Dark Sky claims unfounded

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LAST Sunday you published an article titled “Dark Sky chief quit over wind farm ­pressure”. It contained completely unfounded allegations made by a former employee, Robert Ince, and Professor John Brown that I had exerted pressure.

Although the article referred to my absolute rebuttal of the allegations, the headline effectively implied that they were true.

I told your reporter that Ince’s decision to resign was his alone and that he had, at no time, been put under any pressure from me or anyone else with regard to the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory’s position on any wind farm proposal. It would indeed not have been possible for me to do so as I am only one of the trustees and decisions are taken by all trustees.

Very importantly, Ince’s resignation letter to the trustees commences with the following statement: “You will all be aware of the circumstances leading up to my resignation but I will still document them here to avoid any future misrepresentation.” It then continues for two pages, making not one single reference to wind farms or pressure over wind farm objections.

The headline presented the reasons for Ince leaving as fact, not a claim. Although the subsequent text talked of “claims”, as you well know, the headline is what readers ­remember.

J Mark Gibson, Craigengillan, Dalmellington, Ayr

Mark Gibson wrote to SoS today, referring to the March 23 SoS piece about resignations at the Scottish Dark Skies Observatory (SDSO).

His letter claims “[The article] contained completely unfounded allegations made by ... Professor John Brown that I [MG] had exerted pressure…”

Anyone reading it will find I made no such allegations in the SOS article (nor in my resignation letter) simply giving my main reason for resignation as “…the collapse of my efforts to mediate in rows between Craigengillan and SDSO over issues including wind farm objections …”

In the article one of the three Trustees who quit cited similar reasons.

A retracton would be in order

John C Brown,

Astronomer Royal for Scotland