Readers' letters: Who will step up to protect our wild lands?

How saddened I am to hear the Nature Scot response to the Achany extension and Strath Oykel wind farm applications in the area of Rosehall in Sutherland.

The agency has decided to withdraw its previous objection to the Achany scheme because since the granting of permission for the Sallachy wind farm near Lairg this area of wild land is now considered lost. They state that with the addition of the Achany extension this will be compounded and further diminish the strength of wild land quality across much of the remaining area.This means the local area is no longer considered to be of the highest wilderness and, importantly, no longer contribute to the wider wild land area.

Wild land areas were set up to protect our wild spaces from development and save them for future generations. With the Highland Council and the Energy Consents unit granting permission for the Sallachy development to be built on wild land, it now seems because of this no further objections will be made the increasing numbers of wind farm applications in this rural area.

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Nature Scot states its mission is to provide a nature-rich future for Scotland. However it seems to have thrown in the towel for this area of Sutherland and it will set a precedent for other future applications around Scotland that affect wild lands.

A reader is concerned about the number of wind turbines in previously wild landA reader is concerned about the number of wind turbines in previously wild land
A reader is concerned about the number of wind turbines in previously wild land

If this agency does not do what it was set up to do who else will protect our wilderness areas. How long before every hillside is covered in turbines and pylons, our wildlife destroyed or dispersed from its habitats, our wildlife tourism industry destroyed and jobs and the local economy lost.

Our future generations will despair at us for what we have done for the climate, but also not protecting what was left of our wild areas for them to enjoy.

Tracey Smith, Lairg, Highland

Sweater weather

Almost 50 years ago we had a fuel crisis with supply problems affecting Middle Eastern oil and British coal. The coping regime was to switch the electricity off in different districts of different cities for three hours at a time – three hours on and then three hours off. In winter.

On a Saturday, a couple of friends would come to our flat for an early supper (6-9pm), and then at 8.55pm we would all leave our home for theirs, on the other side of town, for the 9pm to midnight shift. Unfortunately, on Wednesdays I had to give a lecture on the 11th floor of the David Hume Tower during the 9-12 “off” period, but at least I was young and fit in those days.

I recall an acquaintance had previously boasted that he always sat at home in shirtsleeves because the central heating kept him warm. President Nixon had advice for Americans who were used to this regime. They could, of course, always don a sweater, he said. That really hadn’t occurred to them.

Bearing his advice in mind, I have kept my mother’s old and anathematised fur coat with a view to wrapping it around my feet if the worst comes to the worst this time.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Marine energy

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Scotland has wonderful untapped renewable marine energy resources which Whitehall seems ignorant of.

It seems strange that Ms Truss should press for new nuclear power station building in Scotland, which is not only the most expensive option but takes years, when our proven marine technologies can provide clean energy in a fraction of the time at less than half the cost, and with no radioactive waste legacy.

The technology driving the Glasgow project, to heat at least 20 per cent of the city from the Clyde, should be copied at estuarine cities not only in Scotland but around the UK.

Multi-purpose tidal bridges should be built, across the Pentland Firth, where existing tidal power generation could be much enhanced, and at other suitable sites around our coasts.

If the new Secretary of State, Jacob Rees-Mogg, is too preoccupied, surely his Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Graham Stuart, who was educated in Scotland, along with Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, should be given a detailed tour and briefing by the Scottish Government and the power-producing marine engineering industries to understand the investment required alongside a timetable for implementation.

Elizabeth Marshall, Edinburgh

Debtors’ prison

Our new – possibly short-lived – Prime Minister would do well to remember the advice of Wilkins Micawber in David Copperfield lest a debtors’ prison befalls the British economy. Germany’s Chancellor shows more sense in imposing a windfall tax on excessive energy company profits at consumers’ expense. Debt has to be paid for either today or tomorrow.

Ignoring energy company profit-making is short-sighted and simply builds up problems and costs for the future.

Liz Truss looks like delivering a cascade of debt for present and future generations.

Jim Craigen, Edinburgh

Rational solutions

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Dave Haskell (Letters, 8 September) writes very good sense in calling for the UK to adopt rational operation of all safe means of electricity generation, as directed by experts in that field.

However, he is not talking enough common sense in omitting to recognise the near-total absurdity of net zero-style policies.

Rationally, because of the neglibility of the UK’s share, less than 1.3 per cent, of the world's manmade carbon dioxide (CO2) output, the whole caboodle of our curbing CO2 is a mere token, financially disastrous, gesture.

Having recognised the futility of that hugely costly act of window-dressing, it is past time to ditch such an unaffordable range of self-harming policies. Desperate situations demand desperate, rational, safe remedies.

(Dr) Charles Wardrop, Perth, Perth & Kinross

Quiz mastered

With all the hubris and machinations surrounding the new Prime Minister’s appointment, it has been nice to be able to escape to the Puzzle Challenge pages and in particular the Miniquiz.

How delighted I was that I managed to get question 8 of the quiz on 6 September correct.

Not being a student of Middle Eastern history it was gratifying to answer “Which leader of the Israelites anointed Saul as king and chose David as his successor?”: why Desmond Dekker of course.

Archie Burleigh, Skelmorlie, North Ayrshire

Rent freeze

I am a landlord in Edinburgh. I do not have a pension so the money I have to live on comes from rental income.

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For the two years during Covid I did not raise the rent for obvious reasons but a month ago I reluctantly asked for a small increase which my tenants accepted, saying it was a very fair amount.

The rise was due to begin in October and now I do not know if it can go ahead.

At this time, landlords and tenants are in the same boat, both facing rising costs. I, like my tenants, am suffering with having to pay more for repairs and upkeep to my property. How is Nicola Sturgeon going to help me?

Lilian Clephane, Edinburgh

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Nicola Sturgeon announces rent freeze to help tackle cost-of-living crisis

Voting rules

It is natural that nationalists like Kenny MacAskill (Scotsman, 8 September), should smell a rat over possible rules for referendums, but there are those who sincerely want rules for such events.

It is not unfair to want to ensure that there really is a majority of the populace in favour of major constitutional change. We should remember the words of ex-politician Ken Clarke, when he pointed out that in any referendum, there is a minority who will use it to vote on something else: for example, the popularity of the government of the day.

William Ballantine, Bo’ness, West Lothian

Pain threshold

Apparently there are no bounds to hypocrisy in the Tory Party

While the archaic first-past-the-post voting system is enthusiastically exploited to deliver a large majority in the House of Commons on significantly less than 50 per cent of the votes cast by only around two-thirds of the electorate (that does not include 16- and 17-year-olds), and appointments are made to the House of Lords without any public vote, the latest UK Tory Government regime is considering changing (many would say “rigging”) the minimum threshold for Scotland to become independent to 60 per cent, or perhaps even 67 per cent, of the votes cast.

Unlike many governmentally advanced states around the world, the United Kingdom still does not have a constitution to protect the rights of its citizens nor a voting system that produces proportionately representative outcomes. UK sovereignty rests with the UK Parliament, not the people, so the UK Government is free to change voting rules and set back democracy by unashamedly taking Brexit Britain further down the bleak tunnel of totalitarianism.

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When will those with integrity who genuinely believe in democracy cease voting for a party that abuses their votes and treats their principles with disdain? When will those who still consider “sticking to one’s principles” important cease voting to sustain a system of government that at the whim of a single politician can be abused to diminish, and even abolish, their hard-won human rights and the rights of their children?

Democracy in the UK is now on “life-support” and the anointment of another Tory Prime Minister is not the cure.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian

Why vote?

S Beck (Letters, 7 September) doesn’t get it. It’s his fellow nationalists that want to break up the UK. They are pushing the agenda. If someone doesn’t agree with them, and is happy with the status quo, why do they need to vote?

Lewis Finnie, Edinburgh

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