Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Gazette headlines.
Dear Ed, – I was interested to read Margaret Roy’s letter in last week’s Gazette in which she raised concerns about the influence of multi-national companies. These are concerns which I share. However, there is some confusion in the letter about the status of the Spirit of Lanarkshire Wind Co-operative.
Spirit of Lanarkshire is a co-operative whose members own shares in it. These are only tradable to other co-operative members and have a fixed value, unlike shares in companies which can be traded on the stock market where investors are often more interested in short term increases in capital value than in the long term survival of the company or the wider public good. Members of the co-operative and local communities get a share of the income from selling electricity generated by turbines owned by the co-operative.
The Spirit of Lanarkshire Co-operative shares were offered with priority to people in Lanarkshire, and the first tranche of shares (which were sold before the target date) were sold exclusively to Lanarkshire residents. The second tranche of share sales closed this week, and was fully subscribed, although details of the geographic distribution of purchasers has not yet been released. However, they will only be sold to residents of Lanarkshire and the surrounding area or members of other similar wind co-ops, again with priority for people in Lanarkshire. This is not a multinational business but a co-operative funded by and benefiting local people.
I think the confusion has arisen because the Spirit of Lanarkshire Co-operative has purchased turbines on sites being developed by Falck Renewables which is the Italian company Ms Roy mentions. This is a more efficient way for local people to have a stake in wind energy than Spirit of Lanarkshire operating turbines on aseparate site. – Yours etc.,
Gas Works Road,
home for mod
Dear Ed, – I notice (Gazette, March 5) that our SNP, MSP, Mrs Aileen Campbell wants her Clydesdale constituency to become “a home” for the Mod.
However, while it may be one thing to want a Gaelic language body to visit Clydesdale, it is quite another matter to want to establish a “home” for it where we have our own distinctive language, culture and traditional arts.
For Mrs Campbell then to suggest that the Gaelic Mod would “reaffirm Clydesdale’s place on the map” is somewhat insulting. Indeed, nobody, I think, would suggest that a Robert Burns Scots Language Festival would “reaffirm” the place of the Gaelic speaking Western Isles on the map. What I fear our MSP is advocating is part of her SNP government’s declared policy of promoting throughout the whole of Scotland – at a cost to the taxpayer of over £20 million per year – the Gaelic Language, spearheaded by the lavishly funded “Bord na Ghaidlig” quango which is continuing to force every local authority to produce and implement hugely expensive “five year Gaelic plans” especially in vast areas of the country where Gaelic has never been spoken. Be warned, all that is stopping the SNP government from making every pupil at school in Scotland learn Gaelic is a lack of funds and a shortage of Gaelic teachers.
It would, I think, be more beneficial if Mrs Campbell would devote her undoubted energy instead on realistic, worthwhile and practical projects such as persuading her government to rectify the shameful understaffing and under resourcing of the National Health Service in Lanarkshire which continues to come in for much criticism for hospital outpatient waiting periods of eight weeks or more - even to see a nurse, let alone a consultant. For patients requiring an operation, the situation is even worse. They must normally wait 14 weeks.
When I wonder will the SNP ever get its priorities right? – Yours etc.,
DR WILLIAM W GROVES
proof of usage
Dear Ed, – After I submitted my letter of objection to the application for two wind turbines, at Newtown Covington, I have since spoken to the applicant, farmer Hugh Jackson of Boat Farm. Mr Jackson admitted to me that the energy generated by these wind turbines would be going straight into the grid and when I questioned him about why he needed two wind turbines he replied, most farms were applying for two so why shouldn’t he do the same? Mr Jackson could so easily have sited the two wind turbines at his farm since Boat Farm is on the same plane as the application,which would have had a lot less impact on the whooper swans, the otters, the eagle in the vicinity and other birds. He also won’t have the view of these unsightly constructions or the noise or the flicker or the constant flashing red lights situated on top of the structure. Planning has to take responsibility on passing such an application when making decisions to spoil the landscape. You just have to drive in South Lanarkshire and you can see wind turbines north, south, east and west blighting the beautiful landscape. The only applications that should be approved for individuals or businesses is when the planners take the applicants’ proof of usage, for the previous five years.
Then, and only then, planning should grant on proof of usage equivalent to the required size of wind turbine, plus maybe a 5 to 10 per cent leeway. This would lead to a lot less granting of these structures. I am for green energy with wind farms but I am not sure planning is fully conversant with the damage they are doing to the country’s future and we, the majority of consumers, don’t seem to see this greener and cheaper energy coming through our letter boxes in the form of lower bills. – Yours etc.,
Dear Ed, – In respect of the plans for a new Biggar Primary School and the proposal to demolish the old school to make way for a car park, Isobel Lindsay is quite correct to describe the actions of South Lanarkshire Council as “government by diktat”.
The council, in particular the Schools Modernisation Team, in collusion with others, is quite happy to ignore the law and numerous regulations in a way that is entirely at odds with, and totally disrespectful of the democracy, the electorate and present and future generations of children.
Most worryingly, it did so arrogantly knowing its decisions were inadequately externally scrutinised and beyond the means of most to question in court.
Councils have a legal responsibility to consult “the wider public” whenever a school is being moved, “in whole or in part”. The surreptitious presentation of its plans meant only a handful of local people were aware of the municipal vandalism until the “Save Biggar Primary School” Facebook page was posted.
Additionally, laws exist governing the minimum sizes of new schools in regard to the planned capacity. The proposed new school does not meet the criteria laid down. Variance from these criteria is only legally possible with Governmental approval. SLC has not sought such approval.
In order to be seen to “comply” with planning laws, laws and regulations have been made by our elected representatives and others and signed up to by SLC. They exist to safeguard all our rights.
What, however, is the point of all this legislation if there is little accountability and it is not effectively policed?
The new school proposals are flawed and compromised on so many different levels. They could only be passed by ignoring regulations to such a degree that it would not only make a mockery of the planning process but would also be of great dis-service to the people of the community, their children and children’s children. We deserve better. – Yours etc.,
South Back Road, Biggar.