Readers' letters: Put a stop to the wind industry's rampant destruction of our countryside

At long last, Andrew Bowie MP and others are waking up to the rampant destruction being inflicted on rural communities by the wind industry (“MP’s concern over Hill of Fare Windfarm proposal”, Scotsman, 19 October).

An estimated four billion viewers from all over the world tuned in to watch the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As the Royal Cortege departed from Balmoral the aerial views beamed across the world showed the true magnificence of our glorious Deeside.

It is therefore, simply too awful to contemplate the damage yet another array of 17 giant, industrial wind turbines proposed on the adjacent Hill of Fare will inflict on Royal Deeside.

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Consider the true horror of these 840ft monsters, almost as high as the Eiffel Tower, twice the size of the London Eye. They are effectively offshore machines being sneaked onshore to satisfy the insatiable greed of the wind industry.

Are windfarms a blight on the landscape of Scotland?

The farcical, industry claims that larger turbines are more “efficient” could not be further from the truth. Current turbines blades have been tweaked, over many years, to the nth degree, but the inexorable laws of physics demand that all that can now be done is to make the turbines even larger, even more damaging, even more space-consuming, even more unsightly and, with blades that travel in excess of 200mph, even more lethal to wild life.

It must be asked what sort of supremely idiotic politicians actually support the destruction of what must be the jewel in the crown of all Scottish landscapes?

George Herraghty, Elgin, Moray

Lack of skills

Due to the standard and calibre of successive UK governments, it is little wonder our energy bills are going through the roof – coupled with the possibility of power cuts this winter- and that energy strategy over the years truly appears to have been formulated at the Mad Hatter’s tea party.

It is exasperating the answer is so simple and fundamental: our political representatives lack the necessary education, skill and industrial experience. Most worryingly, it is just not MPs but Cabinet Members and the Civil Service who lack in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees.

It has recently been reported in the media that fewer than ten per cent of graduates entering the Fast Track Civil Service scheme have STEM backgrounds. It appears that Whitehall is dominated by historians and economists, few of whom have worked outside the official and political bubble.

Without the scientific and engineering knowledge it is difficult to even frame the right questions, let alone develop a sensible energy strategy. Lest we forget: Amber Rudd, the Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye, was parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2014-15, before serving as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change 2015-16 – Amber Rudd read History at Edinburgh University; former Labour Leader Ed Miliband, currently Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero, read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, circa 1989; Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats since 2020, served in the Cameron-Clegg coalition as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2012-2015 and read Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1988 at Jesus College, Oxford.

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No doubt “Alice” would opine: “Is it surprising that with such lack of the necessary nous UK energy is in such a sorry state!”

Dave Haskell, Cardigan, Wales

Send an SOS

During the miners’ strike of 1984/5 and the three-day working week, there was a government advertising campaign to save electricity called SOS – “Switch Off Something”.

As we have been asked to economise once again, perhaps that campaign could be revived to keep essential heat and light on for the elderly and disabled?

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Perth & Kinross

Economic failure

I fully appreciate the disorganised rabble that is now masquerading as the UK Government. Unless they get themselves organised with a proper leader and start picking up the pieces they will be swept aside at the next general election.

What is the alternative to the Conservatives in Scotland? The SNP, or should I say Nicola Sturgeon, has published its latest white paper on the bid for independence.

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Ms Sturgeon’s case for the Scottish economy must have come to her in a dream for no person with full control of their faculties could possibly believe that this plan for turning Scotland into a debt-ridden slave to the world’s financial institutions has any credence whatsoever.

The plan for the economy is being lambasted from many prominent SNP and independence supporters as being totally unworkable. If this new comic book plan for independence is the best that Sturgeon’s army of schemers and plotters can come up with then there are others waiting in the wings, one of whom is Anas Sarwar.

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth, Falkirk

Yes, First Minister

Like you (Scotsman editorial, 19 September), I have also been reminded of Sir Humphrey Appleby by the words of Nicola Sturgeon.

In this case I was struck by the First Minister's assertion that an independent Scotland would move from the pound to a new Scottish currency “when the time is right”.

As devotees of Yes, Minister will know, that phrase was Sir Humphrey's way of kicking the can down the road, implying that the change which Jim Hacker wanted would never happen, not if he had anything to do with it.

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews, Fife

Dental delay

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I note with interest that Nicola Sturgeon says that after independence Scotland will be a happier, healthier, wealthier country.

We may well be healthier if we can afford it. I recently visited my dentist as I had chipped a front tooth. I was told it would be approximately ten months waiting or if I went private and paid basically no wait. So what is it – healthier or wealthier? I await an answer from the SNP.

Scott Miller, Edinburgh

Muirburn is vital

Contrary to Professor Richard Dixon’s assertions (Scotsman, 20 October), muirburn is an essential management practice alongside cutting, grazing and rewetting for ensuring sustainable upland landscape.

Muirburn is a managed and controlled burn that does not penetrate the lower wetter vegetation or underlying peat. Utilising muirburn helps lower the carbon load above ground and creates firebreaks that both reduces the risk and severity of damaging wildfires. The management tool is recognised by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Professor Dixon and the Revive coalition need to look at the wealth of scientific evidence. In a 2018 study ‘Experimental evidence for sustained carbon sequestration in fire-managed, peat moorlands’, sphagnum moss abundance was highest where six burns were carried out. Fundamentally, sphagnum moss is the building block of peatland formation. The study used an index of biodiversity which showed that areas with six burns had the highest biodiversity, and the least biodiversity was seen in the areas only burnt once.

Muirburn also creates a habitat mosaic that provides both breeding and feeding opportunities for ground nesting birds.

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There is an acceptance that muirburn should be used as site specific tool, but to do so it must remain an option in our sustainable upland management toolkit.

Peter Clark, Public Affairs Manager (Scotland), British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Trochry, Perth & Kinross

Lock and load

Those decrying the pension triple lock on the grounds the elderly have substantial equity in their homes to release, encapsulates the wilful callousness of the modern generation to national realities.

The UK is not awash with comfortably-off suburban pensioners like an episode of One Foot In The Grave. Most retirement “homes” are what tiny flats (often ex-council housing) they could afford to provide security of tenure in old age. Having worked hard all their lives, often to the detriment of their health, they object vehemently to the feckless demanding more privations from them on the callous logic of “you've had your lives”.

Governments placating pensioners is not a matter of vote buying, it’s the morality of British fair play before cynical economic Darwinism.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

No democracy

We in the UK are the subjects of an unelected hereditary head of state and governed by laws set in part by the House of Lords, the unelected parliamentary chamber.

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These fundamentals are the same as they were on 19 October 1963, when the outgoing Conservative Prime Minister and the late Queen installed the hereditary peer Lord Home as Prime Minister of the UK. For nearly three weeks, until he won a by-election, he was Prime Minister (as Sir Alec Douglas-Home), but not a member of the Lords or the Commons.

We must stop deluding ourselves that in the UK we live in is a full democracy.

E Campbell, Newton Mearns, East, Renfrewshire

Rugby howler

What other country’s rugby coach would leave out a world-class player like Finn Russell for the Autumn Tests? Gregor Townsend’s statement that his selection is based on current form and commitment is questionable.

Murrayfield will ultimately be the loser in this case.

Ebyth Morton, Edinburgh

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