Government to blame for flooding problems

Sir, I have not seen a dredger or a sand-boat on the Tay for years, certainly not on the Newburgh to Perth stretch. When I worked at the Flukie and Venture salmon fishing stations in the 1950s, they were a common sight.

I have also long admired and wondered at the fertility and prosperity of the Carse of Gowrie, with its neat fields and handsome crops, having learned how experts and workmen came over from the Netherlands 200 years ago to drain the marshes and low-lying fields to make the land fit for cultivation.

In recent years I have watched in dismay as more and more fields became flooded and was told by a farmer that the fault lay with the government who took ditch-clearing out of the hands of local farmers and authorities who, over the years, kept the waters at bay.

The same applies to the dredgers. Their activities were brought to a halt when a government agency stepped in to stop the dredging and sand companies from taking sand and gravel from the river, partly because of the disturbance to river plants and creatures and partly because the dumping back into the river of the unwanted surplus was deemed pollution.

In Somerset, whole villages and many farms have been inundated after recent heavy rains partly because the government has not been dredging rivers or keeping ditches clear work once done very efficiently by locals. The same government agency is spending millions deliberately flooding coastal areas to provide a habitat for migrating birds.

We have had severe weather before, including prolonged periods of heavy rain, followed by flooding, but sensible measures have limited the damage. The “green brigade” have taken over, with strong support from the EU, while common sense has gone out of the window!

George K McMillan. 5 Mount Tabor Avenue, Perth.

Due to lack of maintenance?

Sir, The Levels of Somerset are swamped and locals remember the way they used to be managed dredging rivers. Is the Kinnesburn not better now when similarly properly cleared?

Was the lack of maintenance a factor which caused the damaging burst in Dura Den, virtually demolishing a house and causing the collapse of the road, still closed to traffic? How many roads are flooded because ditches and gullies are no longer tended by local roadmen?

Money a problem? Divert some of the loot wasted on wind turbine subsidies.

Mike Scott-Hayward. Sawmill House, Kemback Bridge, Fife.

Urban sprawl on good land

Sir, In their future plans Dundee City Council refer to the need for sustainable developments. I am not quite sure how the proposal for 600 new homes at the Western Gateway can be classed as sustainable.

This is a low-density proposal which will be difficult to access by public transport and will no doubt add to traffic density on the main route to Perth and on the Kingsway.

The development would be on agricultural land when there are available sites within the existing built up city boundaries.

Building on green field sites is clearly not sustainable and is especially difficult to justify when there are alternatives.

Planners refer to the need to make Dundee an attractive place to live but one of its attractions is that it is relatively compact with a green corridor surrounding it and giving access to the countryside this development is effectively urban sprawl and would use good agricultural land.

Robert Potter. Menzieshill Road, Dundee.

Toxic fume danger

Sir, The excellent article by Andrew Argo on the toxics in our environment from car fumes brought to my attention again the danger of carbon monoxide fumes.

I have been involved in health and safety for years and have raised questions about the practice of removing toxic road painting using high-intensity gas burners.

The fumes are far more concentrated in the atmosphere and remain much longer meaning more exposure to these poisonous particles for the general public.

Also, road traffic operatives do not wear any protective masks. Having drawn the attention of a major Tayside company involved daily in this task to this, their attitude on health and safety was not what you would expect. As far as they are concerned there is no problem and no risk assessment is required.

This is an arrogant attitude from their health and safety division. Please make your readers aware of this danger. Perhaps Andrew Argo could investigate this further?

Stewart Ellis. 3 Manse Place, Monifieth.

Hovercraft are unsuitable

Sir, Councillor Flynn would appear to have limited experience and knowledge of hovercraft. Records show that their use in the English Channel was terminated for many reasons including those given in Friday’s Courier.

They are noisy, and visually unacceptable. Also they are uncomfortable for passengers. Clearly the Edinburgh councillors didn’t take too long to scrap their deployment on the Forth.

I wonder if this question is an indication of quality of politicians we might aspire to in a separate Scotland?

D Morrison. 1 Grampian View, Perth.

Disgusted by comments

Sir, I was absolutely disgusted to read about Nigel Farage’s inane comments on ending gun control and the Dunblane Massacre in 1996. I have never heard anything so insenstive and nonsensical in my life. It is completely heartless and grossly insensitive to the families of those innocent children who died.

The gun controls this country has in place are necessary to protect innocent people from the hands of people like Thomas Hamilton so something so horrendous as what happened in 1996 can never happen again.

Nigel Farage will have done himself no favours in Scotland, and in fact may have committed political suicide.

Gordon Kennedy. 117 Simpson Square, Perth.

Where our money goes

Sir, I have checked out some of the major Scottish Government projects in recent years to see where the money goes and who is responsible for the estimates.

The parliament building; original estimate £40 million, finished up at £440 million with maintenance now running at more than £141,000 per month. The Edinburgh tram project; original estimate £375 million, now it’s £776 million. Not only have there been long delays, but the trams are only going half the original distance.

The Stirling/Alloa/Kincardine rail link; original estimate £70 million, now £95 million plus another £20 million for repairs and the contract has overrun by two and a half years. The Borders rail link; original estimate £200 million, it has now risen by another £50 million.

Glasgow airport rail link; originally £200 million and possibly rising by another £50 million plus. The new Forth road crossing; original estimate was £1.6 billion but good news! There might be a saving of £700 million. This still makes it the most expensive suspension bridge per metre in the world! The question is, how is the road infrastructure going to cope at either side of two bridges?

And, of course, wind farms. Millions of pounds are still being wasted on this flawed project, with foreign companies and land owners getting richer every day.

Now, if you are wondering where all this money is coming from the answer is easy us! All figures quoted are in GBP.

According to one SNP MP the blame lies with the previous Liberal and Labour administration.

Charles Henderson. 5 High Street, Auchtermuchty.

Let’s listen to the young folk

Sir, Noting that a poll of 16-year-olds resulted in a majority in favour of independence, while the “no” vote majority is still with the older voters, I wondered why this should be?

Perhaps these young people are properly discussing, in their classrooms, the real pros and cons and therefore arriving at a more reasoned “yes” or “no” decision than the rest of us?

If so, it would do you no harm to give them some space in your columns so that we may all learn something; after all, they are our future. We, the “plebs”, are just mushrooms “kept in the dark”. . . etc . . . we are not even allowed to know what our First Minister spends of our money on hotels.

The forthcoming referendum is one of the most important decisions we will ever have to make, but the way our politicians are treating it . . . I’ll go with the bairns.

G Stewart. Clayholes, by Carnoustie.

We must grasp the nettle now

Sir, It is extremely heartening to read that ICM Survey for Scotland reports the largest swing towards a “yes” vote since it has been recorded. The survey concludes support for independence has risen from 32% to 37% during the last four months.

I found the words uttered by Jim Sillars on “Scotland Tonight” only a few days ago both compelling and profound . . . “for 15 hours on September 18 of this year all Scots will be independent and free to choose their destiny”.

I recently turned 65 years of age. Never did I imagine that such a momentous day would present itself in my lifetime.

We Scots must grasp the nettle now as such an opportunity may never present itself again in the next century.

The “no” campaign are promoting negativity towards Scotland and will continue to muddy the waters, whether it be over the economy, currency, or defence. It brings to my mind a poem by Sir Walter Scott, Marmion: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.”

On referendum day stop and ask yourself this simple question: do I trust David Cameron to rule and guide a future Scotland better than my fellow Scots?

Brian Boyes. 12 Den Park, Abernethy.