Readers' Letters: Energy Transition Zone plan for parkland a mistake

While Ilona Amos’s article (12 December) highlights welcome support for Friends of St Fittick’s Park from 22 medical professionals, some of it is misleading or inaccurate. The Energy Transition Zone (ETZ) has four sites, two are in nearby brownfield East Tullos and Altens, and we endorse redevelopment of them wholeheartedly; we do not oppose the ETZ there.

St Fittick’s Park is the last public green space serving the community of Torry
St Fittick’s Park is the last public green space serving the community of Torry

ONE is not the only developer; others are Aberdeen Harbour Board (AHB) and Invest Aberdeen, whilst Aberdeen City Council (ACC) itself was one of the “client team” on whose behalf the Feasibility Study for the zone was written. It is ACC which has facilitated and sanctioned development on the green sites by rezoning them as Opportunity Sites for the ETZ in the Aberdeen Proposed Local Development Plan 2020 (PLDP), currently at the start of its review by Scottish Government Reporters.

The claim that the ETZ is “cutting edge” cannot be taken seriously as there are no firm plans in the public domain. Maggie McGinlay heads a company, ETZ Ltd, set up to develop the concept, and has repeatedly said plans are “at an early stage”. But it is two years since the idea of an Energy Transition Park was floated by businessman Sir Ian Wood, one month after AHB had submitted its last-minute bid for all the land round the Bay of Nigg and one month before the ETZ Feasibility Study was commissioned.

Hence forecasts of 2,500 jobs by 2030 are not credible, the extent of the ETZ’s contribution to net zero doubtful and ACC’s dismissal of the community’s objections to the PLDP on the grounds of loss of biodiverse green space and the very damage the medics highlighted inexplicable. How can the ETZ be green and how can we have any faith in any assurances we will be listened to now ?

Susan Smith

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Aberdeen

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Public fights loss of 'lifeline' park to green development in north-east Scotlan...

Train strain

Having travelled from Oxenholme in The Lake District to Edinburgh on Sunday 12 December I can only agree with readers’ comments about overcrowding exacerbated by an inability to book. In the same weekend that both UK and Scottish Governments were raising the level of concern regarding Covid infection rates, Transpennine was allowing trains to travel with people standing shoulder-to-shoulder with no opportunity to allow even basic levels of distancing from other passengers – often with no masks in place. The system needs a total overhaul, even before Covid concerns are taken into consideration.

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Joyce Hawthorn

Kendal, Cumbria

Think again

Caroline Brocklehurst and Lesley Cullan write in favour of assisted dying (5 December 2021). May I make a case to keep the status quo?

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Dying can be painful, the fear of dying can be stressful, but in this country we benefit from a world class hospice movement to manage that pain and fear. Sadly, one reason some countries have introduced laws supporting assisted suicide is they have poor end of life care. A report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, which looked at the quality of palliative care in 80 countries around the world, found the UK ranked first. Shouldn’t we be proud of this achievement, and build on it, broadening the availability of hospice services? Yes, end of life care is expensive – so would we want to live in a country where assisted suicide is seen as a quick and cheap alternative allowing the NHS to save money?

A clear danger with the proposed legislation is that it sends a message that some lives are not worth living. Indeed, it could endanger the weak and vulnerable. Pam Duncan Glancy, a Labour MSP who is a permanent wheelchair user, has said that this legislation is seen as dangerous for disabled people. Data from Washington state in the US shows that a majority of those who had a reason for assisted dying cited a fear of being a burden on family, friends and caregivers.

The legislation also drives a sharp wedge into the health services. Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, so their aim is to save life, not to end it. Assisted suicide fundamentally corrupts the doctor-patient relationship, it reduces patients’ trust in their doctor, and the undivided commitment of doctors to the life and health of their patients.

Assisted suicide legislation in Scotland would open the door for further dangerous changes. In every other country that has introduced it, the laws have expanded so that more people are eligible, such as children or those with mental illness. It is a fine line between assisted suicide, voluntary and involuntary euthanasia.

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Anyone who is dying needs care and compassion, from their families and friends, from the local community and the health service. Hospice care aims to affirm life and death. I would hope that Holyrood decides not to pass the assisted suicide legislation and instead decides to invest in world class palliative and end of life care that everyone in Scotland can benefit from.

Andrew Milligan

Edinburgh

Write to Scotland on Sunday

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