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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Readers' letters

Waste has to be dumped somewhere

April 9 2013

Sir, Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie argues that Rosyth, although willing to accrue the alleged “economic benefit” of Westminster’s nuclear submarines, “shouldn’t be expected to tolerate the burden of a nuclear waste site on their doorstep”. Although I agree with Mr Rennie that the safety of the people of Rosyth must be paramount, where else does he propose that the nuclear waste be dumped? On the doorstep of another Scottish town? Amidst the natural beauty of unspoilt Scottish countryside? It will have to be dumped somewhere. As long as the UK Government squanders taxpayers’ cash on such morally dubious and potentially hazardous nuclear technologies including £100 billion on the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons stationed merely 40 kilometres from our largest city significant amounts of dangerous, toxic waste will necessarily have to be dumped on Scotland’s doorstep. The only way to avoid the problem of dealing with nuclear waste is, quite simply, to cease producing it. Given Westminster’s inane infatuation with militaristic vanity projects, this is unachievable without a Yes vote in 2014. With the powers of an independent nation, Scotland will no longer be an impotent spectator in her own home as its natural beauty is defaced and its values debased by Westminster vandals. David Kelly. 17 Highfields, Dunblane. They’re putting this “majesty” at risk Sir, It was with interest and a certain amount of incredulity that I read John Swinney’s comments in Friday’s paper. He has the audacity to talk of walking through the “majesty of the county of Angus the great historic houses like Glamis, the beauty of the glens and the coastline”. He is perfectly correct in stating that Angus contains many beautiful views and a magnificent coastline but all of this is being put at risk through his party’s determination to meet “green” energy targets through an unproven method of production ie wind turbines. If he has any proof of the success rate he envisages through these monstrosities then I would be glad to hear them. I would also to hear when the people of the majestic country he is spoiling by erecting them can expect to benefit by receiving lower electric bills. Willie Robertson. Forest Park Cottage, Lynton, Stanley, Perthshire. Saved 28%, wrecked 72% Sir, So that nice Mr Salmond has decided to spare 28% of Scotland’s wild land from windfarms! He could still be the Scot who is remembered for wrecking the landscape and wildlife of the remaining 72% of one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It would take 16,000 large onshore turbines to meet Scotland’s present peak demand,not to mention the essential back-up. Also, the God of renewables is extremely greedy, and few industries could remain competitive with such high electricity prices, or consumers stay out of fuel poverty. The chancellor is already having to exempt certain manufacturing industries from the climate change levy. Stephen Grieve. 60 Nethergate, Crail. Biomass claim simply not true Sir, Your reporter’s claim (April 6) that Courier readers have given their backing to a biomass plant at the harbour could not be further from the truth. From a small sample size of 102, only 45 respondents agreed that Dundee port is a good site for a biomass plant. In contrast, 3,274 written letters of objection from local residents were received by the Scottish Government when this incinerator was initially proposed in 2010. The article also fails to mention that Forth Energy’s revised report states that 12,748 people would be affected by increased levels of nitrogen dioxide if this plant is approved. NHS Tayside expressed concern in December 2010 about this plant subjecting even small populations to increases in pollution levels. The article also highlights the fact that road traffic is a major contributor to the nitrogen dioxide problems in the Stannergate area, but it fails to mention the fact that an additional 20,000 HGV movements in and out of the port area each year would be experienced if the plant is approved, leading to further increases in NO2 levels. The article also features an artist’s impression of the plant. It fails to highlight the fact that the chimney would be almost twice the height of Tayside House and would be the first thing to catch the eye of any visitor coming to Dundee. Why bother having a design competition for the V&A when tourists’ attention will be drawn towards the enormous incinerator on the other side of the bridge? Is this really what Courier readers want in our city? N. McLean. Primrose Bank, Dundee.

Readers' letters

January 5: Scottish ministers ignored nuclear contribution

January 5 2011

On the agenda today: Scotland's energy mix, how other countries deal with snow, Christians in Iraq, and our money supply. Scottish ministers ignored nuclear contribution Sir,-Your article 'No electricity being imported in recent cold snap (December 29)' was hardly fair to our own long-established nuclear industry. Torness and Hunterston power stations have produced an average output of about one giga watt each for approximately 22 and 35 years respectively. That is about one quarter of Scotland's needs of reliable, affordable low-carbon electricity. I believe the cost of modern, non-subsidised nuclear, including decommissioning, is less than half that of heavily subsidised offshore wind. If Scotland really was a net energy exporter during the prolonged cold snap of recent weeks, it must have been due to our large, polluting coal-fired power stations, our two low-carbon nuclear power stations, some hydro-electric plants plus, of course, 2.5% of wind power. The decline in electricity demand in Scotland due to the shutdown of our own manufacturing industry must also play a large part, which can only increase rapidly as new renewables push up the price of electricity to astronomical levels. As David J. C. Mackay says in his seminal book, Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air, the numbers must add up and, in the case of the present Scottish Government, a maths tutor might be helpful. Stephen Grieve.60 Nethergate,Crail. SNP will take realistic option Sir,-Three years ago, as a carefree Liberal politician without the slightest prospect of power, Chris Huhne dismissed nuclear energy as a "tried, tested and failed technology." Today, after a bruising encounter with the hard realities of being UK Energy Secretary in the coalition government, he is a convert to the nuclear cause and will be joined sooner or later by First Minister Alex Salmond. Chris Huhne's new proposals mark a welcome and fundamental shift away from New Labour's renewables obsession to a more balanced strategy with nuclear playing a prominent role. A timely warning came on our recent coldest night when the power coming from UK wind turbines fell to 0.2 per cent and we were only saved by the French nuclear reactors. (Dr) John Cameron.10 Howard Place,St Andrews. Sensible precautions Sir,-Why do we seek to blame the Government when we cannot cope with the snow? At one time, most supplies of grit, and indeed other commodities, were transported on the railways, with the remainder by sea or canal. Perhaps it was a mistake to move large quantities of freight to the roads and add to climate change. Readers who missed the recent discussion on Radio 4 may like to know what happens in other countries during severe spells of weather. Snowploughs and special equipment are used instead of salt, which may cause damage, motorists use winter-grade tyres, taxpayers' money is well spent employing farmers to keep rural roads open with their tractors and the unemployed clear footpaths with shovels. Motorways can be prevented from being blocked by jack-knifed trucks by banning these vehicles on them in the snow. The answer to an objection that essential supplies would not get through was simple -- use suitable smaller lorries. Malby Goodman.70 High Street,Aberdour. A tradition under threat Sir,-What a nice surprise it was to read MEP Struan Stevenson's letter highlighting the persecution of Christians in Iraq. He is quite correct to warn of European Union money being given to an administration which chooses to ignore Christians' plight. It is to Tony Blair's shame that he ignores these matters while getting richer. I thank Conservative Struan Stevenson for this out-of-the-blue letter and remind him sincerely that the United Kingdom is rife with political correctness against Christians. I hope he has more influence with his political masters in London than I do. Rob Smith.Scotland Co-ordinator,Christian Peoples Alliance,Longleys,Meigle. Strip power from bankers Sir,-Recent correspondents in this column are correct to blame the banks for our present financial problems. The United Kingdom Government could save £70 billion a year by simply changing the ridiculous situation where the private banking system creates our money supply as debt, by means of electronic book-keeping that allows the same money to be lent over and over again by the process of fractional reserve lending. This money should be spent into the economy, debt-free, by the state. We are presently paying £70 billion a year of interest to private banks on the national debt, which is just a fancy name for the total sum of our unpaid borrowings of this endlessly re-lent money from these banks over the years. Removing the burden by having the state create a debt-free money supply would cure our economic problems overnight. Malcolm Parkin.15 Gamekeepers Road,Kinnesswood,Kinross. 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.

Readers' letters

June 29: Unions must be realistic about spending cuts

June 29 2010

Today's letters to The Courier focus on the need for spending cuts, pensioners and the Budget, wind turbines, hydro power, and the building industry. Unions must be realistic about spending cuts Sir,-Unison's belligerent Dave Prentis has declared war on the government even though he must realise that confrontation and strikes will only produce a Grecian denouement. There are more creative ways of handling this crisis and the public service unions could take a lesson from the flexibility shown in the private sector. When the economy nosedived, many of our biggest companies introduced shorter hours, temporary plant closures or extended holidays, in return for lower wages. They had to lay off far fewer employees and were better placed to respond to the upturn. A pay cut may be painful and those iconic public sector pensions are certainly going to be trimmed but it is surely not as painful as redundancy. (Dr) John Cameron.10 Howard Place,St Andrews. Pension deal sounds hollow Sir,-I do not quite share Jack Stewart's upbeat comments (June 23) about pensioners being better off under this Government's Budget. The pension increase promises will be in line with earnings, with retail prices, or 2.5%, whichever is greater. With unemployment likely to rise rather than fall, and retailers pushed to be ever more competitive and with public-sector pay freezes likely to be copied in industry, I think the biggest increase we can hope for is 2.5%. Fine, but set that against the VAT increase of and pensioners could actually face a cost of living increase. I am not complaining, just being realistic about the reality of this 'promise' to protect the vulnerable. A. M. Lindsay.1 Firbank Road,Perth. Windfall for landowners Sir,-Reading your Energising Scotland articles (June 24) raises an interesting point. Every wind site developer makes a claim as to the number of homes their development is capable of powering as one of their justifications for imposing ever more wind turbines on our landscape. However, when you analyse these claims and aggregate the number of houses to be powered from the turbines operating in Scotland, the total is approaching half the total number of homes in Scotland. Yet there is no sign of the impact of this on the closure of CO2 emitting fossil-fuelled power stations which is the only way CO2 emissions can be reduced by building wind turbines This surely exposes the lack of credibility in the environmental benefit claims regularly made by politicians and the wind lobby. The despoiling of our countryside, plus huge subsidies for wind turbines and consequent higher electricity costs, would seem to be for no benefit whatsoever except, of course, to developers and landowners. G. M. Lindsay.Whinfield Gardens,Kinross. Hydro power key to future Sir,-Philip Roberts (June 24) asks what Jim Crumley proposes as an alternative to wind turbines. Almost anything, I suggest. Wind turbines do not leak oil like BP's infamous well but they leak money just as fast and disastrously. Only the money generated by fossil fuel keeps the wind industry afloat. World governments seem hypnotised by wind turbines which cannot operate in high winds or no wind, which cannot put electricity into the national grid at certain times for fear of overloading the system and, overall, are grossly inefficient. Fossil fuel power stations will always be needed as back-up. Apart from coal, gas and oil, the only reliable power available is nuclear and our Scottish Parliament has vetoed its use, while Westminster has blown so hot and cold over nuclear power stations that the UK is decades behind in their construction. Meanwhile, France has been building nuclear stations and China coal-fired stations for years. Unless we do something drastic soon, we shall be dependent on France and other countries for electricity and Russia for gas. Hydro-electric power stations would help but we are not building them either in any significant numbers. Scottish Water, in reply to impending water shortages, say they cannot cater for exceptional droughts. Why not? If they built enough dams to store water for any emergency, they could solve three problems at a stroke floods in winter, droughts in summer and a clean, reliable source of electricity all the year round to back up nuclear power. They would get a worthwhile return on their investment in no time. George K. McMillan.5 Mount Tabor Avenue,Perth. Building sector recovery delayed Sir,-The cuts to public spending announced in last week's Emergency Budget should come as no surprise and are something the construction sector has been bracing itself for. But the Chancellor's announcement contained little to stimulate the promised enterprise-led recovery. The Scottish Building Federation's latest membership survey has found confidence in the construction sector slipping into reverse, with many firms blaming a lack of bank lending for our industry's sluggish performance. Sadly, I can find nothing in the budget that would help ease the availability of affordable credit to building firms or to expanding businesses and homebuyers that should be driving future construction demand. However politically popular it may be, I fear the proposed new bank levy may actually encourage banks to restrict their lending further. What's more, for the construction sector, increasing VAT to 20% is a retrograde step which plays into the hands of cash-in-hand cowboys by increasing their competitive advantage over legitimate building firms. It will be a further setback to sustainable recovery in the construction industry. Michael Levack.Chief Executive,Scottish Building Federation,4 Crichton's Close,Edinburgh.

Business news

Cluff says UCG can give Longannet a future

April 30 2015

Underground Coal Gasification can secure Longannet coal-fired power station’s future and help meet the United Kingdom’s energy needs, according to an industry leader. Algy Cluff said the Government’s only response to energy supply issues like the oil price plunge and sanctions against Russia over Crimea was “to build more heavily subsidised windfarms”. In Cluff Natural Resources’ preliminary results for the year, he said the likely closure of Longannet within 12 months would see Scotland lose the supplier of a third of its electricity. That development, with Scotland being “avowedly non-nuclear, potentially renders the country’s energy situation fraught with danger”. He continued: “I believe the closure of Longannet poses a threat to the rest of the UK too and should lead to an increasing recognition of the importance of coal gasification in the country’s energy equation.” Mr Cluff was encouraged that a Scottish Government committee would report by May 7 on how Scotland’s energy mix should be constructed. “It is our corporate view that the future of Longannet (and Cockenzie and Grangemouth) can be secured by access to UCG,” he said. Mr Cluff said the UCG coal in Cluff’s Kincardine licence area would fire a 1,000-megawatt power station for 25 years. “The other two UCG licences in the Firth of Forth, which are larger, could provide energy security that Scotland requires without nuclear power,” he said. “The lower cost of UCG power generation would render export of electricity from Scotland again competitive.” Electricity generation from UCG syngas is independent of world natural gas prices which he said were sure to rise in the longer term. Another advantage was that the output of a UCG production unit, unlike a conventional coal plant, was flexible and “an ideal match for the vagaries of renewable sources”. During the year CNR built its portfolio of UCG licenses in inshore UK waters to 690 square kilometres, signed a collaboration agreement with Halliburton and saw a new share issue raise £2.2 million. CNR’s £1.725m loss was 10% better than last year.


Torness nuclear reactor reopened

May 29 2013

A reactor at a nuclear power station has reopened after an upsurge in seaweed forced bosses to shut it down. Managers at Torness plant in East Lothian closed its two reactors last week amid fears seaweed in the Forth Estuary could clog the station’s cooling water intake system. Stormy seas have been blamed for an increase in seaweed in the water. The reactor was taken out of service on Thursday and resumed activity on Monday morning, operators EDF energy said. Another which was shut on Friday will reopen in due course. “Unit 2 at Torness power station was re-synchronised to the grid at 6.33am on Monday,” a spokesman said. “The unit came offline on Thursday due to increased seaweed levels as a result of the severe weather and sea conditions in the area,” “We are aware that at certain times of the year with particular weather conditions in this part of the Forth Estuary, seaweed volumes can increase and enter the station’s cooling water intake system. “The operational staff are trained to respond in this situation, and to take the plant offline if necessary.”


Torness nuclear plant to remain open until 2030

February 16 2016

Torness nuclear power station will have its life extended by seven years, operator EDF Energy has announced. The facility, near Dunbar in East Lothian, had been due to close by 2023 but will now be operational until 2030. The power station started operating in 1988 and now employs 550 full-time staff plus around 180 contractors. Its two nuclear reactors generate enough electricity to power more than two million homes, according to the French firm. The company is also extending generation from three other nuclear power stations across the UK, Heysham 1 and 2 in Lancashire and Hartlepool on the north-east coast of England. It also owns the Hunterston B facility in North Ayrshire, which is due to close by 2023. Chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said: "Our continuing investment, our expertise and the professional relationship we have with the safety regulator means we can safely prolong the operating life of our nuclear power stations. "Their excellent output shows that reliability is improving whilst their safety and environmental performance is higher than ever." Scottish ministers support the life extension of existing nuclear power stations in the short term but are committed to the policy of no new facilities in Scotland. A Government spokesman said: "The Scottish Government supports life extensions for existing nuclear power stations, where the environmental and safety requirements continue to be met, and we recognise the professionalism of the staff at Torness and Hunterston. "Over the coming months we intend to continue to work towards an over-arching energy strategy, setting out priorities for the future energy system in Scotland. "At a time when UK Government policy is causing other power stations in Scotland and across the UK to close prematurely and deterring investment in key renewables, we will continue to make the point to the UK Government that we are very concerned about the security of supply in Scotland, and the First Minister has previously raised this with the Prime Minister." EDF Energy is planning to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset but is still to make a final investment decision. Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: "Nuclear power is the ultimate unsustainable form of energy, creating waste which needs to be looked after for 25,000 years. "While disappointing, this announcement is hardly a surprise, everyone who knows anything about energy has been expecting this announcement for a decade. "EDF have announced the life extension for Torness today because they are trying to distract attention from their terrible financial performance and their repeated failure to make a final decision on whether to build the Hinkley Point reactors in Somerset. "Nuclear power is on its last legs in Europe and Hinkley will probably never get built."

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk


Firm says ‘no safety implications’ from cracks in Hunterston B nuclear reactor bricks

November 19 2015

Cracks have been found in bricks around the core of a nuclear reactor at Hunterston B power station. Operator EDF said it has "no safety implications" and will not affect the operation of the reactor. Three cracked graphite bricks were found during a planned maintenance inspection of 6,000 that make up the core of one of two nuclear reactors at the site. The operator said the cracks were predicted due to the age of the reactor. Two cracked bricks were found during maintenance of the North Ayrshire site's other reactor in October last year. Station director Colin Weir said: "Nuclear safety drives everything we do. This means we work within very large safety margins. This applies to graphite bricks too. "The level of cracking which is considered reasonable is far below anything which would affect the reactor's safe operation. "It is accepted by our regulators and materials experts that cracks will occur in some of the bricks and that the core will lose some of its mass as part of the normal ageing process. "The observations were anticipated and are in line with our understanding, so our view of the best estimate lifetime planning date of 2023 has not changed." EDF said it was publicising the information "as part of its commitment to openness and transparency". Further inspections are to look at more of the graphite core and, if more cracks are found, EDF said it will inform the public. A statement from the company said: "As part of routine inspections, engineers looked at part of the reactor's graphite core. Three graphite bricks were found to be cracked. "This is known as keyway root cracking and was predicted to start happening at this point in the station's lifetime. "It does not affect the operation of the reactor and the findings have no safety implications and are well within any limits for safe operation." The nuclear power station began operating in 1976 and was originally scheduled to be shut down in 2011, but this was extended to 2016. EDF Energy later said a technical and economic evaluation of the plant confirmed it could operate until 2023. WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "Despite the assurances given by the nuclear industry, with cracks now found in both reactors it's clear the problem is spreading and that we can expect this facility to become even more unreliable in the future. "News of more cracks in the country's ageing fleet of nuclear power stations underscores why we're right to be taking steps to harness cleaner, safer forms of energy."

Readers' letters

March 16: Japan incident proves nuclear power dangers

March 16 2011

Today's scribes give their opinion on monuments, bridges, incinerators, nuclear power, and a political leader's poor profile. Sir, As a layman I understood that there were fail-safe mechanisms built into nuclear reactors. It seems apparent that the tragic events in Japan have uncovered basic design flaws in the nuclear power stations at Fukushima which would clearly prove otherwise. What happened to the moderator piles which should have been gravity operated to fall into the core and inhibit the chain reaction and thus render the reactor incapable of overheating? There have been numerous correspondents in your column criticising the Scottish Government's policy of building wind turbines rather than nuclear power stations. I hope we will hear less gung-ho blind optimism from them now as we await with trepidation the probable release of huge quantities of radiation into the atmosphere of not only Japan but the world. Fife lies directly in the prevailing wind from Torness and while it may take some stretch of imagination to believe a tsunami could hit East Lothian, it takes less to wonder at unforeseen design problems with the same end result. Set against the risks of a wind tower falling over, I know which I would prefer to live near. Ian Chisholm.87 Lady Nairn Avenue,Kirkcaldy.Politicians duck oil questionSir, It is no surprise that your fuel regulator campaign has been popular, as what driver would not want a lower price for fuel if given a choice? However, there are two questions which surely need to be answered which are not addressed by the fuel regulator proposal. Any Government has to calculate how much income is required to balance the books, so if tax income from fuel goes down, then it will go up on something else. Therefore, anyone who suggests lower fuel tax should also say what tax they would increase. It is easy for political parties to support a fuel regulator it is less easy for them to say how our society will need to change to adapt to increasing oil prices as demand in other parts of the world increases and supplies inevitably decline. Avoiding a potentially unpopular issue does not make it go away and maybe we should ask candidates for election what exactly they would do to prepare our country for the eventual running out of world oil supplies. Robert Potter.16R Brown Street,Dundee.Labour leader proves evasiveSir, Your interview with Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray (March 14) stated that one way he will try to raise his very poor profile will be to talk to people face to face. I would like to suggest a far simpler method of Mr Gray improving his profile and that would be for him to reply to communications from members of the Scottish electorate that he claims to care so much about. I have contacted Mr Gray on four occasions asking the same question but have had no reply and not even an acknowledgement. Either Mr Gray does not have an answer to my question or he is not as keen to raise his profile as he suggests. Stephen Windsor.The Holdings,Kinfauns,Perth.Holyrood parties duped on energySir, Over the past year, Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire, has campaigned against Grundon's plans for a waste incinerator at Shore Road in Perth. However, there is a fundamental problem with Mr Wishart position, which is that his party, the SNP, says that Scotland should burn a quarter of its waste. That is why Grundon will be able to submit revised proposals for an incinerator at Shore Road in May. It is also why Mr Wishart's colleague Roseanna Cunningham has failed to support the fight against the Shore Road proposals, or the proposed incinerator near Abernethy, both of which are in her constituency. As the SNP's Environment Minister, she cannot be seen to be going against her party's policy of supporting incineration. However, the problem isn't just with the SNP. All of the four major parties have been duped into supporting incineration by a wealthy and powerful waste industry. Michael Gallagher.Green Alternatives to Incineration in Scotland,33 Precinct Street,Coupar Angus.Forgotten Scots heroSir, Proposals to create a joint national monument to William Wallace and Andrew de Moray near Stirling Bridge are to be welcomed. While the men were joint commanders of the Scottish army in the defeat of the English in 1297 at Stirling, with some even alleging de Moray was the senior partner who devised the successful tactical plan that delivered victory, his role has been largely sidelined and he did not even merit a mention in Mel Gibson's Oscar-winning film, Braveheart. It is to be hoped this great Scottish patriot will now be getting the long-awaited recognition he rightly deserves. Alex Orr.Flat Two,77 Leamington Terrace,Edinburgh.Lavish use of public cashSir, Why are we still planning to build the Connect2 bridge at Perth at cost of £2.3 million when no survey of usage had been done? I also have to ask how much Perth and Kinross Council are contributing surely the money should be spent on those in need? Garry Barnett.The Garden House,Campsie Hill,Guildtown. 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.