MAY I add one small addition to the informed letters from Messrs Lindsay, Moore, Baird and Parkin (Letters, June 1)? Perhaps when Mr McDougall is admiring Whitelee from his bicycle he might like to consider that to date this wind farm has been paid more than £143 million to switch off. The Renewable Energy Foundation keeps a record of these constraints payments on its website, which I check on a regular basis. This ever-increasing sum comes from our bills.

The UK total to date is just over £982m, of which more than £911m is paid to Scottish wind farms by all in the UK. I wonder who will pay the Scottish share if Scotland ever goes independent?

Massive concrete bases are sunk into the ground, often deep peat which we are continually told to preserve, and access roads constructed across previously-untouched landscape. How many other industries are paid so much to do nothing while causing so much environmental damage?

Brenda Herrick, Thurso.


YOUR recent correspondence from climate change deniers and renewables supporters (Letters, May 31, June 1 & 2) ignores the fact that there are elephants in the rooms of both sides of the argument. The elephant for climate change deniers is that we do have to find some way of powering our economies/lives using methodologies that do not produce CO2. The renewables elephant is that renewable production of electricity is inevitably intermittent. So if we accept that climate change is a reality, and this seems to be the view of the vast majority of the informed public, a solution to the CO2 issue needs to be found.

There are two possible solutions at present, nuclear fission and renewables. The public appetite for nuclear power seems to be limited, which leaves us with renewables. So, rather than forever carping about the problems with renewables we need to put our efforts into overcoming the issues. Are there solutions? Of course there are and they include pumped storage systems, batteries, electrolysis to produce hydrogen and, I am sure, many other technologies that will be developed with appropriate funding.

Whether the carpers and climate deniers like it or not things have to change and, with suitable investment and imagination we will be able to change things with as little disruption as possible.

John Palfreyman, Coupar Angus.


MALCOM Parkin (Letters, June 1) asks how the current energy position in UK has come about.

One explanation I would suggest is that the financialisation of the economy since the 1970s has meant that the products of our education system have ended up as bean counters rather than skilled in the sciences of Newton and Kelvin.

On this planet perpetual motion is impossible. Energy engineering that ignores the laws of thermodynamics is likewise highly problematic. Morag Watson (Letters, May 31) would do well reconsider her claims with these two facts in mind.

Every wind turbine has cost much in carbon dioxide emissions in its manufacture, transportation and erection. Every “hydrogen generator" will require to be powered indirectly by fossil fuels. The “space exploration" activities much lauded by Struan Stevenson (“March of the wind farms is destroying Scotland’s beauty – but we can stop it”, The Herald, May 27) are further examples of energy blindness and consequent pollution.

Every solar panel has required fossil fuels in manufacture. Every electric car battery requires energy-extractive activities in its components and its production.The infrastructure to charge the vehicles is far from carbon-free.

The words of Nate Hagens (Post Carbon Institute, USA) explain the world energy predicament in a brilliant analogy: "Our culture is energy blind. We draw down the principle and consider it the interest.”

These are words which the economic fraternity would do well to consider after the 50 years when rapidly rising energy use and ever more energy absorbed in energy extraction has been propped up by a broken financial model.

John Caldwell, Bothwell.


YOUR not-infrequent publication of letters from anthropogenic global warming contrarians reminds me of the criticism the BBC was subjected to in relation to its news items or documentaries on climate change. In the interests of "balance” it would interview for instance Nigel Lawson, known for his determination to contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence.

However, the evidence was so conclusive, being accepted by rational scientific, governmental, public (and now judicial: "Court orders Royal Dutch Shell to cut carbon emissions”, The Herald May 26) opinion that the BBC stopped giving knee-jerk screen-time to Lord Lawson and his likes and their half-baked beliefs.

It would unfortunately be inappropriate to suggest that the Letters Editor adopt a similar attitude. He would get into terrible trouble if he did so; the pages would be full of cries of “eco-fascism”, “slippery slopes” and accusations of stifling free speech in spite of the debate being over.

And so having made my point I find myself left with the only option of suggesting to your readers that they reject the contrarians’ opinions and listen instead to those of the 97 per cent of actively-publishing climate scientists who agree that humans are causing global warming.

John Milne, Uddingston.


NEIL Mackay's analysis of the current state of Scottish politics and the crucial points he makes around the current stage of the independence debate ("The five key truths about Scotland and the Union", The Herald, June 1) was objective and very accurate. The only point I would question is when he writes of Tory "disrespect" for Scotland, especially around Brexit. The position of the Tories with regard to Brexit was clear and when a UK majority voted to leave, Scotland, as part of this UK entity, had no choice other than submit. The Tories do not display disrespect, they simply argued for a radically altered UK-wide relationship with the EU and with their argument prevailing are now implementing their UK-mandated policy.

Brexit is perhaps the most dramatic but by no means the only example of how over the past few decades the political and social views, one might almost say the world view, of Scotland and the rest of the UK have diverged. Without being a flag-waving or kilt-wearing nationalist this difference in outlook remains for me the strongest case for Scottish independence.

Of course this argument may be dismissed as emotional, but I agree strongly with Mr Mackay that the nitty gritty, brass tacks case for independence in relation to trade, currency and other matters must be persuasively made.

Brian Harvey, Hamilton.


PETER A Russell (Letters, June 2) refers to Nicola Sturgeon and "her fanatical Yes movement". The Yes movement does not belong to Nicola Sturgeon; it belongs to our Scottish nation and she, like me and around half of the nation, supports its objectives.

For all of us to be branded as fanatics by Mr Russell suggests that he is intemperate in his selection of adjectives. Nicola Sturgeon was born into an ordinary law-abiding, working-class family in Ayrshire and emerged firstly as a lawyer and later as a talented and greatly admired politician. If Mr Russell has achieved comparable success and distinction in his career he deserves to join the rest of us in the fanatical category.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


FROM whichever angle you look at the provision of ferry services for our islands, it is an utter shambles. The well-documented problems have been growing for years, long before Covid and is a situation designed, made and delivered by Scottish Government agencies, overseen by the Scottish Government.

As for the SNP MSPs, representing the interests of local people as usual comes second to falling into line with the orders of HQ; that is, we can’t blame the UK on this one so don’t whatever you do jump up and down highlighting what a mess we’ve made of things and demanding action.

The locals must be delighted that once the recent election was over, their MSPs "requested" a meeting with the new Transport Secretary. Let’s just airbrush out the last five years when this should have been properly tackled.

Setting aside all Scottish taxpayers who will be left footing the hundreds of millions of pounds of overspend on just two new ferries, you should have huge sympathy for the islanders.

And yet for the majority of local people it can’t be such an issue. The recent elections should have been the time to give their MSP a bloody nose, instead it was more of the same.

You reap what you sow.

Steven Clark, Edinburgh.

Read more: The nine key cards that Scotland can play in rUK talks