Sir, – I read with interest and much pleasure your article about the number of visitors attracted to Angus in 2016.
To be able to attract more than a million people and the associated income of £220 million into the economy is very good news.
The visiting public are finding the range of activities, iconic events in different burghs and the scenery very attractive.
Long may that continue. With the 2018 Open Championship being staged at Carnoustie, there is further cause for optimism.
With an average spend of over £90 per person, many people are benefiting from this high and sustained level of tourism.
However, I wonder how much thought Angus Council is giving to catering for the needs of the visitors. Never mind a million, can they spend a penny?
Angus Council were given some robust messages from the Audit Scotland report in 2016 about their performance and are understandably keen to be seen to exercise financial prudence and provide high-quality services.
The public understands the need for savings but they are not stupid. However, statements from officers and elected members like ‘we have no money’ don’t wash when you see how the council conducts some aspects of their business.
The communities directorate, in its attempts to save money, has initiated a planned closure of public toilets.
Although it is not a statutory requirement to provide and maintain public toilets, it is surely not unreasonable for the public, both local and visitors, to be able to easily find a toilet in any burgh in Angus?
In an overall budget of £250 million, surely this is a tiny amount for the public to expect?
The response of the understandably hard pressed communities directorate has been to offer communities the opportunity to take over looking after toilets for a payment.
This policy of handing over toilets to local communities is not delegation, but abdication.
City of Brechin and District Community Council.
Stars should lead by example
Sir, – A group of Scotland’s leading entertainers and civic leaders is urging Ruth Davidson to put more pressure on the UK Government to take in more child refugees.
Several of these people do not pay UK taxes but choose to pontificate on matters which UK taxpayers fund.
In fact, with the recent change giving tax powers to Scotland, Scottish taxpayers will fund refugees, their housing and health needs and their education.
If these people are so concerned, then they should personally be sponsoring them by giving substantial amounts to fund these refugees for a long period.
Why do they not take in a child refugee, or even better, a family of refugees?
I seem to recall Nicola Sturgeon stating, when attacking Westminster over the Syrian refugee issue, that she would lead by example and take in a Syrian family.
How is this family settling in at her official residence of Bute House I wonder?
138 Springfield Road,
Duke has served Britain well
Sir, – I would like to pay tribute to Prince Philip, an exemplary man who has done a sterling job of being a very loyal royal consort to the Queen for many years.
He has carried out an astonishing 22,219 solo engagements plus many more accompanying the Queen.
And let us not forget to mention the four million mainly young people he has helped improve their chances of employment and their futures through the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
He, like the royal family, is a great asset to our country.
He has carried out his roles with dignity, selflessness and a witty sense of humour right up until the age of 96. I wish him a very happy and healthy retirement and may God’s blessing be on him and the rest of the royal family.
117 Simpson Square,
Scotland sea grab victim
Sir, – In 2014, MEP Alyn Smith informed me that the 6,000 square miles of Scottish waters, rich in fishing stocks (and containing seven oilfields) secretly gifted to Westminster in 1998 by Tony Blair, automatically revert to Scotland on independence, under EU rules.
But Brexit changes all, and Theresa May’s imminent power grab could seal the fate of our Scottish waters for all time.
Why has this unprecedented and presumably illegal sea grab never been challenged in the United Kingdom and EU courts?
Surely it should be resolved immediately, before Britain leaves the EU?
Electric cars are the future
Sir, – Your letter writers who seem concerned about where the electricity for cars will come from, don’t appear to have noticed we have a rapid rise in renewable generation. The problem we are now more frequently facing is an excess of generation.
To give some context, the annual production of 4kWp of PV on a house roof in Scotland is about the same as would provide for the annual mileage of a car. Without a subsidy, this would be cheaper per mile than petrol is from the pump.
Having had an electric car for more than a year, I have no concerns. It is already good enough for us. We’ve even been to the Lake District in it, and they are only getting better. Our battery has about enough for a week’s worth of commuting.
Charging infrastructure works well enough but only because there are not yet many other electric cars on the road.
There needs to be both more charging infrastructure to cope with more cars and smarter infrastructure to match supply and demand on the grid. Take the solar example. If it is going to benefit both, then cars need to be plugged in during the day.
That means, for instance, encouraging more workplace charging. Getting the charging infrastructure right is where government could get more involved.