue with the same amount of oil as Scotland in 2022 is estimated to be £1,168 billion. Our revenues have obviously been diverted elsewhere. That would be fine in a partnership of equals but it’s not fine to tell lies about Scotland being too poor.

If, once independent, our friends south of the border need our oil and renewable wealth I’m sure we will be able to accommodate them. We won’t know our true wealth until we have control of our own finances and not our neighbour.

Herbert Petrie, Parkhill, Dyce, Aberdeen.

Time to pull the plug on free EV charging

Sir, – Electric vehicle owners will soon have to pay to use the roads.

From 2025 cars will be liable for £165 a year, vans £290 and cars costing more than £40,000 will pay £500.

There are more than 590,000 on the UK’s roads so that would bring in, at say an average of £300 a vehicle, £177 million every year.

EV owners got a substantial government grant and can charge their vehicles for free at council-provided charging points at council taxpayers’ expense.

This free electricity must stop.

We now need cyclists and e-scooter owners to pay to use the roads and, illegally, the pavements.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow.

Government over a barrel on wind

Sir, – The chancellor proposes a windfall tax on renewable generators who, at present, are paid if they generate and also if they do not but are available.

When available, their generation is taken as a priority by the system operator (National Grid). They get tax relief on all investment, and are able to boast green credentials, even if not always justified.

They operate inefficient machinery, since efficiency rates lag around 25%-30%. Their installations are at least as divisive as they are useful. Their machinery is noisy and intrusive to neighbours and ruinous to Scotland’s primary asset, the landscape of this great country itself.

The wind industry has the elected government over a barrel since it has closed or forced the closure of all fossil-fuel generation save for the gas-fired station at Peterhead, leaving little or no alternative. Long-established hydro generation is laid up or operated below par.

Finally, neither of Scotland’s large generators supports or takes any part in the operation of nuclear baseload. K Anderson, an official of Scottish Power, bleats about proposed additional windfall taxation at a time when his foreign-owned company is making extraordinary profits as a direct result of Putin’s war. How dare he?

He knows that society absolutely depends on his product, and that he will continue to enjoy generous tax relief on the cost of additional investment, not to mention a privileged place in the panels of government advisers. Does he have no moral compass, no conscience, no thought for his fellow man? Methinks he doth protest too much, and he needs a period of intense reflection.

A period of silence from him in the current climate would be very welcome.

Aileen Jackson, Knockglass, Uplawmoor, Renfrewshire.

Who do we believe on climate change?

Sir, – It was all so, so predictable. After extending the duration of the event and exhausted delegates working throughout the night, COP27 in Egypt has ended with hugs and handshakes to celebrate what has been achieved. What actually has been achieved?

A new “loss and damage” fund with money coming from richer nations to compensate those countries most affected by changes in global weather patterns, but will it be enough? It can never be enough or, more importantly, will it ever be paid? Little progress in the most important issue, keeping temperature increase at or below 1.5C.

The war in Ukraine has meant our reliance on fossil fuels remains but is the conflict not an excuse? The developed world love them because they allow us to lead the life we enjoy, they heat our homes, they fuel our cars to go on the school run or visit the supermarket, they fuel the chariots of the sky that whisk us to some sunny island paradise. Even that wise old owl President Biden knows their value, one day urging Opec to increase oil supplies then weeks later is warmly applauded at COP27 for his support to keep temperatures within target.

Just imagine the furore if The Donald had been involved in such contradiction – he would have been classified an idiot, surely a slur too far.

I read with interest opinions from the array of climate scientists who frequent the letters page of The P&J. Some believe that the weather patterns we are now witnessing follow a natural cycle that has little to do with man while others insist our actions will lead to apocalypse. But which camp can we believe?

Ivan W Reid, Kirkburn, Laurencekirk.

City must come first

Sir, – In Mr Begbie’s column (November 22) he alleges the council are wrong to reject the stadium plan.

He talks of thousands of fans – last I heard less than 5% of Aberdeen citizens were football fans. There is also no guarantee on the amount of money it would generate and I for one am in total agreement with the council’s rejection.

Why is Mr Begbie so interested in the stadium? He resides in Stonehaven, and it is not his council tax that they are spending or access to his beachfront that is being spoiled if it were to be built.

Perth moved their football club to the (hinterland) and look how they have grown as a club and improved the area around their new stadium.


Problem pupils need firm hand

Sir, – I feel heart sorry for the teachers and decent kids and parents at Northfield Academy caught up in the very serious behavioural problems of just a few pupils causing massive disruption and anxiety for all.

Aberdeen education bosses have failed to tackle this problem adequately as it has now persisted and festered for more than two years which is wholly unacceptable.

It could be a direct result of Covid and the council staff working from home for more than two years. I have been trying to contact some council staff recently and find it very difficult to get through to anyone at Marischal College.

Dennis F. Grattan, Mugiemoss Road, Bucksburn.