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We need flood consultation from Sepa

We need flood consultation from Sepa

Sir, – I read your article, Priority flood schemes for Tayside and Fife (January 12) with considerable interest, particularly the comments by Terry A’Hearn of Sepa on the development of flood-risk management strategies.

Having lived on the banks of the South Queich for more than 30 years, I have yet to see a Sepa representative in our area, even when a report of burn pollution was sent to them.

In addition to this, our neighbour recently complained vociferously about the serious flooding of the road by which several properties are accessed.

When we first arrived here the road never flooded due principally to the attendance of a JCB and driver every four to six months to clear and clean the drainage ditch which ran alongside the road.

This time, however, rather than a digger and driver arriving, a lorry arrived with a squad of men who proceeded to erect two signs, one at each end of the road, stating: road liable to flooding.

When I complained to our community councillor about the solution used by the council to resolve the flooding issue, he informed me that the because of a European edict, enforced by SEPA, ditch cleaning was no longer allowed in order to prevent contamination of the South Queich and possible damage to the wildlife it supports.

In a recent television report on the flooding, a victim complained that extensive work had been carried out to protect freshwater mussels but nothing to protect their property and she closed with the statement: “I thought their job was to protect people as well as wildlife.”

My wife and I have never received either advice or support from anyone in the 38 years we have been here and financed any measures to protect our property ourselves and we are now worried that erecting flood walls on the South Queich could pose a threat to our property by causing the water to back up and flood our garden.

So before Mr A’Hearn commits himself to claims in print that the strategies have been developed to help reduce the damage caused by flooding, he should make sure that these same strategies are not creating problems for people that they have chosen not to consult with.

A.G. Brunton. Bellfield Mill Cottage, Kinross.

What do we do with sandbags?

Sir, – It was with interest that I read your article (January 9) about the success of flood prevention in Perth’s Marshall Place and Scott Street when around 7,000 sandbags were distributed.

What happens to these sandbags now?

Do the residents give them back to Perth and Kinross Council?

Or are they kept by the householders for the next flood?

Isabel Wardrop. 111 Viewlands Road West, Perth.

Should convict be deported?

Sir, – I find it extremely hard to take that an asylum seeker (January 9) was arrested in Dunfermline for a drink-driving offence and giving a false name and was only given a sentence of 100 hours’ community service.

Where did he get the money to be excessively drunk and to run a car?

Native Scots are having their benefits cut and having to beg at foodbanks and this character seems to have plenty.

Since he broke the law, why is he not being deported?

Alister Rankin. 93 Whyterose Terrace, Methil.

Big pay dayfor politicians

Sir, – As a senior citizen, I find it insulting and revealing that our masters at Holyrood are intent on moving elections for the Scottish Parliament and local councils back one year so they do not clash with elections for Westminster.

It is insulting because the majority of voters, including myself, would have no problem recording their votes for Holyrood, Westminster and councils on the same day, saving the public purse millions of pounds.

It was revealing because the politicians are the ones who will benefit from this change and will get an extra year of generous salary and expenses and no election to face.

RHL Mulheron. 28 Cowgate, Tayport.

Restrictions by Christians

Sir, – David Robertson (January 12) claims that the British values of freedom, equality and diversity “stem from our Christian heritage”.

This is utterly false. These values stem from our Enlightenment heritage, whereby the worst excesses of so-called Christian values were either reined in or dispensed with.

The Enlightenment promoted freedom of expression and free thought while Christianity sought to suppress these through blasphemy laws.

Thanks to the Enlightenment we no longer imprison or murder witches, nor do we imprison gay people or otherwise impair their rights, and we have dispensed with capital punishment in the name of the Christian state.

Women too have benefited enormously from suffrage and equality, while Christianity has mounted objection to every social reform that has improved the rights of large and diverse groups in society.

It is amusing to see the Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland champion freedom, equality and diversity since he campaigns to restrict the human rights and freedoms of others and sees these values solely through the prism of his fundamentalist religious belief.

Alistair McBay. National Secular Society, 5 Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh.

We do not back atheist schools

Sir, – David Robertson (January 12) contends that I don’t want Christianity presented as fact in state schools, I want it “taught as myth, by secularist atheists”.

I wrote that it should be studied “as an important cultural influence”, which does not require its supernatural beliefs to be presented as either fact or myth.

Not saying a story is true is not the same as saying it is untrue and a neutral position can be maintained in the class by all teachers, regardless of their own beliefs.

Mr Robertson argues that schools which don’t promote belief in God are atheist schools. No. They are secular schools. An atheist school would promote disbelief and that would be as inappropriate and non-educational as promoting belief.

Mr Robertson refers to schools where Christian pupils have had their faith mocked. If the schools were complicit in the mockery, complaints should be made. The Scottish Secular Society would not defend such behaviour or regard it as neutral on religion.

Robert Canning. The Scottish Secular Society, 58a Broughton Street, Edinburgh.

Climate change is cyclical

Sir, – Mr Hinnrich’s alarmist defence of unproven climate- change theory is always entertaining, but his characterisation of those who disagree with him as gullible freemarket Thatcherites in the thrall of the oil companies supports the old saw that the descent to abuse shows that the argument has been lost.

Of greater interest is his labelling of those who do not support him as deniers. This term of abuse has been chosen by the climate change industry as it echoes the term holocaust deniers.

Nobody denies climate change. Where I sit now was once tropical rainforest. At other times I would have been under three miles of ice.

In the 11,000 years since the emergence of humanity, climate has been a rollercoaster.

The only people who have denied this are Mr Hinnrich’s peers, whose now discredited hockey-stick theory was based on the proposition that there had been no climate change for millennia. The cycle of change is identifiable and nothing has happened that would not have happened, regardless of mankind.

Bill McKenzie. 48 Fintry Place, Broughty Ferry.

Set up Scottish wind fund

Sir, – Clark Cross (January 9) is quite right to warn about the prospect of rusting turbines littering our countryside.

Experience in other countries has shown that when the subsidies stop, turbines are abandoned.

The operators take their money and run, leaving behind shell companies with zero assets to pay for removal and restitution.

We’ve seen it happen with opencast coal mining in Scotland and there is no doubt the same situation will be repeated with windfarms in the coming decades, with the taxpayer left to pick up the tab.

The responsibility for this state of affairs lies with the current Scottish Government.

Their rush to maximise wind energy development blinded it to the brutal commercial motives of speculators.

However, it still has a chance of rescuing the situation somewhat. It could immediately make restoration bonds mandatory for all new turbine developments, requiring that they be paid upfront before any turbine is erected (or replaced).

The Government could set up a wind fund to tap the excessive, publicly-subsidised profits of existing wind farms.

This would be similar to the oil fund the SNP have long blamed Westminster for failing to introduce.

Before wind operators squeal that they need the 100% subsidy on electricity they produce, they should remember that John Swinney copied George Osborne in clawing back some of these excessive profits.

There is plenty more fat Mr Swinney could trim off wind revenues before communities are left to face rotting turbines.

Graham Lang. Scotland Against Spin, Westermost, Ceres.