April 8: Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers

This morning’s letters look at the River Tay beavers and wildlife management, taxation, fuel prices, and road safety in Fife.

Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers

Sir,-I read with interest your article ‘Call for halt to beaver damage’ (April 6) regarding the acceleration of beaver damage on the lower River Earn, reported to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) by an angler.

As with other wildlife, most notably deer, whether the felled trees are viewed as damage or not is only really the concern of the landowner involved.

SNH maintain that it is legal for landowners to kill or remove beavers if they deem it necessary so, officially, there is no problem here.

If the landowner thinks he has a problem, SNH say he can do something about it.

Others will dispute this and the legal position does require to be clarified.

This is why the River Tay beavers are important.

They will force us to address these issues much sooner than the official Scottish Government reintroduction of beavers into Argyll and everyone will benefit from that, whatever their views on beavers might be.

There is little point in calling for a halt to the beaver damage as the Tay beavers do not read The Courier.

What we need is a pragmatic approach from government to this issue which allows us to learn how these animals will interact with other land uses and provides landowners with a workable mechanism for dealing with problem situations.

Ultimately, all our wildlife should be managed locally according to local circumstances and sensitivities, not by a centralised quango in Inverness.

Scottish Natural Heritage are all over the place on this issue and do not have the answers. We will have to look elsewhere for those.

Victor Clements.1 Crieff Road,Aberfeldy.

Victorian species cull

Sir,-I agree in part with Eric McVicar’s letter (April 5) about culling non-indigenous species but he shows a severe lack of knowledge in some areas.

For example, beavers are a native species, as are bears and wolves. The absence of these animals is solely down to Victorian bloodlust, which saw the eradication of a vast number of species worldwide simply to amuse bored aristocrats.

This has left us with a red deer population held on estates causing genetic diversity issues and out of control numbers, due to the lack of natural predators.

I believe he is referring to Japanese knotweed, not Japanese hogweed.

If Mr McVicar is a teacher then I fear for his pupils as he seems to be giving out wrong information and failing to teach them to check their facts.

(Mr) J. Phillip.3 Lyninghills,Forfar.

March of indirect taxation

Sir,-Your editorial (April 5) and related article on the launch of the Scottish Conservative election manifesto for Holyrood misses an important fact.

The fees or graduate contribution to the sum of £4000 is for every year of study.

Parents and students can do the maths. Common sense it may be for Conservatives but, for those affected, it will feel very much like indirect taxation much favoured, as many of your readers will recall, by the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s.

Iain Anderson.41 West End,St Monans.

Motorists need fuel transparency

Sir,-We were conned in the Budget last month.

The petrol companies had predicted the one penny reduction and had already upped the price by three or four pence.

So is it now possible for the UK Government to do two specific things to regain some credibility?

First tell the fuel retailers to instantly removed the ridiculous 0.99 they tag on at the end of their main price and, second, make it a rule to give the displayed price per gallon and not per litre.

After all, cars in particular are sold with predicted miles per gallon consumption (admittedly often optimistic) not miles per litre.

And if motorists were to see immediately the true cost of fuel for their car, instead of ridiculously having to multiply the litre price by 4.546 to find out, they would most certainly be more cautious with their travels and work a lot harder at reducing petrol/diesel consumption.

Having been conned a few weeks ago, vehicle owners are surely entitled to some honesty now.

Ian Wheeler.Springfield,Cupar.

Wind farm risk to road users

Sir,-I feel compelled to reply to your article regarding Fife’s fatal road crashes.

With 10 out of 13 fatal crashes in 2010 happening on rural roads, the most common contributory factor given in your article was failure to observe the road properly.

My concerns are related to the plans submitted to Fife Council for the giant wind turbines on Clatto Hill.

The road that runs adjacent to the proposed site is the C30. This rural road demands your full attention and concentration while driving in either direction.

With the road being narrow, it requires even medium-sized cars to slow down or pull in when passing.

The road has several vertical crests and sharp vertical curvatures which would make the turbines appear suddenly then disappear just as quickly.

As this road has seen many accidents over a number of years, this would surely add another driving distraction to an already dangerous road.

Norman Moodie.Craigview,Clatto Farm,Cupar.

Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.

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