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Readers’ letters: Supporting local produce, the Beauly to Denny line and the Falkland Islands

Farmer carrying box of veg on a sunny day;
Image: Shutterstock

Sir, – We wanted to connect to a market garden or farmer growing local fruit and vegetables and, if possible, to reduce our costs.

So, in 2022 we subscribed to Fieldfare CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), a two acre fruit and vegetable enterprise near Laurencekirk which grows produce without using artificial fertilisers.

We have been struck, not only by the superb flavour and long-keeping qualities of the produce, but also by its affordability.

We chose the half-share option which feeds two to three people for which we paid £450 in total for 34 weeks of produce.

We have found that we now pay significantly less than the equivalent produce from supermarkets.

The fruit and vegetables are probably the best and certainly the freshest we have ever tasted.

We understand that with additional polytunnels we could receive veg year-round if this imaginative model of agriculture was supported by government.

Unfortunately, the CSA doesn’t qualify as support is reserved for growers cultivating on 12 acres plus, which is more than the CSA needs to succeed.

Were this policy to be modernised, this fresh veg model might attract more growers and help provide for those concerned about food security and its costs.

As subscribers, we look forward in future to receiving several more weeks of produce as the enterprise grows and expands.

We only wish more people could share our positive experience.

M Bramwell, Banchory.

Pylon proposals from SSEN will blight this beautiful place

Sir, – Yesterday I and many other people from the surrounding communities attended an SSEN public “consultation” and were stunned when we saw what they want to unleash on us over the next few years.

The three-times-over-budget Beauly to Denny line is a monument to environmental vandalism itself and yet SSEN thinks that more transmission lines impacting the same area is acceptable.

This is 2023. Have we not moved on from when the first pylon was erected in Falkirk in 1928, nearly 100 years ago?

What happened about environmental protection? What happened to caring for communities?

SSEN is relying on the cheapest option that has the biggest impact on residents and the environment. That is simply not acceptable in this day and age.

The Beauly to Denny powerline marches across the Corrieyarick Pass between Badenoch and Fort Augustus on Loch Ness. Image: Sandy McCook

Those who have said that they like wind turbines but not pylons and sat back and let the foreign multinationals plant their rotating cash machines haphazardly into our iconic landscapes, far away from grid connections, now have a macabre buy-one-get-one-free to deal with. It was always coming. Unreliable wind turbines with their volatile energy mean massive grid upgrades and more people are beginning to understand this. Aside from very worrying health issues of living near high-power electricity transmission the massive footprint of wind energy and these super-sized pylons and substations is immense. People should remember that they are paying for all this and that the costs and emissions of these upgrades are not added to the costs and emissions for wind energy.

Remember that too when the industry and supportive politicians tell us how green and cheap wind is.

None of us have seen our energy bills go down as the number of turbines has gone up.

Beauly means “beautiful place”. When Mary Queen of Scots visited in 1564 she is reputed to have said: “Oui, c’est un beau lieu”– yes, it is a beautiful place.

If SSEN gets its way there will only be industrial hardware in Beauly and the surrounding area and no beauty left at all.

Lyndsey Ward, Beauly.

Falkland islanders need UK protection

Sir, – Argentina will no longer agree to disagree over the status of the Falkland Islands.

In the distant past, the archipelago was uninhabited. The populace today is largely of European descent and the 2016 census revealed that 43% of the residents were born on the islands.

Just because the Falklands are 480km east of Patagonia doesn’t mean that the land automatically belongs to Argentina, a state in existence only since 1816. Orkney and Shetland were once part of present day Norway.

In 1982, Argentine bravado and British somnolence resulted in war. Margaret Thatcher’s belligerence in defence of right and territorial integrity resulted in UK armed forces reclaiming the islands for the UK and also ensured her re-election in 1983.

Margaret Thatcher.

Argentina’s faux pas resulted in 99.8% of votes cast by Falklands residents in the 2013 referendum being in favour of remaining a British Overseas Territory.

At one time, I might have favoured shared sovereignty but that would never work.

So the UK must ensure that our fellow citizens in the South Atlantic are well defended to deter any further attempt by Argentina at another illegal land grab. The Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) are British until the resident population decides otherwise.

Bill Maxwell, Keith.

Challenging times with Forbes as FM

Sir, – Kate Forbes would be a refreshingly honest first minister of Scotland and could enhance and improve the quality and standard of debate at Holyrood, which has been most disappointing over the last few years.

We would have to face some real challenges with no singing or dancing on Sundays and all ferries would, of course, be grounded on the sabbath but as we don’t have many ferries actually sailing these days it wouldn’t make that much difference.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Bucksburn.

Little to show for Sturgeon’s tenure

Sir, – The current state of the SNP is chaotic and very confused, reminiscent of a headless chicken.

The sudden unexpected resignation of Nicola Sturgeon has triggered a completely unplanned exodus of the old guard and the complete absence of suitable succession candidates.

It reveals a political party in complete disarray and free-fall. What are they all running away from?

Does anyone know where they are going and how they get there?

What has the SNP been doing for the last eight years?

Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Passing very ill-thought-out legislation? Is this really demonstrating a political party ready to actually govern for Scotland’s long-term benefit rather than just pretending to be a government with many grievances.

I would have thought a deputy leader of the SNP would be the obvious succession leader unless it’s just a pretend post.

Like much of the SNP it’s just an illusion of competence, power and influence.

It appears they still have not even worked out how they can realistically trigger a referendum.

The key is to first persuade a significant majority to actually support independence.

Currently, eight years of leadership from Nicola Sturgeon has completely failed to move the dial even after numerous successive election victories in terms of seats but not in terms of the overall percentage of the popular vote.

The SNP alliance with the Greens is clearly unholy and unnatural and is an unsuitable marriage of convenience. The overall perception is poor and not supported even by SNP members.

David Philip, Newburgh.

Religious beliefs are not sacrosanct

Sir, – I see Danny Grant and Donald J Morrison (Letters, March 8) go down the well-worn path of recent years regarding challenges to faith-based opinions.

We are all free to express our beliefs and the reasoning that informs them.

However, no one is obliged to respect either those beliefs or the reasoning behind them.

SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes with her daughter Naomi. Image: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

In the last few years, simply stating that one disagrees with a religiously-informed belief immediately has the religious playing the victim card and accusing those who dare to disagree as intolerant, prejudiced or discriminatory.

The cry of persecution goes up, which apparently in Christian-speak means you aren’t permitted to disagree.

It’s particularly ironic in Ms Forbes’s case given the intolerance that her Free Church of Scotland denomination inflicted on Scots down the decades.

Alistair McBay, Methven.

Aberdeen is under attack

Sir, – This is a never-ending attack on our beautiful city by these transient want-to-be organisers.

The council thinks that the multi-million-pound beach leisure centre has had its day after 30 years.

Buildings are meant to be maintained just like you maintain your own house.

Image: Kenny Elrick

I have never heard of anyone knocking their house down just because they need a new bathroom?

And they silently stuck the new football ground into the picture – enough.

Whatever they think the cost will be, due to the global financial state you might as well stick a wet finger in the air.

Jeff K.

Library closure is a step too far

Sir, – I was deeply saddened and concerned to read that Woodside Library is to be closed. I still remember my mum taking me after school at Woodside Primary as a five-year-old.

It is a beautiful building and a room full of stories to be discovered and things to be learned seemed the most wondrous thing.

I would look forward to our weekly visit and I remember even sneaking over at lunchtime sometimes. I don’t think I was allowed but the lure of the library was too great.

It was that library that gave me a love of reading and a thirst for knowledge. It shaped me and provided a foundation that led me to being the first person from my family to go to university.

What will shape today’s children of the area? Hilton has already lost its secondary school and outdoor sports centre and now we are to lose our two closest libraries (Woodside and Cornhill).

While I recognise ACC have to make cuts due to being woefully underfunded by the SNP Government, there must be better options than something that can ultimately improve the lives of people in deprived areas.

Yes, usage has dropped but people are only now returning to normality after the pandemic and free community facilities are needed more than ever in a cost-of-living crisis.

Please ACC, try to save Woodside Library – it is simply the wrong cut in the wrong area.

A Gerrard, Hilton-Rosehill, Aberdeen.