Sir, – The closure of Longannet power station in 2016 raises a key question.
What happens when the wind is not blowing?
Shutting down Longannet is in line with Scottish Government policy to decarbonise our economy, with coal worse for the environment than using gas, or, of course, renewables.
In the years ahead, where will our electricity come from?
In the first half of 2014, for the first time, renewable energy provided the single largest source of energy with 10.3 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity generation in Scotland, with nuclear power contributing 7.8 TWh, while coal (now ending) was the source of 5.6 TWh and gas 1.4 TWh.
The two nuclear power stations, Torness and Hunterston, are scheduled to close in only eight years’ time and they provide more than 30% of our total electricity.
Scottish Power has dropped its plans for a new gas-fired power station.
So from 2023 onwards, it appears when the wind is not blowing we will import a large amount of electricity from England and Wales to keep the lights on.
It looks like being part of an integrated energy system within the UK will be critical for Scotland.
Keith Howell. White Moss, West Linton.
North Inch golf course is a treat
Sir, – It is heartening to be able to write in positive terms about decisions made by Perth and Kinross Council.
The appointment of Niall McGill as the North Inch Golf supremo (I am not sure what his official title is but that will do) is the best decision they have made since offering me early retirement.
Niall has tackled the job with an energy and vigour that is remarkable and effective.
Along with his team of ground staff and starters he has transformed the course from a well laid out but inadequately maintained course to one which is always a pleasure to play.
The rough is fairer, the greens are faster and improving and it is encouraging with winter approaching to see the work done on drainage.
The North Inch is a course that Perth can be proud of and would, I am sure, delight previous North Inch golfer such as Mary Queen of Scots and James VI were they in a position to play a round now.
I would encourage any golfer regal or otherwise to give it a tryMy congratulations and grateful thanks to Niall and his team.
George Thomson 7 Glenearn Park, Forgandenny.
Stop digging Mr Salmond
Sir, – Our former First Minister would do well to remember Lord Healey’s Law of Holes.
The law is simple enough: “When in a hole, stop digging.”
In trying to draw back from dismissing half the people of Scotland as beneath his preference, Mr Salmond now asks what it is about religious faith we fear that makes people like me so sensitive.
The answer is nothing and we are not at all sensitive about it, unless and until it starts to dictate the parameters of our life to us.
As I have no interest in forcing my lack of belief on to Mr Salmond, perhaps it is for him to tell us why he has a problem dealing with people of no faith.
Accusing us of belief in nothing is ironic indeed.
From where we stand, it is Mr Salmond who believes in nothing.
Alistair McBay. National Secular Society, 5 Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh.
Reality deniers avoiding truth
Sir, – On a recent visit to my daughter and her family in the United States, I visited Washington DC with my two grandsons.
Outside the White House, there was a demonstration going on.
Banners proclaimed the end of the world would come on October 7 and asked: “Are you ready?’’
Orange-clad participants in the march were handing out leaflets and I was given one by a very pleasant and seemingly intelligent and affable elderly man.
On reading the leaflet I learned that the precise date for our mutual end had been calculated from “serious biblical study”.
In truth, I thought it most funny and was almost expecting a Candid Camera team, for those who can remember, to pop out at any time.
While attempting to justify my laughter to my younger grandson I realised suddenly that we have had our own fantasy pedlars in Europe over the past few years.
From the SNP takeover of Scotland to Corbynmania and the UKIP phenomenon, all the way across to the reality deniers in Greece, there seems to have been a growing tendency to believe anything you are told as long as it avoids truth and facts.
There is little difference between the end of the world is nigh adherents that day in Washington and many in UK and European politics today.
Alexander McKay. 8/7 New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh.
Need for Leven rail reconnection
Sir, – Your feature on reinstating rail links in Fife presented a slightly misleading scenario.
While running trains to St Andrews would be justified and welcome, the St Andrews project is nearly not as advanced nor as compelling as the Levenmouth case which seemed to be included almost as an afterthought in the piece.
Apart from the fact the line is partly developed, the formal Strategic Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) exercise which is a formal prerequisite to considering reinstatement, has never been applied to the St Andrews link yet Levenmouth is undergoing its second major such study in seven years.
The 2008 STAG Report was very positive in its assessment and it is expected the current reappraisal will be even more so.
In addition, Fife Council has stated reinstatement from Thornton to Leven is its first transport priority, supporting industrial investment and tackling deprivation in the Levenmouth area which has a far higher population than the St Andrews catchment and can merely extend Fife Circle services.
An efficient and inclusive transport system for Scotland would involve reconnecting both Leven and St Andrews without question but Leven is much likelier to get the go-ahead
Neil Stewart. 64 Omar Crescent, Buckhaven.
Callous actions of Hungary
Sir, – I regret that many of the long-distance express trains across Europe exist no longer.
When I was young, it was possible to board such a train in Hook of Holland and to travel through Germany, Austria and on to Athens or Istanbul without changing one’s compartment.
Before the collapse of the Iron Curtain, nobody wishing to travel from Belgrade to Munich would have gone anywhere near Hungary as the most direct route is through Zagreb, Slovenia and Salzburg.
Although I have family connections with Hungarians, I deplore the callous attitude of their government towards asylum seekers.
I am just sorry that those who are in genuine need or in danger from the savage extremists of ISIS do not obtain asylum while they are in Turkey and instead risk their lives trying to reach Greek islands.
Robin Ball. 27 Morgan Street, Dundee.
Time to praise health service
Sir, – There are so many scary stories about the National Health Service that I would like to share my experiences.
I recently attended four outpatients clinics at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, and the orthopaedic department at Perth Royal Infirmary for a minor operation.
I can honestly say that I received the best care and investigations that I could wish for.
The nurses on the orthopaedic ward were run ragged, but there was always a smile and nothing was too much trouble for them.
So let us be thankful for our National Health Service. It is not perfect, nothing can be, but, with the demands put upon it, I think that it does a grand job.
Maggie Taylor. 7 Mathieson Court, Auchtermuchty.
NIMBY outlook of politicians
Sir, – Politicians often expose a not-in-my-back yard attitude when trying to land political point-scoring blows on each other.
We have Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham taking every opportunity to play the refugee card by telling us all we need to move over a bit and make more room in this overpopulated country .
Many politicians have two homes and a large wage to help avoid overcrowded schools and to pay for private health care.
They lead very sheltered lives in the Westminster bubble.
Colin Cookson. Hatton Green, Stenton, Glenrothes.