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Readers’ letters: Barnardo’s grateful for support, paper deliveries in all weathers and new Aberdeen FC stadium

Image: Chris Sumner
Image: Chris Sumner

Sir, – To say that 2022 has been a tough year for all of us would be something of an understatement.

From the cost of living crisis to soaring energy bills, financial pressures on normal families are huge. And, despite our own struggles, not a day goes by that we don’t watch on in horror at the awful events continuing to unfold in Ukraine.

However, despite these chastening times, I continue to be amazed by all those who support Barnardo’s Scotland year after year.

Whether that’s our dedicated and hard-working team of volunteers who keep our many shops open for business; or you, the public, who have once again answered our call for help through donations and visiting and spending your hard-earned cash in those very same shops.

As many of you know, Barnardo’s Scotland supports children, young people and their families in more than 125 community-based services across the country.

We work with some of the most disadvantaged children, young people, parents, carers and communities to ensure that every child has the best possible start in life.

But we could not do that without you, and that is why I am writing to say a massive “thank you” for your ongoing support, especially in these most troubled of times.

If you would like to support our work, please visit Warm greetings of the season to you all.

Martin Crewe, Director, Barnardo’s Scotland.

Managing our moors to aid ‘sport’ only hampers biodiversity

Sir, – In his article about the forthcoming legislation designed to bring order to the commercial grouse shooting industry (Press and Journal, December 13), Peter Clark of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation makes a number of interesting claims.

He complains that the proposed legislation will curtail the ability of estate owners to effectively protect Scotland’s biodiversity.

A recent Scottish biodiversity strategy report from NatureScot tells us of a substantial drop in our biodiversity over recent decades. The way we manage our land has contributed to this drop and there is evidence from within the game shooting industry itself of how it has contributed to biodiversity reduction.

I understand that the substantial and wide-ranging game bags of the Victorian era can no longer be taken because so many species have been persecuted and shot to the verge of extinction.

Grouse moors are organised to provide living targets for people who enjoy this form of “sport”.

Consequently, any living thing that reduces the grouse population by eating grouse eggs and chicks is mercilessly trapped, shot and even poisoned.

This includes foxes, stoats, weasels, crows, hen harriers, and eagles, all of which are an essential part of our Scottish biodiversity.

So, we have estate owners killing animals and birds so that there will be more grouse for them to kill. Not helpful for biodiversity!

Grouse moor managers also set the hills on fire to provide heather specifically to suit grouse, causing damage to peatland and increased erosion.

Peat formation takes thousands of years. Burning every 10 years is not part of the natural cycle of peat production and leads to erosion rather than peat formation.

Mr Clark claims the licensing and controlling of moorland management on thousands of hectares of rural Scotland in the national interest of reducing biodiversity decline will interfere with the human rights of the shooting fraternity. I find this bizarre – the management and ownership of land cannot confer the right to damage it for your own narrow ends!

The tide is turning against moorland management exclusively for “sporting” purposes, with many areas now being managed to increase biodiversity.

One of the spin-offs from better and more diversified management is an increase in employment through tourism, nature watching, forestry management and other activities which create a more interesting and diverse countryside.

It should also be pointed out that many people in this country find the killing of driven birds for fun highly distasteful and feel that it should be banned rather than licensed.

After all, big-game hunting is no longer considered an appropriate activity for a civilised society.

Colin D Young, South Headlands Crescent, Newtonhill.

A long way from ‘Fortress Pittodrie’

Sir, – Aberdeen FC manager Jim Goodwin has defended his defensive tactics in the recent match against Celtic at Pittodrie, a ground he wanted to be turned into a veritable fortress against visiting teams.

Based on the way his team played in the recent match at the said “fortress” they were fortunate – due to a combination of their opponents’ wasted opportunities and their own desperate defending – not to lose by four or five goals.

For Goodwin to defend his tactics by stating that his team were only three minutes away from a draw, which would have justified his negative approach to the match, is absolute nonsense.

Aberdeen had only two attempts on goal, not one on target, and McGregor of Celtic made more passes than the entire home side.

Football is part of the entertainment business.

Do fans of Aberdeen really want to see a lack of a “gung-ho” approach against the Old Firm, especially Celtic who look like they are running away with the league title?

St Mirren took a different approach at home against the “champions elect” and look how that game turned out.

Surely, if you start a game on the back foot, with a defensive line-up that Jose Mourinho called “parking the bus”, your chances of winning will be vastly reduced; effectively the initiative is handed to the opposition, and in most instances the inevitable will happen.

In addition, fans pay good money in such inflationary times to watch football and the ones who do so at Pittodrie are entitled to a better performance on the pitch. Jim Goodwin take note.

John Reid, Regent Court, Keith.

In all weather my paper boy delivers

Image: Kami Thomson / DC Thomson

Sir, – In this current climate of discontent resulting in many groups of people striking for more money in order to survive (even coffin makers) I would like to name my Press and Journal paper boy as one of my unsung heroes.

I have not met him yet, as he delivers my P&J at some unearthly hour of the morning whatever the weather.

Unfortunately venturing forth on icy roads and untreated pavements is not an option at my age. I presume he is still at school, too young to be a member of a trade union, non-striking and probably underpaid.

My son and family may not make it this Christmas weekend due to strikes but at least my P&J will be through the letter box as usual. Well done young man.

Sandy Mcintosh, Leys Drive, Inverness.

Short-termism has cost all of us dearly

Sir, – I refer firstly to Peter Macari’s letter in Saturday’s Press and Journal which was spot on.

Short-termism and easy money for government and the rich have for too long dominated how our society operates.

Peter is right in relation to energy supply, there has been a lack of long-term sustainable thinking and while the rich get richer those at the bottom suffer.

The same happened with the sale of council houses, not the sanest of policies but at least the money from sales could have been used to build more social housing.

At present people at the bottom of our society are facing the double whammy of soaring energy and housing bills.

I also refer to Alistair Gossip’s article on cycling provision. Well done to Jon Barron from Nestrans and Rachel Martin from Aberdeen Cycling Forum for challenging our local councillors.

Part of the reasoning behind the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Road was that it would reduce car use in the city and open up opportunities for cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

In the past, I have visited Poland when cycling was almost non-existent.

Having returned more recently I have been amazed by the transformation, with lots of cycle lanes and thousands of cyclists.

The introduction of ebikes will only work if we have safer cycling routes – including on Union Street.

Our society at present is in a complete mess due to thinking and action based on short-term greed. Things need to change.

Jonathan Russell, Springbank Place, Aberdeen.

My views on plan for AFC stadium

Image: Morrison Communications

Sir, – I have read some EE articles, as well as letters to Your Voice relating to the proposed new AFC stadium, etc. I write to add my views on this area…

The Boulevard should be dual carriageway from the Castlegate area to Bridge of Don.

Area in front of the promenade cafes towards the toilets should be pedestrianised.

A low-cost charge car park should be created at the large grass area located across from Burger King.

Create a one-way system for Asda shoppers, whereby on exit, vehicles turn right, and “loop round” onto York Street.

AFC should create a community hub in conjunction with the golf clubs, ACC, etc. The refurbishment of Pittodrie is possible, as well as removing the existing golf clubs, where a multi-sport outdoor training facility can be formed. A multi-social building could be built adjacent to the existing golfing range, which could be utilised for golf check in-golf and football social club.

I don’t think the decisions to be made are that difficult, but remember we are dealing with ACC who do make some appalling decisions.

Gordon Park.

Dispute over star player

Sir, – I have to comment on Sean Wallace’s very biased assessment/rating of the players in the Aberdeen/Celtic match played on Saturday December 17.

His choice as star man of the match, Ross McCrorie, was excellent but I refute his choice and vote Calum McGregor as the ‘star’ man, not only for the way he held his team together but for the strike which decided the match.

Were we watching the same match Mr Wallace?