Sir, In the article in Thursday’s Courier it is alleged that the taxis in North East Fife are the most dangerous in Fife because of the lower pass rate in the annual safety checks.
What is not mentioned is that the tests for the different areas are carried out at different test stations.
The lower pass rate in North East Fife could be explained by the test being more rigorous in North East Fife.
A more rigorous test is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if that were the case, the conclusion to be drawn would be that the taxis operating in North-East Fife after passing the test would be less dangerous than those in the other areas. This is the exact opposite of the conclusion reached by the councillors.
M Vansittart. Taxi Operator, 6 The Cribbs, St Monans.
Misuse of the Electricity Act
Sir, Another key aspect of central government’s stranglehold on local planning democracy is its misuse of the Electricity Act of 1989. This gives central government the absolute power to decide applications for power stations over 50MW “in the national interest”.
This has enabled Energy Minister Fergus Ewing to rubber stamp four out of every five applications for huge industrial wind farms that cross his desk.
Yet wind’s inherent unreliability means wind farms can never achieve their nameplate capacity in the way that nuclear or fossil fuel installations can; the wind industry talks optimistically of an annual output of 30% but the Scottish average is in fact 23%.
Deploying the Electricity Act to consent windfarms whose actual output will only be a fraction of 50MW may be technically legal but the Government, like the wind industry, is pulling a fast one. Local authorities are of course “consulted” on Section 36 applications and councillors can object, but an objection triggers a public local inquiry, for which local authorities have to foot a hefty bill. Already cash-strapped, councils besieged with windfarm applications cannot afford to throw away tens of thousands of pounds on a scrutiny process which many feel the minister will ignore anyway.
The purpose of the Electricity Act was to enable government to permit the infrastructure necessary to maintain a secure national electricity supply. The irony is that the excessive wind development the Act is being misused to sanction has made our national electricity supply more insecure and expensive than ever before.
Linda Holt. Dreel House, Pittenweem, Anstruther.
A prime site for turbines?
Sir, Re your article headed “Disgraceful abuse of power angers Tory MSP”, I quite agree with the comments of Murdo Fraser MSP.
I would suggest that Alex Salmond and the SNP at Holyrood, should lead from the front in this matter, by setting an example of their seriousness, and insisting on the installation of wind turbines to be situated on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, in sufficient numbers to power the whole of Edinburgh and East Lothian.
Arthur’s Seat must surely be a prime site for wind turbines as it stands well above the city. Or is this a case of Salmond taking a NIMBY stance?
Harry Ritchie. Beechwood, Barry.
Revealing and alarming
Sir, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons has asked for better organisation and resourcing for the rehabilitation of prisoners in Scottish prisons (The Courier, June 11). Very commendable.
But his reasons for arriving at this recommendation are revealing and alarming. He said there had been improvements, but it was “dispiriting” to find “a significant proportion of prisoners or young offenders in halls or their cells during the working day.”
He said that “some young offenders are still in their beds in the afternoon. Watching day-time television is not, in my view, a substitute for purposeful activity.” Quite so.
We had it tougher on national service, we had done nothing wrong and there was no remission for good behaviour!
George K McMillan. 5 Mount Tabor Avenue, Perth.
So, whose fault is it anyway?
Sir, With reference to your article in The Courier, June 13, regarding the financial predicament of the cafes within the Fife Council’s leisure centres, can I assist the relevant committee’s enquiries into the problem?
The cafes have to source their supplies from the central store of Fife Council.
Any person with knowledge of this establishment, will know the prices charged by this department vastly exceed those of independent wholesalers.
Whose fault is that? Fife Council’s. Enough said.
Allan Murray. 44 Napier Road, Glenrothes.