YOUR report that Historic Environment Scotland wants to block the planned space centre at Lamba Ness in Unst ("Scots space centre plan blocked after historic watchdog objects",The Herald, April 1) is sadly yet another example of the damage officials based in the south seek to impose on Scotland’s island communities.

The Second World War radar station at Lamba Ness was indeed an important wartime base and, were it still intact with its masts and array of aerials and the associated electrical control equipment, it could be worth preserving. But all that has long gone and all that is left is a range of mouldering concrete buildings such as can be seen at far too many wartime sites across Scotland. That these remains are a scheduled monument beggars belief, as does HES’s wish to block the space centre development. This will bring many much-needed jobs to Unst and elsewhere in Shetland and the new works will scarcely touch the crumbling wartime remains.

Sadly, Shetland and Scotland’s other island groups are all too familiar with distant officials, through ignorance or indifference, making decisions which will have a damaging impact on islanders’ needs. Another recent example is the determination of Highlands and Islands Airports to centralise the air traffic control for all its airports in a bunker in Inverness. This would rob the islands of high-quality skilled jobs and leave the safety of island airports at the mercy of long-distance communication links which only a fool would believe to be 100 per cent reliable.

The Government’s Islands Act promised much. But Scottish ministers must deliver on their sugar-coated words when they launched the act. They must stop their south-based officials, in wholly-owned public bodies such as HES and HIAL, imposing damaging rulings on the islands.

Alistair Easton, Edinburgh.


HAVE any other Herald readers noticed that no sooner has the Scottish or UK government announced a slight easing of lockdown rules than up pops an arch gloomster such as Jason Leitch or Chris Whitty to warn us about the dire consequences that may await us if we follow them?

Such constant negativity does absolutely nothing for the morale or wellbeing of the lockdown-weary public.

By all means let governments continue to ask them to advise, but surely, with the vaccination programme going well and people at last having at least some hope for the future, the time has come for all of these unelected doom mongers to leave the centre stage and return to the anonymity from which they came.

Dave Henderson, Glasgow.

* SIR Keir Starmer thinks that vaccine passports for pubs go against the "British instinct” ("MPS and peers unite to brand vaccine passports ‘an authoritarian step too far’", The Herald, April 2). Pub staff already check the age of drinkers by asking for ID so I don’t see a problem here. Indeed, I have more of a problem sitting in a pub with people who, for no valid medical reason, refuse to be vaccinated.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.


ALAN Fitzpatrick (Letters, April 2) singles out Nick Robinson regarding his "tailing off " whispering habit. Mr Robinson was one of our foremost TV presenters until stricken with cancer some years ago. Perhaps due allowance should be made and accept the broadcaster's spirited efforts in continuance of what he does best.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.


YOUR picture of the ladies working in the Robertson’s factory making marmalade in 1949 ("Remember when... The Herald, April 2) reminded me of the now far-off times when, depending upon the direction of the wind, the pleasant smell of fruit spread over the town when the Paisley factory was in production. Alas, the factory closed down in 1979 and production of this popular item was concentrated elsewhere.

Robertson’s Golden Shred, the name inspired by the light as it passed through the mixture of bits of orange and jelly in the jar, illustrated that, in terms of successful businesses over many decades, Paisley had more than one string to its bow in the form of the thread industry. James Robertson, who started the business with his wife Marion, was considered to have made a substantial contribution to the spreading of the Paisley name all over the world through his extensive product advertising and the volume of his international sales.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


I’VE always been a sickly child; as a therapy for my chronic snottybeakitis my ENT consultant long ago advised the regular use of hypertonic saline nasal lavage, which is effective and once the initial fears of drowning subside can almost become enjoyable.

I usually prepare in advance a large jug of saline using sea salt but last time had to resort to using Himalayan rock salt, a trendy pinky/brown variant, sounds posh but actually bought in Aldi. The hypertonic solution gradually settled, leaving a brownish residue at the bottom of the flask, but I carried on regardless.

Suddenly today it struck me to consider what this prehistoric contaminant in what was originally seawater actually was. Am I washing my sinuses in dilute prehistoric mud, coelacanth poo or previously unknown bacteria? Is this good for me? Then it dawned on me I’ve been putting it on my chips for months and it hasn’t killed me yet ... and relax. “Would Sir care for some fossilised fish poo on his chateaubriand”?

David J Crawford, Glasgow.