Sir, – Thank you for highlighting the situation about the Blue Badge backlog in Fife.
Your correspondent, Mrs Young (May 7) is quite right and she is one of too many people who are being caused distress by the situation.
On January 14 my application was posted by recorded delivery.
On January 23, I received a letter saying that due to a high volume of applications waiting to be assessed, an extension of three months after the current badge expiry date would be allowed in Fife Council car parks.
There was no mention of how you cope elsewhere in the UK or on holiday abroad where the Blue Badge may be used.
On January 23, I telephoned to ask if this included Kirkcaldy High Street, which was confirmed.
On March 18, I called Blue Badge administration to ask about the progress of my application and was told that it had been processed earlier in that week but I was to be called in for assessment as there was insufficient information on the form.
My response was that my application could not be more detailed.
I could see no good reason to be called in for assessment and I felt as if I was being accused of lying and I wished to see the department’s initial written assessment of myself.
On March 21, I received a call from one of the assessors to whom I repeated my concerns.
She explained that the new rules were more stringent and that the Government system now required more in-depth details to be recorded, which was I why I was being called for a face-to-face assessment.
She said that there was no question of disbelieving me and said my application letter (which accompanied my application form for clarity ) gave a lot of information and was one of the most informative applications.
I responded that it is wrong to allow the new stringent rules to put such stress and anxiety on to the disabled.
It is a mallet to crack the relatively small number of cases of abuse.
On April 6, I received my Blue Badge after 76 days of anxious waiting time.
I would say to all genuine applicants for a Blue Badge, apply a full three months ahead of your badge expiry date.
Make your application as explicit as possible, especially about the reasons why you cannot walk.
Write an accompanying letter for further explanation if necessary and because you may find the application form spaces too small and limiting.
Take some comfort from the fact that if you are called in for a face-to-face assessment and it is deemed that your condition is unlikely to improve, that will be put on record, which will mean your next application in three years’ time should pass through without re-assessment.
Travel modes can change
Sir, – I could not disagree with your correspondent Clark Cross pointing out that previous governments wrongly encouraged the use of diesel.
Scientific findings that diesel emissions contribute to tens of thousands of premature deaths are not new.
Electric cars would help significantly.
Mr Clark’s main point seems to be things will never change. There’s simply too many cars.
However, the average UK car is less than eight years old.
Most of the cars that will be on the road a decade from now have not been built yet.
Looking back 30 years, the number of diesel cars then was about the same as the number of electric cars now.
Things do change in transport trends.
There is not a technical obstacle, and there are economic benefits compared to business as usual.
A collective decision to change can make things happen.
UK subsidies for Scotland
Sir, – The Renewable Energy Foundation has revealed that since 2010, Scotland’s wind farms have been paid £225 million to switch off turbines when it is too windy and the excess electricity is not needed.
Too much wind power has been built in Scotland and even at night when demand significantly drops, the blades whirl round like demented slot machines raking in the money.
The wind subsidies and constraint payments all end up on our energy bills.
The SNP-dominated Scottish Government wants to control everything but they are deliberately avoiding independence in Scotland’s energy.
The leaders, but not the troops, realise that Scotland’s renewables subsidies are spread over all the households in Britain and that if Scotland had to pay for its own subsidies and constraint payment, then Scottish electricity prices would rocket.
Add on the £800 million cost of the Beauly to Denny transmission line and it would be even worse.
Once the English and Welsh realise Scotland’s electricity is being heavily subsidised by them, they will demand independence from Scotland.
138 Springfield Road,
Trade threat to health service
Sir, – In 1992 the Tories in Scotland achieved 25% of the vote in the general election.
Raymond Robertson, then a Tory MP, even said that this showed that the Scottish electorate had rejected devolution.
This argument showed the arrogance and contempt the Tories had for Scotland.
Fast forward 24 years and history is repeating itself.
Ruth Davidson is claiming that the 22% of the vote the Tories got at Holyrood is some sort of rejection of a second independence referendum.
The Tories’ second-place finish was achieved by wrapping themselves in the Union Flag.
The fact is that there is a majority of MSPs who support a second independence
referendum should there be a material change of circumstances.
As early as next month, Scotland could be ripped out of the EU against the wishes of the majority of Scots.
However, even if this scenario doesn’t come to pass there is an even bigger threat on the horizon.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated between the EU and USA if signed, would lead to the privatisation of the NHS in Scotland.
The Scottish Government would be forced to allow US “healthcare” companies to run NHS services.
David Cameron could exempt the NHS from the TTIP but has refused.
In this eventuality, independence would be the only way to avoid the privatisation of the NHS.
2 Gillespie Terrace,
Sir, – Towards the end of March we heard that the Court of Session in Edinburgh had upheld the appeal against Fife Council’s planning application in principle to build the replacement Madras College at Pipeland Farm.
The three senior judges had quashed the application and told the council to start the process again from scratch.
Imagine our surprise to learn that, without any apparent debate within the full council or the North East Fife Committee, it was announced in the press that the first steps were being taken to re-launch the Pipeland proposal.
This seems unbelievable since one of the many reasons given by the judges for quashing Pipeland was that Fife Council had erred in ruling out at least one of the alternative sites for the school.
Is it not obvious that if the council tries to return to the Pipeland site without a full and transparent assessment of all alternatives, it is bound to fail again in the courts?
If it was judged to be unsuitable once it will surely be judged unsuitable again.
Could this just be a cynical delaying tactic to avoid swallowing injured pride, to avoid the inevitable poor showing of Pipeland in any fair comparison and to
avoid facing up to the determination of our community to get some proper progress in a much-delayed and badly-managed project?
How must our local elected representatives be feeling, not having been involved in the recent moves, and only reading about them in the press?
How are they supposed to answer the mounting public concern that we face yet more unwarranted delays?
Lastly, if it is true that the council has asked Scottish Ministers to remove Pipeland Farm from the green belt, is there any other explanation than to ease the passage of a future planning proposal on that site? What price democracy and lawfulness now?
Summer of uncertainty
Sir, – Nicola Sturgeon says she will have a clear mandate, which is true regarding the matters set out unambiguously in the SNP manifesto.
Yet that manifesto included knowingly unclear wording in relation to a possible
second independence referendum.
The words were vague, in part to leave Ms Sturgeon discretion to judge when she feels the time is right, but also because anything more specific would require answers to the constitutional conundrum that a demand for another referendum would create.
The UK Government would not agree a re-run so soon after the clear 2014 vote, particularly given the SNP has no mandate for it.
Are we to assume Ms Sturgeon plans a unilateral approach?
Meanwhile, Scotland waits in uncertainty. The summer campaign to undermine Scotland’s relationship with the UK will start a clock ticking on another referendum, despite there being no legal or democratic foundations for it.