I SHARE the views of Norman McNab (Letters, August 4) with regard to the possible "future suffering of Scotland’s electricity consumers faced with the prospect of unbearable rises in electricity charges and uncertainty of supply". He refers to the need in the existing situation for what he hopes will prove to be "enabling political leadership". I wish him well with that aspiration. One is left wondering about what the strategy of the Scottish Government actually is other than to have no further nuclear power installation in Scotland and to rely on renewables, mainly wind. Given that Torness Power Station is currently scheduled to end generation in 2030, that would appear to be a high-risk strategy.

If the Scottish Government believes that importing energy from England when there is insufficient energy being generated in Scotland is the answer, then when it appraises the situation in England it may have to think again. The Government in England appears to be relying heavily on reviving the nuclear industry with developments at Sizewell C in Suffolk, Hinkley Point C in Somerset and Bradwell B in Essex. All of these developments involve significant input from China in the form of China General Nuclear (CGN). Relationships between the UK and China have been going through a difficult period for a number of reasons and it is possible that the Chinese could review their commitments to all three of these developments.

It is becoming, therefore, more and more pressing that the Scottish Government should provide reassurance in the form of its strategy for the future security of electricity supply. The continued absence of such clarity can only occasion concern among customers, whether domestic, commercial or industrial.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


NORMAN McNab says “those who question the absolute role of wind are often dismissed as heretics questioning a religious faith”..

People don’t like to be seen as different, particularly when it comes to questioning the “green” faith, so to keep us all in line we are subjected to statistically skewed polls such as the latest from RenewableUK conducted by YouGov, which claimed to show "overwhelming support" of 70 per cent for onshore wind farms.

Scotland has more onshore wind turbines than all of the other countries in the UK put together but of the 1,700 respondents to the poll, only seven per cent (119) were from Scotland. That is 0.002% of the Scottish population. Of those 119, only 38 (32%) replied that they lived within five miles of a wind farm. That is 0.0007% of the Scottish population. Choosing so few respondents from the UK area with the most onshore turbines in a poll seeking to determine public opinion on the issue makes the results inherently unreliable.

In contrast, there were 192 respondents from London. Why ask Londoners their opinion of living within five miles of an onshore turbine when there are none anywhere near?

It is worrying that results from this and similarly unreliable and biased polls are widely quoted by mainstream media and used by the Government to inform and underpin policy, justifying the push for further expansion of wind farms in the name of reducing carbon emissions, regardless of impacts on hapless rural residents and environmental damage.

It’s high time that we had a proper survey of public opinion in Scotland, where most of the onshore turbines are located and where planning permission is granted by Scottish ministers against the will of local people for some of the tallest onshore turbines in the world.

Graham Lang, Scotland Against Spin, Ceres, Fife.


THEY say you can twist statistics to suit any argument. In his comments on my letter of August 5 on the price of petrol compared to earnings, George Rennie (Letters, August 6) suggests that petrol could actually be relatively cheaper for some now than in the past. I used his own calculation of the 16.4 times increase in the price of petrol over the last 45 years. The average annual wage of a male general worker in 1972 was £1,903; if that is scaled up by the inflationary rate of petrol it should mean that the average annual wage today should be £31,212. The same mathematics shows that someone (one of the seven million-plus) on the legal minimum wage if fortunate to be in fulltime employment currently earns £20k per year and the overall UK average is £26k.

As an aside, one may ask where does all the money go? The answer is the government takes more than 70 per cent of it as a combination of fuel duty, of which there was a dramatic increase in the late 1960s, and VAT at 20%. Got to pay for Trident and pointless anachronistic aircraft carriers somehow.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

* WITH regard to petrol prices, in the early 1960s I can well remember calling in at Braemar for five gallons of hand-pumped petrol at 5s 6 ½d totalling £1.7s.8 ½, 10 Senior Service plain 2s 6d and a packet of Spangles at 3d. Total due was £1.10s.5½s.

I proffered a £1 note, a ten shilling note and a florin, making a total of £1.12s, and received change of 1s.6½. Happy days, no calculators – simple arithmetic.

Alan M Morris, Blanefield.


I SYMPATHISE fully with Dan Edgar (Letters, August 6) regarding responses to emails.

Have you ever tried to contact HM Revenue & Custom ? I've been trying on and off by telephone since receiving my tax code back in April. You can't email them as they don't have an email address. I tried again the other day using the Government gateway system only to go from number 19 in the queue down to number three, then I was cut off for my own security. Eh?

When I logged back in I was back at number 16. It's pulling-my-hair-out time.

Shaun Murphy, Kilbirnie.