Cause to fume

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SCOTTISH motorists will be able to take out an interest-free loan of up to £50,000 to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle (your report, 15 August).

This is part of the SNP government’s plans to phase out all petrol and diesel cars within the next 35 years so that it can boast that it has achieved its ambitious climate-change targets.

This obsession with emission reductions would make sense if other countries were equally zealous but that is decidedly not the case as more countries renege on their non-binding promises.

This obsession with emission reductions would make sense if Scotland had significant carbon dioxide emissions instead of a paltry 0.15 per cent.

There are more than 35 million vehicles on UK roads and there are 1.2 billion vehicles in the world.

There are 2.8 million vehicles on Scottish roads of which 84 per cent are cars and only around 1,100 are electric, 200 of which were bought by councils to show their green credentials.

Recent reports show these to be grossly under-used and in no way justifying the significant, publicly funded expenditure.

This “zero petrol/diesel policy” is shaping up to be yet another green financial disaster.

Clark Cross

Springfield Road

Linlithgow, West Lothian

HOW Scotland funds any economic makeover is the key to an increase in taxpayers, jobs, wealth creation and talent immigration.

However, the SNP government will not accomplish that by kowtowing to green lobbyists and banning everything from GM crops to fracking to the fury of its scientific community. Such bans send the message to potential wealth creators that Scotland is not a fit place for scientific enterprise but a place where innovation is constrained by government ideology.

Nicola Sturgeon’s alternatives to austerity perfectly illustrate HL Mencken’s assertion that: “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”

Taxation is not going to raise the money needed so I expect to see the kind of trickery and off-sheet balancing used by Gordon Brown and the pre-2007 investment bankers.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews, Fife

THE Scottish Government’s pronouncement on GM crop production fails to recognise the part science has to play in crop production here in Scotland.

As far back as the mid-1960s a gamma ray mutant of a barley variety called Maythorpe transformed malting barley production in Scotland.

Golden Promise revolutionised the Scotch whisky and malting industry and allowed malting barley production to flourish north of the Border. Prior to this thousands of tonnes had to be transported from southern England to cope with the whisky industry’s demand.

As a result of this “modification” in barley breeding Scottish arable growers were the beneficiaries of an exciting market right on their doorstep and resulted in breeders focusing attention on the market here in Scotland. Scottish growers responding to doorstep demand should remind the Scottish Government that part of this electorate wishes to move on and establish new varieties that do not need extensive fungicide and pesticide applications.

Reducing the variable costs of growing new varieties is surely high on any farmers wish-list.

So rural affairs minister ­Richard Lochhead should be listening to expert advice and not making so-called soft soundbites that he seems to believe the ­electorate favours.

Innovate or the arable industry will be left at the post.

Alan Macdonald

Newbattle Abbey Crescent

Dalkeith, Midlothian