Readers' letters

Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Gazette headlines.

THERE'S NO SMOKE...

Dear Ed, — Regarding your front page article (Lanark Gazette) containing councillors' comments re the Dovesdale Incinerator Plans.

I am shocked and surprised at Councillors Ross-Taylor and Sutherland's serious misinformation.

Councillor Ross-Taylor states that the Incinerator is ''not an incinerator but a gasification plant''.

Councillor Sutherland also states that the ''Dovesdale Plant is not an incinerator''.

Let me clearly enlighten these councillors. The definition of Incinerator as determined by Directive 2000/76/EC of the European Parliament in Article 3 paragraph 4 is as follows:

''Incineration Plant means any stationary or mobile technical unit and equipment dedicated to the thermal treatment of wastes''.

I also urge councillors to read as a matter of urgency the proposal set out by Scotgen for the plant.

I can recommend the website of Lesmahagow Council for this should they require a copy.

In this document Scotgen states in its introduction on page three paragraph 1.8: ''Waste disposal installations for the INCINERATION (caps mine), chemical treatment (as defined in Anex llA to Council Directive 75/442/EEC(38) under heading D9), or landfill of hazardous waste (that is to say, waste to which Council Directive 91/689/EEC(39) applies''.

There are clear further references to incineration within the document. I would also suggest that the councillors look up these council directives as noted in the direct transcript of the proposal document to see what they pertain to.

They will find a list of toxic chemicals hazardous to health for all.

Factual evidence is available as to the effects of these chemicals on health and I can put councillors in touch with scientists who would be happy to provide them with the relevant research.

Suffice to say that Scotgen in its proposal document acknowledges some of these on page 26 paragraph 5.34 and 5.35 to wit: ''nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and particulates''.

It is apparent to all but the most intellectually impaired that if you put fine mesh and wadding materials up a chimney for the full inner diameter of the chimney you will block it.

You might however manage to get it to function if your metal mesh has wide enough gaps in it to let smoke through.

The chimney stack proposed is 25m high with a filter in it to prevent larger particles from getting through; however the smoke/gas will still get out because the type of filter used will not block the chimney stack.

Anyone who has basic rudimentary knowledge of chemistry is aware that the molecular size of chemicals in gas and smoke is rather small.

Councillor Sutherland may have a degree in meteorology for all I know as he predicts wind speeds these days.

I quote: ''This stuff about fumes travelling 35 miles is nonsense''. One would think that living in Scotland would have taught him something about the unpredictability of wind speed and direction.

Community councillor Frank Gunning, however, cannot make his mind up about how you should react, as he describes the serious concerns as ''a knee-jerk reaction to something like this'' but also ''acknowledges we would say the same thing if on Castlehill in Lanark''.

I am concerned that his attitude belies the consensus among the councillors within the area: ''play like the ostrich''.

If they don't speak about it or draw attention to it maybe people won't realise what is at risk on their doorstep. When the wind takes the toxins down the Clyde Valley what the tourists don't know won't hurt business; let's keep it all quiet.

Good people of Lanark WAKE UP: get your pen and paper out and your keyboards tapping.

This toxic poison has been found to cause birth defects, respiratory disease, heart disease and cancer. There are plants like this in Norway and their citizens are reaping the cost as research has proven.

SEPA has provided evidence that Scotgen has had over 40 breaches in safety at its Dumfries Plant since it opened and that's self reported!

It begs the question: what is not self reported?

No electricity has been produced by the Dumfries plant yet despite this being what it is supposed to do.

Please join in the protests to stop this incinerator plan. — Yours etc.,

MRS SHAERON CRAWFORD,

11 Burns Wynd,

Stonehouse.

OIL SLICK CONCERN

Dear Ed, — The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has, perhaps with some

justification, created a feverish backlash in Brussels.

A similar disaster in the North Sea could potentially destroy the Scottish fishing industry. That is why MEPs are now demanding some assurances from the European Commission.

We must insist on the highest possible standards of safety and security being put in place without delay, while suitable compulsory EU-wide insurance schemes are designed to compensate fishermen and other affected businesses in the event of a spill.

But in the meantime they must also tell us what they intend to do to secure the safety and security of oil extraction operations and to insist on the highest level of environmental protection and disaster prevention in EU waters.

The Commission has already announced that it will conduct "stress tests" on existing EU legislation in this area to enable it to identify any gaps and weaknesses in the regulatory framework at EU level.

However, some MEPs want to go even further and are calling for a moratorium on all drilling until such time as guarantees on safety can be given, but I believe that this would be a step too far.

We cannot simply close down the oil industry indefinitely. The UK would be the biggest loser in Europe with over 6 billion of investment and oil revenues at risk if such a ban was enforced.

British and European technology leads the world in safety and security processes for the oil sector.

What sort of message would it send to our international competitors if we were to impose a drill ban, even on a temporary basis? Of course we need to learn lessons from the Gulf spill, but let's not over-react. — Yours etc.,

STRUAN STEVENSON MEP,

Conservative Euro MP for Scotland.