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Readers’ letters: First Bus Aberdeen service, decline of fishing industry and alcohol advertising ban

In today's letters, our readers discuss the First Bus Aberdeen service, the decline of the fishing industry and the infamous Scottish alcohol advertising ban.

A First Bus Aberdeen
Image: First Bus

Sir, – Why do First Aberdeen keep making bus timetable changes which do not encourage people to use public transport in the city?

The 18.22 Ashwood departure (Bridge of Don) arrives on time but goes direct to the depot. You have to wait for a single decker coming off a Dyce route to begin route 2 service, but due to late running, often fails to turn up.

The depot controller shows a complete lack of customer service and retimes the bus to miss all the Bridge of Don and part King Street corridor, thus leaving the Ashwood area with a 50 minute gap.

First created the problem but now seem content to lose passengers.

Since last year, First cut two late evening services so the last city service to Ashwood 2 departs at 23.10. A Citylink Edinburgh day trip service arrives after the last bus, also city concerts can finish after, meaning you face an expensive taxi fare or a very long walk home.

Remember the Grampian Transport days slogan “Caring for You”? As First Aberdeen prepares to celebrate the 125th public transport in August, their legacy is one of a rapid declining city network.

R Hulse, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen.

The carbon-busting recycling bin craze is self-defeating trash

Sir – So, although Highland Council cannot patch the roads, they can magic up £6 million to give 130,000 houses an additional bin.

Seems that we all have to relearn which colour bin takes which variety of rubbish.

According to a Highland Council spokesperson, under the new regime, blue bins are for paper and card, green bins for plastics, bottles, cans, tins, foil and cartons. And bin number 3 will be general rubbish.

The colour of this exciting “new” bin is presumably still the subject of debate in Glen Urquhart Road.

In most cases, it is only going to be three-quarters the volume of our existing domestic bins. This reduction in space will all most certainly result in the other “recycle” bins ending up with unsuitable items being in them or the fly tipping situation increasing.

Image: Shutterstock.

Now, the next problem is the fact that if we have three bins, we have three collection cycles and, as far as I know from seeing the bin lorries in action, they have no facility to separate rubbish being tipped into the back. So we would go on to three separate collections, presumably requiring a three-week cycle, of “which bin is it this week?”. Or more vehicles on the road, defeating the reduction in carbon emissions.

A few years ago, Highland Council had brown bins for garden waste, originally emptied free of charge, then charged for, which resulted in a huge number of the brown bins being returned to the Highland Council depot, a photo of which appeared in this paper. Where are these now? Would they not have done as “bin 3”?

It seems slightly at odds with published policy statements that the recirculatory Green minister is supporting the Highland Council scheme that requires a 240-litre bin for cans and bottles which from August are supposedly going to be put into recycling machines which will pay us all 20p a container.

I see no mention of glass bottles being recycled anywhere.

And where are all these additional 130,000 bins going to be living – in many cases no doubt obstructing entrances, exits and pavements?

Alastair Armitstead, Achiltibuie.

Addressing the decline of fishing

Sir, – Ever since the UK joined the EU, our UK fishing communities have had to suffer the destruction and loss of over half of our fishing fleets, after our government followed directives from ICES in the EU; resulting in many years of government-imposed cuts in UK fishing quotas.

Many UK family-owned fishing vessels and businesses within the fishing industry were forced to sell off everything for what they could get; to clear off the debts they had built up while trying to continue in business.

The result of this was our fishing grounds were emptied of around half of the UK fishing fleet.

Fishing companies from within the EU were then able to move in and buy up whatever UK quotas and fishing licences they could acquire, and thus, unhindered by fish quota restrictions from their own countries’ governments, were then able to take advantage of the abundance of fish in UK fishing grounds.

The UK fishing industry is facing difficult times. Image: Shutterstock

The unknown quantities and types of fish these EU vessels catch in our national waters (unchecked by our own country’s officialdom) are then landed in EU fish markets or landed into the back of lorries and then shipped back to their home countries for further processing.

It is not just the families with vessels still surviving in our peripheral fishing communities, in defiance of this victimisation of our fishing industry that we suffer from. It’s also the shoreside companies involved in fish processing, engineering, grocery supplies and transport, to name but a few, who also suffer, as the overseas vessels in our fishing grounds have nearly all of the necessary supplies required by their fishing fleets, transported from their home countries.

This is evident from the increasing amount of dumped international rubbish our local fishing vessels find in their own fishing nets and take ashore to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.

A lesson should have been learned from the island nations of the Faeroes and Iceland, which have both shown how taking back control of the waters around their shores was for the benefit of their own people. After ousting foreign-owned fleets of fishing vessels from their national waters, they invested in fishing companies to harvest the abundance of seafood from around their shores, for the benefit of their own people.

Those companies have grown and have renewed their fishing vessels to enable them to land fish of the highest quality, for further processing in their locally owned fish factories for worldwide export.

We can only hope that, under the leadership of the new first minister, a new Scottish cabinet will now have a better understanding of the value of Scotland’s fishery assets and will hopefully try to right the wrongs of the past decades that have been committed against the peripheral fishing communities of our Scottish nation.

William Polson, Shetland.

Union Street needs real-world retail

Sir, – The launch of “Our Union Street” may seem like a positive step, but I’m not so sure. Given the personalities and organisations involved in this, it reeks of fossil fuel vanity at the expense of all others. People who have plagiarised others’ ideas and caused the very ruination they claim to want to fix. For volunteering, read slave labour.

Mr Keiller’s notions about not turning back time and societal changes regarding online shopping negate some other truths too, and what people want, but have been excluded by exactly these enforced, unwanted changes being foisted upon them by the selfish.

Union Street. Image: Wullie Marr/ DC Thomson

It’s almost as if real-world retail and all the positive benefits of every retail space being used for that purpose wouldn’t be good for the city and that the observations of Union Street’s decline have nothing at all to do with oil industry behaviours and arrogance.

If you want a positive post-oil economy, you actually have to listen to people who aren’t petroleum based. And what do they want? They want, and need, Union Street filled to the brim with quality retail which will create a daytime economy which in turn will feed the night-time economy.

This has been proven to have worked before and it’s not rocket science.

Ian Beattie, Aberdeen.

Harming sport with sanctimony

Sir, – Like many others, I enjoyed watching the Six Nations rugby competition which finished last month.

It attracted a huge following of fans and the audience was worldwide.

Putting on an event of this scale involves huge costs and the organisers would have been delighted to secure the sponsorship of Guinness – a beer.

A pint of Guinness. Image: Sandy McCook

Under Scottish Government proposals, which involve the banning of advertising and displays of alcohol in Scotland, we may find that the ludicrous position arises whereby the Six Nations fails to attract the current sponsor to Murrayfield for home internationals. Indeed, Guinness might pull out altogether if they cannot promote their product at every single match of the competition.

How embarrassing for Scotland that might be and how short-sighted of a government that has a track record of trying to implement legislation that is self-defeating.

Andrew Dingwall-Fordyce, Westhill.

The Green tail wags the SNP dog

Sir, – Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce adviser and former SNP adviser and parliamentary candidate Fergus Mutch and SNP MP Stephen Flynn have been vocal about UK Government policy in the North Sea.

Stephen Flynn MP. Image: Scott Baxter/DC Thomson

I don’t know how Mr Mutch voted in the leadership election, but in backing Humza Yousaf Mr Flynn played his part in welding the Green tail to the SNP dog and with it their fatwa on the UK oil industry.

Had they backed Kate Forbes, they and we might have had a leader who has a commonsense approach to oil and gas and the “just transition” and could have formed a Green-less minority government that may have enjoyed the support of the Conservatives and Labour on some policies, including oil and gas, and with it a more fruitful and persuasive relationship with the UK Government and opposition.

But hey, independence transitions, sorry, transcends, everything.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

When 10% rise not enough

Sir, – Pensioners were pleased with the 10.1% rise in the state pension this month. Now we look hard at how much benefit it is to us. Food prices up 17%, Council Tax up 5%, inflation up to 10.4%. No more help with energy costs. Rent rises coming soon. Telephone and broadband up by 14.4%, base rate up for the 11th time in the last few months to 4.25%.

How can a pension rise of 10.1% cover the increased cost? It can’t, it will not even touch the sides. We are worse off now than we were last year at this time.

Don McKay, Torry.

Truss shame

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss making a statement outside 10 Downing Street, London. Image: Kirsty O’Connor/PA Wire

Sir, – Liz Truss’s 49 days in Number 10 made her the shortest serving PM in British history!

Nominating four close supporters for peerages is a slap in the face to ordinary people who deserve honours for their work in many deserving fields.

Her incompetence and chaos brought the UK to its knees – has this woman no shame?

T Shirron, Aberdeen.