19th September 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Fundamental problem (Frank Hay and James Mackenzie)

, by , in Readers' Views

We are disappointed that you did not see fit to publish our open letter and its appendix in full.

While you have given councillor Jonathan Wills’ open reply a full airing on your website, ours appeared not at all.

We are, however, grateful that the subject has been aired in public.

Nevertheless, your editorial concludes that Sustainable Shetland’s letter to councillors was, to put it bluntly, “pointless”, although ironically its headline says the time for talking is over, while our main argument was that there has been no talking.

We would like to thank all those councillors who have responded by letter.

Councillor Drew Ratter says that our appeal to the Supreme Court was “futile”, while Dr Wills, as politely as he can, lectures us that we have wasted our and the public’s money by seeking and pursuing judicial review. We disagree.

We fully understand and accept that the Viking Energy windfarm has won its planning consent and that not much can be done about that in the council chamber. We are not asking for the council to tear itself apart as Gary Robinson (rather tellingly) said on Radio Shetland that Viking Energy had managed to do to the last one.

It is (1 and 2 below) the implications of this consent, (3) the status of the SIC in relation to the Viking windfarm, and (4) the fact that the interconnector’s – and the Viking windfarm’s – viability remains uncertain, that are our greatest concerns.

1. In 2010 nine councillors out of 22 voted to support the project, against the recommendations of their planning officers that they object on the grounds that the farm contravened the Shetland Local Development Plan.

The nine who voted (and killed the chance of a local public inquiry) were in exactly the same position as those who left the meeting declaring a conflict of interest.

Thus different conflict of interest interpretations and absence of so many councillors prevented a full and democratic debate on the windfarm. A conflict of interest issue has already arisen in the new Shetland Charitable Trust and will rise again when Viking Energy seeks more public funding.

2. The spatial framework for onshore windfarms in Shetland, as required in each local authority by Scottish planning policy, was informed by the extensive landscape sensitivity study commissioned by the SIC in 2009, and at that time was open for consultation.
Nevertheless it was clear that the size of the Viking windfarm greatly exceeded the parameters presented in that study. For example the Nesting area was deemed to be capable of accommodating a “medium group – a development of approximately 7-12 turbines, and/or with an installed capacity of up to 20MW”. The Viking windfarm has 40 turbines with an installed capacity of 144MW in this area.

By coincidence, the area in which the Beaw Field windfarm in Yell is proposed, with 20-30 turbines totalling 100MW, was deemed in that study to have the same “carrying capacity” as the Nesting area.

The same landscape sensitivity study is used in the present Local Development Plan, as far as onshore wind energy is concerned, and has recently (again) been open for consultation.

If councillors cannot grasp that there is a fundamental problem here, that requires to be addressed, then heaven help us all. The Viking windfarm has set a dangerous precedent: that local (and even national) planning policy can be easily over-ridden or ignored.

In the drive for Shetland to be the power-house of Scotland’s renewable energy, our local development plan has already been, literally, thrown to the wind. What measures can be put in place to prevent this happening again?

In this respect, it is incredible (and implicitly insulting) that Mr Ratter can say that the council is not “a debating society” but “a mechanism for taking decisions”. Without proper, free and open debate – about this or any other matter of importance – how can anyone make an informed decision?

3. Many councillors feel that the present SIC has absolutely no role to play in the Viking windfarm, with one going so far as to say: “The whole thing is out of Shetland’s hands really.”

Well, the SIC is owner of the Busta Estate, on which a considerable portion of the windfarm is proposed to be built. One would have thought that, as a responsible landowner, the SIC had some duty of care to its tenants who occupy the land.

If the latter are concerned, for example, about impacts on their health, amenity, or property values, is the council just to sit back and scoff at them? For this is all that the two most vocal councillors – and avid supporters of the windfarm – who sit on the Shetland Charitable Trust, part-owners of Viking Energy – have done.

Indeed, as Dr Wills points out, there have been conditions imposed on Viking Energy in the planning consent.

Sustainable Shetland already has kept a watchful eye on breaches of planning conditions, and I am certain members will give up what they can of their free time in continuation of that exercise if required.

More to the point, however, it is on the SIC planning and environmental health services that the onus of monitoring the windfarm development will fall.

We hope council members will ensure that they are in a fit state to undertake their duties; some discussion about that may be of merit, especially given the common knowledge of how stretched the resources of planning already are.

The Busta House Agreement, which Mr Ratter signed on behalf of the SIC with SSE, still remains so confidential that all but a very few people are aware of its contents.

It may now be the responsibility of Shetland Charitable Trust, as far as the “Shetland community” involvement in the project is concerned, but do all those councillors who are also trustees know what obligations are in the agreement?

4. Finally we believe that the letter of credit signed with National Grid by the SIC is still in effect, meaning that SIC is still liable to compensate for work done by the National Grid in preparing for installing an interconnector and connecting to the mainland grid, if the Viking windfarm does not go ahead.

As far back as 2007, Shetland Islands Council declared these aims in its Economic Policy 2007-2011 document:

• Continue the development of the Viking Energy community windfarm project;
• Establishment of a fixed interconnector to the UK mainland by 2012;
• Gain full planning permission for Viking Energy;
• Viking Energy community windfarm project to be at construction stage by 2011;
• Work with project partners to lobby government agencies to achieve interconnector;
• Provide full information necessary for planning permission to be achieved;
• Identify correct financial and operational structure for bringing the project forward.

Let alone what this meant for local democracy and debate in the ensuing years, we are now in 2015, and 2020 is now being declared as the earliest start date for the windfarm to be operational.

We refute utterly that Sustainable Shetland, by its legal action, has delayed the project and thereby lost community income (another slur aimed at our membership from Dr Wills).

The delay is due to far more problematic factors – such as the fabled interconnector, the needs case for it, and the vexed question of transmission charges.

There is still a possibility that the whole project may be abandoned. What “exit strategy” does the council have?

What credible integrated alternatives does it have for renewable energy and carbon reduction, which would be supported by the community?

Or will that, just like before, be somebody else’s problem?

For and on behalf of Sustainable Shetland,

Frank Hay
(chairman)
Burnside, Voe.
James Mackenzie
(vice-chairman)
The Lea, Tresta.

• Sustainable Shetland’s open letter, while not published in full, was quoted extensively in last week’s Shetland Times. Jonathan Wills’ response to the open letter has not been published in the newspaper. Ed.

93 comments

  1. Kathy Greaves

    Frank and James – you say that “Finally we believe that the letter of credit signed with National Grid by the SIC is still in effect, meaning that SIC is still liable to compensate for work done by the National Grid in preparing for installing an interconnector and connecting to the mainland grid, if the Viking windfarm does not go ahead”.

    I understood that soon after da Flea discovered the £1.9mil Letter of Credit (or Promissory Note), signed by VE and SCT, it expired and that they/ SCT were no longer liable to pay in default. Does anyone know what the actual situation is, what other amounts may be owing, or is absolutely everything VE does hidden from the public.

    Kathy Greaves

    • James Mackenzie

      I’ve been given to understand that indeed the letter of agreement, which was originally signed by the SIC, and apparently was still in their name up to 2012, no longer exists. At least, if there’s still any liability to National Grid, it’s no longer in the SIC’s hands. So apologies all round.

  2. John Tulloch

    The expected closure of coal-fired Longannet Power Station is bringing Scotland’s security of electricity supply into focus and Murdo Fraser MSP, Scottish Conservative energy spokesman has distinguished himself by talking a bit of sense, in particular, by condemning the SNP Scottish government’s folly of “putting all their eggs in one (‘renewable) basket’.

    Longannet is in Mr Fraser’s own constituency and the Falkirk Herald has an interesting article, extensively quoting Mr Fraser who has obviously been listening to what intelligent people like The Scientific Alliance have to say about energy, as opposed to those with a financial and/or political axe to grind.

    http://www.falkirkherald.co.uk/news/scottish-news/tories-blast-snp-s-energy-policy-1-3701709

    • Robin Stevenson

      Did you or Conservative Murdo Fraser, ever consider for a moment John, that IF the UK National grid didn`t “Charge” Logannet £40 Million per year to “Supply Them” with electricity, they could quite easily continue to operate?
      Did you or Murdo further consider, why the National Grid actually “Pay” English power stations to be attached?

      Na…probably not, Ill type your mantra to save you the trouble,….SNP = Baaaad.

      • laurence paton

        I note that all major bookmakers have the Conservative’s as favourite.
        The bookie usually gets it right
        With support from UKIP and the DUP it will hopefully clear the way for a referendum on EU membership.

        So not long now until the SNP fanatics can have another good blubber into their gruel on the morning after the election!

      • laurence paton

        It’s certainly going to be interesting when they announce that the inter-connector cable has been cancelled

      • Gordon Harmer

        Those nasty Tory folk have something to say about the baaaad SNP and there green energy policy.
        The Scottish Conservatives have slammed the SNP as being “obsessed with unreliable wind power”.
        The party’s energy spokesman Murdo Fraser said Holyrood policies could even lead to the country “losing 55%” of its generating capacity “within eight years”.
        Fraser, who was responding to a ministerial statement on the closure of Longannet power station in Fife, said the SNP had failed to come up with back-up plans beyond intermittent wind energy.
        He said: “This whole episode exposes, once again, the failures of the SNP’s energy policy. Energy-rich Scotland will be importing power from England just to keep the lights on.
        “In the face of this evidence, it’s time for a new energy policy from this Scottish government.”
        Maybe Mike Mackenzie could come up with an energy policy he seems like an enlightened, energetic kind of guy.

      • John Tulloch

        Murdo Fraser must speak for himself however I have considered the various aspects of this in much greater detail than you may imagine.

        I’ve told you before, I’m independent of parties or lobbies of any description. I’m free to speak my mind and will support the SNP when, in my opinion, they are right. It happens that I believe several SNP policies and actions, including independence, would be very damaging for Shetland.

        However, in my opinion, there is no justification for grid connection charges being imposed on power stations when the energy they produce can be used within the country in which they operate e.g. Longannet.

        And it is also my opinion that until renewable energy becomes both competitive and reliably controllable, Scotland has more than enough of it, already, and consumers should not be expected to pay over the odds for it.

        There is, however, a need to have power generation evenly spread so that population centres are not dependent on long transmission lines to keep their power on. What we can’t have is the British capital being blacked out because all the power stations are in Scotland and the transmission lines have come down.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Laurence, having the most seats and becoming the next government are two entirely different things,…you DO know that right?

        I agree, the Conservatives may well have the most seats, but unfortunately [for your theory] they will not have enough between themselves UKIP and the DUP to form a majority government, the only 3 possible outcomes [according to the latest polls] will be Labour [propped up by the SNP] Labour [propped up by SNP/Lib Dems] or a Grand coalition between Lab/Con….do the maths Laurence…

        The only people that will be “Blubbering into their austerity gruel” will be the conservatives, and you.. 🙂

        Gordon, any chance you could ask that genius Murdo why his party allow the national grid to charge Scotlands Logannet £40 Million per year, while the National grid are paying English companies?

      • Gordon Harmer

        No chance at all, er Robin, how about you tell us why you and your mates have littered Scotland with hundreds of wind turbines which only run at around 30% efficiency. Then as a by product have increased the electricity bills of everyone in Scotland, rich as well as poor. You claim to be the guardians of the poor so explain this, you got out of giving a full account of the overspend with spin and passing the blame. How about a straight answer instead of a politicians bypass to an answer.

  3. Iantinkler

    Is that anti-English chip on your shoulder making your views a bit lop sided Robin Stevenson? Just how much is paid to subsidize Ewing’s futile wind farms, so promoted by the SNP. Pity they are useless when the wind stops. Longannet is filthy, ten times more polluting than gas generation. Pity Sturgeon and Ewing have stopped the search for cheap onshore gas in Scotland. Now Scotland will have to depend on English and French Nuclear production to keep the lights on. Well done SNP, pity Scottish power generation costs so much, fuel poverty and all, never mind you can always have more food banks. Food heated and cooked with nuclear imported electricity from South. Good one, Ewing, Salmond and Sturgeon, at least the wind turbine subsidies keep the Lairds and landowners ultra-wealthy. No cost to the SG all goes on our electricity bills, keep smiling, when broke, to the food banks we can go.

  4. ian tinkler

    “We’re seeing in Scotland the biggest transfer of money from the poor to the rich that we’ve ever seen in our history,” “Ewing, Salmond and Sturgeon, at least the wind turbine subsidies keep the Lairds and landowners ultra-wealthy. No cost to the SG all goes on our electricity bills, keep smiling, when broke, to the food banks we can go.” If the SNP are truly socialist this would never have happened, just a bunch “Cult Nationalist”; independence for us at any cost or hardship to anyone. Enough said.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/feb/28/windfarms-risk-free-millions-for-landowners
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/9887574/Landowners-1-billion-wind-farm-boom.html

    • laurence paton

      Yes Robin , I am well aware of the democratic deficiencies of the ” first past the post ” system.

      It is fairly clear that all who bother to write on here are well entrenched to their particular point of view with nobody winning anybody over to their point of view.

      Should it not be the case that the people we directly elect should be responsible for everything within our territorial limits?
      I am voting accordingly from that point of view.
      Alex Salmond stated this week on the Andrew Marr show that he didn’t believe we should be allowed a vote on EU Membership!
      Clearly not a champion of democracy…….
      So I guess we shall just have to wait and see what happens on election day…. I still think you will need to keep your bag pipes handy for a mournful ballad when the results come in !

      • Robin Stevenson

        Unless you were watching a different version of the Andrew Marr show Laurence the this is what was said :

        Andrew Marr : “If England voted to leave the EU and Scotland voted to stay in, in your view would that be the trigger for separation?”

        Alex Salmond : “Well we’re going to be against having that referendum”.

        Quite different from “He didn’t believe we should be allowed a vote on EU membership”.

        Please stick to the facts Laurence, otherwise you’re wasting my time.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin? “Alex Salmond : “Well we’re going to be against having that referendum”. Why? Because he is afraid Scotland would vote to come out of the EU. The fact Scotland has a UKIP MEP now proves how out of touch Salmond and the SNP are. It is clear just how out of touch they always have been, September the 18th proved that with only 37% of the electorate voting yes. He trusted us to vote on independence, why will he not trust us to vote on coming out of the EU? Because he was proved wrong once, twice would be a total embarrassment, even his ego would suffer after another humiliation.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Sorry Gordon, but much like Laurence, you’re both completely missing Alex Salmonds point?

        Alex Salmond said, “Well,…We’re going to be against having that referendum”.

        Who’s “We”?…He means the SNP, he can only speak for the SNP and the Scottish government.

        He continues with “going to be against having that referendum”?….the SNP Scottish government are fully aware that the benefits of being IN the EU far outweigh the pitfalls of NOT being a member, so of course he and the SNP are “against having that referendum”. because he knows [like anyone with a clue] that to leave the EU would be a bad mistake. He also knows that the only reason for having this referendum in the first place, was Cameron being terrified of the UKIP momentum in England.

        To pretend that Alex Salmond was, somehow, denying the UK [not just Scottish] electorate, the right to democratically vote, is, both wrong and frankly, ludicrous. [please try to “actually” read the article properly in future?]

      • Gordon Harmer

        You can be as sorry as you want Robin but Salmond predicted the MEP seat as an SNP win and he was wrong because like so many politicians he is out of touch with the British public. Cameron on the other hand did the democratic thing when he realised there was such a ground swell to leave the corrupt EU. Yes the move towards UKIP led him to do that but that I am afraid is democracy i.e. doing as the voters wish, something which is alien to Salmond and the SNP. Alien being the word and proven after the Referendum result and proven again with the absence of Salmond and Sturgeon at the reconciliation church service after the very divisive referendum.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Not quite Ian, did you actually read the articles or just the [misleading] headlines?

      The Guardian: quote

      “In Wales, where land ownership is less concentrated, the Forestry Commission is the biggest landowner and expects to earn more than £20m a year from turbines. In Scotland it may receive £30m a year for leasing land to four large companies”.

      The Telegraph : Do me a favour Ian Add up all the figures in this piece of nonsense and tell me if it comes to ANYWHERE near £1 Billion?……

      Did either article mention how much the landowners will be expecting to pay in Scotlands new land tax Ian?…..I look forward to your next “Scary Story”,…..WHOOO!

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        Will this “new land tax” force landowners to seek new sources of income, such as wind farm land rental?

        And is the reason the SNP Scottish government is obstructing the creation of more national parks because they get in the way of wind farms?

      • laurence paton

        I am not going to waste any more of my time either Robin .
        If Salmond and the SNP are against having an EU Referendum then surely they don’t believe we (the general public) should be given the democratic right?

        I think you are now dancing on the head of a pin or going a bit loopy….

        It is clear the EU is corrupt and undemocratic and I want our elected representatives to take back control of everything that is presently run by Brussels.

        That is the true meaning of independence, anybody who believe’s the SNP waffle doesn’t have a clue to begin with.
        I admire them on their stance on scrapping Trident but that’s about it…….

      • Robin Stevenson

        Laurence, you obviously didn’t bother reading what Alex salmond “Actually” said?

        Never mind, paint a picture and jump into it, I’ll stick to the facts.

      • Robin Stevenson

        I completely agree Laurence, that corruption is an on-going challenge for ALL member states. each and every one of them suffer from corruption to a greater or lesser degree, but firstly, we should try to deal with the corruption in our OWN backyard before tackling the EU.
        Britain is equally as guilty as ANY of the other member states, as we’ve seen in recent months through HSBC, offshore banking for Big companies like Amazon, starbucks etc, has to be addressed whether we’re in the EU or out of it?

        Personally, with an independent Scotland, at least we’d have a seat at the table and could tackle this problem with our other member countries rather than sniping from the outside looking in.

  5. Iantinkler

    We’re seeing in Scotland the biggest transfer of money from the poor to the rich that we’ve ever seen in our history,” The SNP threaten with a, “Scotland new land tax” now that should be fun.” Robin Stevenson, Is that a bit like “ Jim Sillars day of reckoning.” Just another bit of SNP totalitarian threat, transfer £10s of millions to wealthy landowners and lairds, justify that with a non-existent, nor enforceable land tax. Robin Stevenson, we really are not that stupid, well at least not the 55%. Very sad however about beautiful Scotland being covered in turbines, making us all so much poorer and the lairds and landowners so much richer. SNP energy policy, o goodness, no word justifies this, well not that “The Times” would print.

  6. iantinkler

    For the benefit of Robin Stevenson, whom appears to have trouble assimilating actual the facts? Wind Farms subsidies in Scotland transfers £10s of millions to already wealthy Lairds and landowners. The Scottish people pay for all these monies on our power bills! This is all done under the guise of a clean energy policy, yet Sturgeon lobbies Westminster to keep filthy Longanett (coal burning) power station open (perhaps one of the most polluting in Europe) as wind power is failing to provide reliable power. Longannet is 10 times more polluting than gas burning station yet the SNP put a moratorium of gas fracking in Scotland. There is absolutely no science of any credibility suggesting fracking to be harmful, to people or the environment. Certainly far, far less damaging and polluting than the coal and oil industry, which the SNP heavily endorse. Now we have a special mix of highly expensive power generation in Scotland backed up by Nuclear imported from South when the wind stops (bit ironic as SNP are anti-nuclear!). The final irony is that Scottish power is so expensive that Grangemouth imports fracked gas from the USA by sea, because it is so much cheaper than the Scottish produced equivalent! You just could not make up a more stupid, almost unbelievable energy policy. Well done SNP.

    • Robin Stevenson

      So, I take it Ian, you’d much rather keep “filthy Logannet”open to provide us with our electricity? OR would you rather Frack Scotland to death to get at our Shale gas, because that’s…erm…cleaner?…as I’m sure your aware both products are finite, but you don’t really care about that? [I’m guessing] All the research put into fracking was pointless then Ian, and places like New York and many many more banned it for NO apparent reason in your opinion?..And by your other comment you see nuclear power as [somehow] a better option?
      Sorry Ian but I simply don’t agree with very much of what you have to say, I believe the future lies with cleaner sustainable energy, whether is wind or water or hydro, good luck with your protest though “Let`s burn the earths resources”.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        May we take it then that you welcome the closure of Longannet?

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        The Whitelee Wind Farm near Glasgow is the largest onshore wind farm in Europe. Its 215 giant turbines can produce 539MW of power at a load factor of about 25%, equivalent to a continuous output of 135MW and it covers about 80sq km, say, 35 sq miles of land.

        This means that to replace the energy output from Longannet you would need about fifteen Whitelee Wind Farms i.e. 3225 turbines (110m high to blade tips), occupying 525 sq miles of land enough, almost, to cover the entire surface of Shetland (c.570 sq miles).

        And even if you did that, you would still need a Longannet, or its equivalent in gas power stations to provide supplies (at half the price or less) when the wind isn’t blowing?

        Are Scottish hillsides “renewable”, will they revert back to the same wilderness they are now, once all the roads and concrete bases (and peat slides) are no longer required?

      • Ali Inkster

        So you are happy to destroy the landscape of Shetland to supply Scotland with intermittent electricity. Glad that you are letting the Shetland public know where your priorities lie.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Before we go down the road of Sq mileage returns, landscape, conservation,…First, let’s hear about the alternatives John? Ali?…where do you see the future vision of energy either of you?…we hear your moans and groans [continuously] but not ONE of you have come up with an alternative?. Not just on power, but on “Anything” at all? ..

        John you said the other day, “You haven’t decided who you’ll vote for”?…. May I suggest [If I could be so bold] that it’s ANY party other than the SNP?…the reason being, SNP is a forward thinking dynamic party, positive and progressive….Sadly, you’re not….. And those others that snipe on here on a regular basis, offer absolutely nothing, …”Ooh..just keep it the way it is, after all it’s not that bad”…..or….”Better the devil we know”….or…”I don’t like the way things are done, but I’m terrified of making any sort of change”….Why on earth don’t you all just get a job-lot of T-shirts saying “we’re terrified of ANYTHING different”?

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        @Robin,

        There nothing “forward-thinking” about windmills and water wheels, they’ve been on the go for many centuries.

        Alternatives? We don’t need any. There’s plenty of coal, oil and gas for 1000 years.

        There is no point in covering 500sq miles of land with wind farms to replace Longannet at twice the price and more, especially, when you still need Longannet for when the wind doesn’t blow.

        If you want a future alternative, it’s thorium powered nuclear reactors and modern fast breeder reactors but you will likely have to wait another twenty years or so until the Chinese and Indians develop them for us!

        Meanwhile the prices of oil and gas (and coal) have fallen substantially, making renewable energy, relatively, even more expensive than it has been.

        If you wish to ignorebthe Scottish government’s own study of unconventional gas prospects and risks and ban ‘fracking’, then go ahead, shoot yourselves through your own foot, it will make little difference – others will be doing it and gas will be cheap.

        If you’re worried about CO2 emissions, US emissions have fallen to 1994 levels – and falling – as a result of using gas to produce energy.

        Gas is the way forward until “properly new” nuclear arrives.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        You’re right about one thing, my vote won’t be going to the SNP because their actions and policies have damaged, are damaging and will continue to damage Shetland.

        And your arguments have served, merely, to support that view.

      • Ali Inkster

        Robin if yo were a regular reader or even a Shetlander you would know that both John and myself have given plenty of alternatives both on energy production and security. For my mind Fracking the whole of mainland Scotland would be a good start at reducing energy cost to the consumer and production would be at the point of maximum usage.

      • Robin Stevenson

        John, Ian, I’m sorry, I don’t agree with either of you, I don’t agree in using finite resources, unless that source is used to “Creating” wealth, Coal, Gas, Oil, or nuclear?…..No thanks!!

        I was hoping one of you may have mentioned Hydro, Sun, wave, wind, biothermal?….sustainable, natural and free, no waste to get rid of, no smell, no dirt. C’mon guys you can do better than that surely?

        I forgot to mention btw, I’d only be happy creating an oil-Gas fund outwith the rUK, otherwise before we knew it they’d be grabbing the profits and we’d get the bill?…..remember the £50 Million in the 70`s John?

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        I tend to look at energy choice as an end user who pays the bills, as opposed to a provider who sends out the bills.

        I’m afraid, for me, that makes it a ‘no-brainer’ – why don’t you ask the ‘fuel poor’ what they think, or doesn’t the SNP care about them?

      • Robert Sim

        @John

        I respect your viewpoint and knowledge in terms of the arguments around energy and I do see the force of your point of view. (I am interested in the option of a carbon tax as an immediate way forward through the present dilemma of needing to reduce carbon emissions while finding an alternative to windfarms.)

        However I have to take issue with you when you say: “…my vote won’t be going to the SNP because their actions and policies have damaged, are damaging and will continue to damage Shetland.” It seems to me that it is important to remember that this is a General Election we are embarking on, not a Holyrood one; and Shetland thus has an opportunity to return an MP who will be part of a sizeable SNP bloc at Westminster, a bloc which potentially will have real influence over UK-level policy. Whether you agree with the SNP at Scottish level or not, it would be foolish of those actually voting in Shetland to turn that opportunity down.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robert,

        Why would Shetlanders want SNP influence over the UK government when they have already voted a resounding No to Scottish independence? I don’t know.

        I suppose they might if they had any faith in the SNP to act in Shetland’s best interests, as opposed to what they are doing i.e. the reverse.

        I’m surprised that you seem unaware of the damage the SNP has done, is continuing and will continue, to do to Shetland, see my own online letter for two glaring examples.

        Meanwhile, the SNP Scottish government is presiding over the shocking state of affairs described in the new report on difficulties peculiar to island communities, while under-funding their vital services like education.

        It isn’t up to Shetlanders to sacrifice their own and their families’ wellbeing for the sake of SNP voters in Glasgow and Dundee whose living costs turn out to be far lower than those in island communities.

      • Robert Sim

        Unfortunately, there is no edit facility on this forum and so, on reflection, I would like to take out the last sentence of my my last post, as I have no right to make blanket comments on my fellow constituents’ voting choices. It would therefore read:

        @ John – I respect your viewpoint and knowledge in terms of the arguments around energy and I do see the force of your point of view. (I am interested in the option of a carbon tax as an immediate way forward through the present dilemma of needing to reduce carbon emissions while finding an alternative to windfarms.)

        However I have to take issue with you when you say: “…my vote won’t be going to the SNP because their actions and policies have damaged, are damaging and will continue to damage Shetland.” It seems to me that it is important to remember that this is a General Election we are embarking on, not a Holyrood one; and Shetland thus has an opportunity to return an MP who will be part of a sizeable SNP bloc at Westminster, a bloc which potentially will have real influence over UK-level policy.

      • Robin Stevenson

        John, Once again, Please explain these “Glaring examples”, that you keep going on about?

        Firstly, please link the £40 Million given to the SG that you claim they received from Westminster?

        Secondly, Please explain why the SG are holding back £19.3 Million from Shetlands grant of £86.314 Million?

        Quote from Shetlands accounts 2015-2016:

        “The Scottish Government will provide £86.314m of funding for General Fund services to
        Shetland Islands Council in 2015-16 which is in line with expectations. This funding
        represents the Council’s General Revenue Grant and the level of income that the Council
        will receive from the National Non-Domestic Rates Pool”.

        http://www.shetland.gov.uk/about_finances/documents/2015-16BudgetBook.pdf

        When you [finally] discover that you “Glaring examples” are untrue, I think it’s only fair that you should extend an apology for the people that you have tried to deliberately mislead?

      • Robert Sim

        @John – in reply to your post of today at 0954, this General Election isn’t about independence – that isn’t part of what the SNP is discussing at this election, so how Shetland voted in the referendum months ago is irrelevant.

        What is being discussed by the SNP is its potential role in providing an alternative approach to the austerity cuts which the coalition has been pursuing. That is something worth being part of.

        You want to keep bringing the discussion back to the role of the Scottish Government in relation to Shetland; but, as I keep pointing out, that is not what this election is about. As a Shetland resident, I would much rather my MP had some substantial clout at Westminster as part of a group which has Scotland’s best interests at heart and which will potentially hold the balance of power.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robert,

        You may wish all kinds of things from your MP, that’s your prerogative and you should vote accordingly.

        I am merely pointing out that voting in an SNP MP would not be in Shetland’s interest, based on their track record of past and current actions and the future consequences of their policies.

        I repeat, it isn’t up to Shetlanders to sacrifice their wellbeing, just because SNP voters in Glasgow and Dundee want an independent Scotland.

        Westminster has now, officially, recognised the islands’ plight in this new Scottish Office report, what is the SNP Scottish government going to do about it and when are they going to start funding the islands services adequately, instead of seizing hiusing support grants?

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        “Ye neednae bother comin’ greetin’ tae me, son!”

        I have not deliberately misled anyone, I have simply repeated public statements made by senior SIC councillors.

        If untrue, the purveyors of the information are the ones who might need to consider apologising, not I.

        If these publically-stated claims are false, why has the Scottish government not publically denied them?

        This is immensely damaging for the SNP’s islands campaign, so if the SG won’t deny the claims, what are we to think, other than that they must be true?

      • Robin Stevenson

        Hmm…Guilty until proven innocent?….Well! that seems fair.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        No, not “guilty until proven innocent”, at all, the accusation stands, unchallenged.

        The “charge” has been leveled by SIC political leader Gary Robinson – he should know, after all – and in the absence of any denial or, even, a protest from the SNP Scottish government, what are we to think?

        This is doing the SNP a lot of damage in Shetland, surely it isn’t that hard for Derek MacKay or John Swinney, to pick up the phone and issue a statement to the Shetland Times, refuting Mr Robinson’s allegation and providing supporting evidence?

        Unless Mr Robinson is telling the truth, that is, that would make it a bit awkward?

      • Robert Sim

        @ John – I would just say, since you have repeated the point, that, according to all the polling on a consistent basis, it’s about a bit more than “…SNP voters in Glasgow and Dundee” at this election. If things carry on as they are, the SNP is set to take the majority of Scottish seats.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robert,

        Then the SNP has plenty of voters in Mainland Scotland who are highly capable of getting along without Shetland’s votes.

        Shetlanders and Orcadians need to look after Shetland’s and Orkney’s interests first, – no-one else will – otherwise, they might find their schools and whatever else, closing down, their fish stocks disappearing from under them and their beautiful island home covered with 450ft birling fugitives from ‘War of the Worlds’ and they can’t do a thing about any of it.

        How are you allowed to speak about the SNP, are you one of the ‘Inner Party’?

        Where’s the rest of the SNP Shetland troopers?

      • Robin Stevenson

        Oh Dear….Pulling and sharing John?…We’re all in this together, [remember, you voted for it?] so through misinformation and conclusions jumped at, you have come to the belief that :

        “Shetlanders and Orcadians need to look after Shetland’s and Orkney’s interests first, – no-one else will”.

        I wonder if everyone in Scotland thought that way, then I’d imagine they’d be a Tory government in Holyrood? [thank the Lord for those that care] the “drip down effect”…classic.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        Didn’t you read this article that you’ve been commenting under?

        http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2015/03/27/nearly-half-of-population-will-be-pensioners-by-2037-report-says#comment-1561218

        Shetland pays £80+ Mpa excess tax over what comes back, yet education is under-funded by £19.3Mpa – and as for the fuel poverty,… WELL!

        I’d say Shetland is doing plenty of “pulling and sharing” and it’s well past high time it was reciprocated.

      • Robin Stevenson

        John, Who does this £80 Million + [over and above what you get back] go to?…The Scottish Gov?…nope….The UK Gov?….correct…Therefore you believe that Shetland contributes to the UK Gov a total of £166,346 million pa [roughly]?…And only gets back £86,346 Million from the Scottish government?..could you possibly link your source please?

      • Ali Inkster

        Robin if you wish to preach at Shetlanders you really should do your own homework before coming on these pages, or ask your masters at SSnp HQ to at least give you a basic brief. Sloppy work indeed as ever.

    • Ali Inkster

      Robert if you believe that the SSnp have any agenda other than the break up of the UK then you are very much mistaken. You may also believe that they are the best thing since sliced bread for Scotland, but the only care they have for Shetland is how much oil we have and how many windmills we can pack in. I never mentioned the fishing because they care nothing for it, happy as they are to remain ruled by EU commissioners. I want whoever is elected to represent the best interests of Shetland and Orkney and the SSnp are not it.

  7. David Spence

    I am interested to know why an area within our society (or any social structures) has not been question in regards to its contribution to green house gas emissions, and its involvement into the destruction of natural habitat causing, in many ways, the extinction of many species of animals as well as natural habitats?

    I am, of course, referring to the impact agriculture has on the atmosphere and the environment. According to statistics, green house gases from agriculture are the largest contributor than any other source outside this of industrial pollution. Even more so than all the modes of transport put together, and yet we are focussed on, the impression of, transportation being the main contributor to green house gases than anything else. Is this a deliberate act of diverting our attention to the greater causes of pollution in the atmosphere?

    It is not only the pollution of the atmosphere which is being ignored, but also the mass destruction of natural habitat as a consequence of needing more land to grow crops or industry related materials, but with the global population increasing faster each year, this poses a dilemma in terms of providing food to this of protecting the habitats and environment from further destruction/pollution.

    Bio-diversity is responsible for the largest production of oxygen in the atmosphere, around 21% of the atmosphere, and yet we are destroying huge areas of natural habitat with far denser undergrowth and tree’s in regard to the production of oxygen, and replacing this with crops and other plants with industrial needs which are producing far, far less oxygen than what was before. This can only highlight and increase the production of CO2 within the atmosphere that would otherwise be dealt with by more efficient methods within the environment than what crops or other plants used for human consumption?

    • John Tulloch

      David,

      A scientific study published in ‘Nature Climate Change may alleviate your concerns about carbon dioxide.

      The researchers found that global ‘Aboveground Biomass Carbon’ (total mass of all plants), known as ‘ABC’, is increasing due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and rainfall.

      So no ‘impending catastrophe there, then?

      It makes you wonder why the great and the good want to cover our beautiful Scottish hillsides with thousands of 450ft wind turbines?

      I copied this short passage from the Abstract of the study which can be found at: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2581.html

      “….. Interannual ABC patterns are greatly influenced by the strong response of water-limited ecosystems to rainfall variability, particularly savannahs. From 2003 onwards, forest in Russia and China expanded and tropical deforestation declined. Increased ABC associated with wetter conditions in the savannahs of northern Australia and southern Africa reversed global ABC loss, leading to an overall gain, consistent with trends in the global carbon sink reported in recent studies1, 3, 9.”

  8. Iantinkler

    Robert Stevenson, are you losing the ability to read? It is not me but Ewing, Sturgeon and the SNP whom are lobbying to keep Longannet open. Do you agree or not with the SNP about the maximal exploitation of North Sea oil and the coal burning at filthy Longannet? Both Sturgeon and Ewing are promoting both very hard? You also seem to accept the enrichment of the Landowners and Lairds at the expense of us all! You appear unable to pass comment on Grangemouth importing fracked gas to Scotland from the USA, and importing Nuclear from South. A somewhat double Standard for the Green SNP! Rather an inane touch of sarcasm from you with ““Let`s burn the earth’s resources”. Is that not exactly what North Sea oil exploitation and filthy Longannet do with such SNP approval? Can you not see the hypocrisy here? Or are you so blinkered as not to notice?

    • Robin Stevenson

      No I`m not Ian, and btw…,it’s Robin not Robert. 😉

    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian, at the present moment in time Logannet is a necessary evil, I`d much rather have an alternative power station using renewable energy, So in answer to your question, Yes, Logannet should remain open until such times as we have the necessary alternative, in the meantime the £40 Million pa that Logannet has to “Pay” to the UK national grid should be abolished.

      Exploiting our natural resources through burning them to heat us is imo, quite wrong, however exploiting our natural resources and using that revenue to create a future “Oil or Gas Fund”, makes far more sense than merely destroying a finite resource.

      I’m afraid the jury is still out on “Fracking”, IF we can create a fund through the resources we already have, then I really do not see the point in even contemplating “Fracking”. In other words, there has to be a reason for extraction.
      Not hypocrisy Ian, merely a “Means to an end”.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        “You wrote “Yes, Logannet should remain open until such times as we have the necessary alternative……”

        Does that mean you think it should stay open beyond 2020 when it will be closed down due to extra costs imposed by EU regulations?

      • Robin Stevenson

        I’d like to think that by 2020 Logannet would be no longer required.

        Scottish gov :

        1 Renewable electricity generation figures for Scotland show that generation during 2012 was
        14,756 GWh – up 7% on 2011, the previous record year for renewables. Our target for renewable
        electricity generation is to generate the equivalent of 100% of gross annual consumption by 2020,
        with an interim target of 50% by 2015.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        What will you do on a calm, bitterly cold, midwinter day when demand is high?

  9. Iantinkler

    Sorry Rob, now how about answering the questions?

  10. iantinkler

    Not hypocrisy Ian, merely a “Means to an end”. What end Robin?
    “In other words, there has to be a reason for extraction. (Fracked gas)”. Perhaps, Robin Stevenson, because it is ten times less polluting than coal or oil and a fraction of the cost to the environment. Too deep for you and the SNP to understand? (Simples, for anyone else)

  11. Robin Stevenson

    I’m really not quite sure of your point Ian? …Are you saying that you’d prefer to “Frack” to use for Scotland’s energy, or are you saying we should “Frack” to export it for profit?…either way it’s still using a finite resource, so unless there’s a “Means to an end”, ie: utilising that profit for creating a future fund, then we’d STILL be using a non-renewable source?….you simply Cannot get an energy source LESS polluting than renewables.

    • John Tulloch

      At around 500 sq miles of 110m turbines with associated roads, concrete bases, etc., to replace Longannet, I’d say it would be hard to find something more destructive of the environment.

      • Robin Stevenson

        The land area of Scotland is 30,414 square miles (78,770 km2), 32% of the area of the United Kingdom (UK). The mainland of Scotland has 6,160 miles (9,910 km) of coastline.

        Oh dear, does that mean that we’ll only have 29,914 square miles left then John? with no smell, no dirt, no pollution and a free and sustainable resource, without having to use up our expensive finite resources, or digging under peoples houses and contaminating our waters?…erm…Yes please.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        No wonder Mike MacKenzie is calling in the professionals from the Mainland!

        1. How many Longannets do you intend to replace at 500 sq miles apiece?

        2. Ten Longannets would require 5000 sq miles of land.

        3. Given that you can no longer build within 2km of inhabited buildings you will, for the most part, have to build on wild lands.

        4. Wild lands thus descrated will never revert to the way they were so this is NOT sustainable.

        4. “Finite resources” can only be considered as “resources” if you are planning to use them, so if we mustn’t use them because they’re finite, then we can no longer consider them as “resources”.

        5. And anyway, there’s plenty of oil, gas and coal to last humanity for 1000 years, rendering the SNP Scottish government comparable to, say, Edward the Confessor commanding his subjects not to burn wood or peat, lest we should have none, now! 🙂

        Are you sure you aren’t one of AC’s pals, putting up clay pigeons for us to shoot down?

      • Robin Stevenson

        In Scotland, between ALL of our nuclear, coal, oil & Gas powered stations, we produce 6,767.3 MW
        Logannet produces 2,400 MW on it`s own, therefore in answer to your question:

        1. How many Longannets do you intend to replace at 500 sq miles apiece?…..3 [well just under 3 actually]

        Probably 2 would suffice with a “conventional”, station as back-up, [until such times as we can store the excess power created by wind turbines]

        “5. And anyway, there’s plenty of oil, gas and coal to last humanity for 1000 years,”…Good, that way because the conventional station “maybe” there “Only” as back-up, then we should have these “finite resources” lasting 5,000 years instead of 1,000.

        Perhaps IF in the past we hadn’t used up ALL our trees then Scotland would still be mainly forested, as it once was? 😉

        I’d imagine my clay pigeons would be quite safe from you John, while you’re too busy shooting yourself in the foot?

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        “Shooting myself in the foot? Shooting fish in a barrel, more like!

        You wrote above:

        “In Scotland, between ALL of our nuclear, coal, oil & Gas powered stations, we produce 6,767.3 MW
        Logannet produces 2,400 MW on it`s own, therefore in answer to your question:

        1. How many Longannets do you intend to replace at 500 sq miles apiece?…..3 [well just under 3 actually]”

        So you’re proposing to cover 1500 square miles of Scotland’s (mostly) wild land with about 10,000 wind turbines, 400-500ft high and presumably, you think that’s environmentally “sustainable” behaviour?

        Scottish wild lands are not ‘renewable’.

        Now, all this wind energy will be generated at over twice the price of coal/gas-fired power and the cost of that, plus the cost of extending the transmission grid to remote places, plus the cost of the ‘carbon floor price’ tax levied on fossil fuel generators, will find its way, directly, to consumers bills.

        Oh, and what if “your good friend” Ed Miliband gets into Downing Street and the English decide they want to go for “100 percent of electrical energy from renewables” as well?

        How will that work and how will we pay for all their wonderful ‘low carbon’ renewable and nuclear power at over twice the price of coal/gas? Through the nose, of course!

        What’s your prognosis for the number of Scottish homes in fuel poverty by the time that comes to pass?

        And how many in fuel poverty in the islands?

      • Robin Stevenson

        England’s renewables are miles behind Scotland at the moment, in fact IF it wasn’t for Scotland they’d be struggling to me the EU criteria.
        I’m not quite sure where you get your figures from Ian, but from what I’m led to believe is that it take about an acre of ground for each turbine, you say we’ll need 10,000 turbines therefore that’ll be 10,000 acres agreed?
        There are 640 acres in a square mile, so therefore by your calculations that’s, 6,400 turbines per 10 square miles, hence, [for simplicity let’s just double it] 12,800 turbines = 20 miles square.

        So where do you get this 500 sq miles from John?…I’ve told you a million times don’t exaggerate? :0

        How’s yer foot?…lol

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        Challenging my calculations? Do I detect an ‘OMG Moment’ (“OMG, he..he..COULD BE RIGHT!!!!!”)?

        Or is it just that your advisers at Gordon Lamb House want to know how to work it out – if so, I’m happy to oblige.

        Be aware, of course, that if the wind farms were all together, in one place, they would use up,each other’s wind so you’d get less energy out of them, hence, lower load factor, so they’d need, either, more space or to be scattered around the country in smaller groups, as is currently the case, thereby, despoiling the landscape, nationwide.

        Re your own estimate: I think you may find that, depending on the size of the turbines, they need a minimum of about an acre each to avoid the blades colliding with those of adjacent turbines.

        The figures pertaining to Whitelee Wind Farm and Longannet came from Scottish Power’s own website. Thereafter, it’s a fairly straightforward calculation:

        Whitelee Wind Farm comprises 215 wind turbines and can produce 539MW of power at a load factor of about 25%, equivalent to a continuous output of 135MW and it covers about 80sq km, about 32 sq miles of land.

        This means that to replace the energy output from Longannet (2400MW x 0.85 load factor = 2040MW) you would need about fifteen Whitelee Wind Farms i.e. 3225 turbines (110m high to blade tips), occupying 480 sq miles, roughly 500 sq miles of land.

        And they won’t all be in one place, either, they’ll be scattered all over the presently beautiful countryside of the Highlands & Islands and the Borders, especially, once you get round to replacing three Longannet equivalents (c1500 sq miles), using wind farms.

        If I’ve made a mistake, I’m sure you’ll point it out for me.

      • Ali Inkster

        You said Robin “There are 640 acres in a square mile, so therefore by your calculations that’s, 6,400 turbines per 10 square miles, hence, [for simplicity let’s just double it] 12,800 turbines = 20 miles square.

        So where do you get this 500 sq miles from John?…I’ve told you a million times don’t exaggerate? :0”

        But it is not that simple is it, the proposed windfarm here in Shetland is for 103 turbines on 32,000 acres of land. Land that is similar in topography to the wild lands of Scotland. So to fit your 12,800 turbines is going to require closer to 6200 square miles, a piece more than the 20 you propose. Even if they are built on land like Whitelee 215 turbines in 6400 acres you will still need 600 square miles of similarly accommodating land for your 12800 turbines.

        Your figures for windfarms are like the rest of your arguments pure fantasy.

  12. ian Tinkler

    “digging under peoples houses and contaminating our waters?…erm…Yes please”. Have you the remotest idea what concrete does to natural acidic peat water Robin? Ever heard of a coal mine, digging under peoples houses, get real. What do you think a coal mine goes?. The sad thing is where is your power come from when the wind is not blowing. A bit deep for you that one ? erm your brain hurting erm erm.. Just think about it.

    • Robin Stevenson

      In an area of a mere 20 square miles throughout the whole of Scotland Ian, to accommodate 12,800 turbines, I’d hardly think that this would produce a devastating impact on our environment in comparison to other forms of extracting fossil fuels?

      • Ali Inkster

        Your figures have proven to be complete nonsense, yet you keep repeating them. It would seem to be the standard modus operandi of the SSnp propaganda machine.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        A 450ft wind turbine per acre?! Do you mean one for every square piece of land of side 64m?

        C’mon, it isn’t April Fool’s Day until tomorrow!

      • Robin Stevenson

        Earlier John you used Whitelee wind park as you example for how much space does this farm actually take up, you came up with an area of 80 sq km [32 sq miles] therefore from Whitelee’s website they say :

        “How much space do turbines require?
        The windfarm takes up very little space, in fact the turbines at Whitelee use less than five percent of the total land. The turbines are positioned in rows to make sure they get the maximum benefit of the wind. In each row the turbines are spaced five times their height apart. There is also a distance of three times the turbine’s height between the rows”.

        Hmm…So does that mean that we can take your totals and knock off 95% of your calculation then?…unless ofc you insist on having major tourist attractions, cycle paths, bird santuaries and 130 km of walkways for each park?

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        Please, spare me this crap!

        Declaring that 95 percent of wind farm land is unaffected is a lie, the controversial wild land projects, like Rannoch Moor and Da Lang Kames (that’s VIking Energy, Robin) will result in the devastation of the areas the turbines infest, the scenic amenity will be ruined for tens of miles and the former wildernesses will be covered with roads and quarries, drained and peppered with huge reinforced concrete foundation blocks – and birds will find their life insurance premiums become unaffordable!

        Those places will never be the same again, at least, not until the next ice age re-boots their ecology.

        If you want to erect 12,500 450ft turbines in an an area of 20 miles x 20 miles, go ahead and do it – in the Central Belt, preferably, Mid-Lothian.

        The people who live there and want so much to “save the Planet” will probably welcome you with open arms when you build your turbines on Arthur’s Seat and the Pentlands and the clowns at Holyrood who passed the Climate Change (Scotland) Act, 2009, will be able to marvel at their beauty and point them out to their “grAND-CHILD-ren”, birling, kaleidoscopically, whenever the wind is blowing, as they regale them with how “Grandad saved the Planet” for them and how they must save their money, as well as their carbon emissions, so that they can afford to buy some electricity when they grow up.

        Is this the SNP’s “progressive vision”? 🙂

    • Ali Inkster

      The cycle paths and walkways are not an added bonus they are a result of all the roads needed to build and service the windfarm, the 95% of “unused space” you seem to think exists is the space each turbine needs to not interfere with each other. Yet again you have proven to have no grasp of the subject that you are posting on.

  13. John Tulloch

    @Robin,

    Do you endorse Danus Skene’s call today for “home rule for Shetland to be locked into a written Scottish constitution”?

    • Robert Sim

      I presume with Danus Skene’s call for home rule for Shetland the SNP have gone up in your estimation, John?

      • Ali Inkster

        Would this be the home rule with a 12 mile limit that the SSnp propaganda machine tells us is all we’ll get?

      • Ali Inkster

        If as Danus says it is SSnp policy to give home rule to Shetland why then did they deny us our own referendum on this very mater?

      • John Tulloch

        @Robert,

        If you mean, “do I welcome his call for hole rule, etc.” as reported in the Shetland News today, yes I give it a cautious welcome.

        Given the SNP’s autocratic approach to statements by activists, it is a step in the right direction for them to sanction it, presumably, effectively making it official SNP policy.

        It’s overdue, of course, and is still in the “Vote today, free beer tomorrow” category.

        Establishing trust for the SNP in Shetland will be a long road. Actions speak louder than election promises and the SNP’s track record of actions in Shetland isn’t a pretty picture.

      • Robert Duncan

        “Would this be the home rule with a 12 mile limit that the SSnp propaganda machine tells us is all we’ll get?”

        Has a senior SNP member ever made such comment? I’ve seen it used frequently by independence campaigners, but I thought it came from Wings Over Scotland rather than any party.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Home rule is fine in my book, the problem lies with those in control of their autonomy, Labour councils in Glasgow [for instance] cronyism and lining their own pockets at the expense of the people that their supposed to represent,…it works for people that are trustworthy, sadly this is a rare commodity.

      • John Tulloch

        You won’t be wanting “home rule for Scotland”, then?

        Or are you saying Glasgow should be run from ‘The Temple’ at Holyrood?

      • Robin Stevenson

        As you know John, the Scottish government are more than capable of running Scotlands affairs in a fair and just manner, cronyism and the lining of their own pockets doesn’t exist,[despite what you may think] The point I’m making is that, Yes, it’s a good idea to pass power and more autonomy onto each and every council, and a lot less work for Holyrood, but sadly, there are many councils and councillors that are incapable “playing the game” fairly, your example of Glasgow council is a good example of how certain Labour run councils just cannot be trusted.

  14. iantinkler

    Silly Robin, however many turbines you build, thousands? millions? You will still have to depend on fossil fuels and imported nuclear every time the wind stops blowing. You seem to have a real problem understanding this. Now here is an idea, if the SNP were not quite so scientifically illiterate, how about some of this idiotic investment in endless turbines being spent on research into thorium nuclear. Pollution free nuclear, India has managed that, SNP probably never heard of it!!

    • Robin Stevenson

      I think Scotland could learn a great deal about renewables from countries that have been doing it a lot longer than we have Ian, Surely it makes sense to utilize a free and sustainable commodity, to what extent? 50%, 80% 100%?…I don’t believe in “over-producing” energy that cannot be captured or sold on, so until such times that that energy can be stored then building thousands or millions of turbines would be counter productive. I have no issue with a “Back-up” power station using fossil fuel until the technology for storage is
      discovered. Thorium nuclear reactors are still nuclear reactors and just as dangerous, [more radio-actice] in some cases, polution free nuclear is a myth, No thanks

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        I agree with you that Scotland could learn something very important about renewables from other countries that have been doing it for a long time – we could learn from Germany and Denmark how expensive our electricity will become if we insist on chasing this ‘fools errand’ of, notionally, obtaining 100 percent of our electricity from renewables.

  15. iantinkler

    “Thorium nuclear reactors are still nuclear reactors and just as dangerous, [more radio-actice] in some cases, polution free nuclear is a myth, No thanks”; How very ignorant Robin Stevenson, so very typical SNP. Ok to import nuclear when the wind stops and quite unaware more people have died falling off turbines in the UK than have ever died as a result of UK nuclear generation. So very ignorant of simple science and the facts.

    • norman howell

      Sure , That’s why LINDIN Doesn’t want dead nukes on their doorstep , It’s ok for Scotland to keep it on our doorstep but pass the Benefits To the Almighty in LINDIN ? Now the MOD can ignore claims of compensation for the clean up of FIFE , PERTH & THURSO !, Not so far away from you now , but a lot further from LINDIN !

      • John Tulloch

        @Douglas Young,

        How does this one fare versus your recently-formed ‘standards of propriety in debate’?

        I’m unsure what point the correspondent, who doesn’t provide his/her own address, is trying to communicate, other than, possibly, “WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE!”

        Is this your “SNP progressive Scotland vision”?

    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian there’s a vast difference between someone falling off a wind turbine and the meltdown of a nuclear reactor?…it only takes one mistake to wipe out millions?…look at Japan and stop talking nonsense.