IAIN Macwhirter claims in a cursory dismissal that "solar isn’t really viable in cloudy Scotland" ("Ten hard lessons from the United Kingdom’s Great Gas Gazump", September 26). I do wish he would do his research better. It isn’t so much sunshine that is the critical factor but solar radiance. And he is wrong.

When Germany started developing solar energy more than 30 years ago Freiburg (pop 230,000) soon became a key centre of innovation, adding to its environmental reputation as one of Europe’s greenest cities. In 2007 Freiburg had almost as much solar photovoltaic (PV) power as the whole of Britain. It is Germany’s Solar City.

PV installations are on half of its schools, its football stadium, railway station and hospital – generating about 10 gigawatt hours a year. Its Fraunhofer Institute is a beacon of solar engineering and development, and generates considerable high tech industry and employment.

Freiburg has benefited considerably from the feed-in-tariffs applied in Germany to kickstart its renewable revolution.

In the UK the current dogma-driven Government removed this proven incentive from solar just as installations were taking off. Of course, performing well in the hypocrisy stakes means we can still find an annual £10.5 billion subsidy for fossil fuels.

Despite the myths about Scotland’s solar potential, some 380 MW capacity of Photovoltaics have been installed in the last 10 years from virtually zero in 2010. That’s about 40,000 homes and over 600 businesses.

However, for comparison, Germany installed double Scotland’s entire PV capacity in just the first two months of 2020, and that during a global pandemic. This ought to shame our political class.

Despite Freiburg’s annual 1800 sunshine hours, it has barely 20% more sunshine than Aberdeen, and its overall level of solar radiance is pretty much the same as western Scotland. We can use PVs innovatively here with very positive outcomes as a key element in our net zero strategy.

Freiburg has the goal of achieving 100% renewable energy for the entire city by 2035.

If we are to walk the walk at COP26 we need equivalent aspiration and ambition for Scotland – and for both UK and Scottish governments to abandon obfuscation and over-claiming climate change successes, and get on with some real world problem-solving.

Tony Philpin, Isle of Gigha.


COP26 continues to dominate the TV news and press headlines but why are the emissions created by these COPs never disclosed?

There needs to be an estimate of the additional greenhouse gas emissions that COP26 will create.

There will be 30,000 delegates plus press, transport, Police Scotland and others. The estimate of the emissions that will be created by this latest jamboree should then be compared with the improved emission reduction promises from the 197 countries attending. If they are not better than the emissions created by COP26 then COP26 should be cancelled.

However the majority of countries, with China foremost, have refused to give updated emission reduction targets to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Without these targets COP26 is dead in the water. The previous 25 COPs achieved nothing but hot air and COP26 will be no different.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.


IF I had slept through the pandemic and woken up this last week, my first impression would have been that Jeremy Corbyn won in the last election. We have historic levels of borrowing and spending to say nothing of talk about windfall taxes and nationalisation.

Covid caused a vast expansion of the state, one that challenges any possibility of judicious budgeting, while Brexit contributes crippling supply chain problems and worker shortages. Finally a shambolic energy policy has led to the near certainty of winter black-outs.

I’m old enough to remember the later 1940s, these dreadful post-war years when everything went wrong. For all the hysteria emanating from Extinction Rebellion, St Greta and the Green radicals, I wonder if we're in for a 75th anniversary of the "1947" winter.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.


GEORGE Archibald (Letters, September 26) criticises me for being a "feartie" over Scottish independence. There is a very good reason for that.

Mr Archibald is taking the usual line of the nationalists that all will be well and there is nothing to worry about. Far from it. The future of 5.5 million Scots rests on these decisions which appear to be being made with no regard to the details.

Independence is a fallacy as the SNP /Green administration simply wants to take the baton from Westminster and hand it to Brussels. Scotland would go from a loud voice as one of four to a whisper as one of 28. Not only that, but the EU would only take us on if we were a net contributor. After all, Nicola Sturgeon oft says we are the 14th wealthiest country in the world so we would automatically be one of the wealthiest in Europe. So independence would give us a hard border with England, no borders with the EU and big bills landing on the doormat daily. Sounds good?

Independence was elevated to the mainstream of politics by Alex Salmond who was the best thing since sliced bread in 2014. In 2021 a recent Scottish poll voted him Britain's worst politician. Being afraid of independence is no bad thing.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


LABOUR'S UK deputy leader, Angela Rayner, may feel she looked gutsy in standing by her abusive comments about Boris Johnson but, in so doing, she displayed a worrying naivety.

It's unlikely Labour will win another UK General Election without acquiring more than a few more additional Scottish seats. Labour needs to win back disenfranchised floating Scottish voters who have deserted the party for the SNP, Greens and Tories. I'm no fan of Boris Johnson, but unapologetically using the gutter language won't help Labour secure the numerous Scottish seats it so desperately needs. Own goal, Ms Rayner?

Martin Redfern, Melrose.


WE are fretting about the causes of our present food and fuel supply crisis, with ministers and newspapers saying it is an international problem, that we are not the only ones, that it is Covid, that it is just about anything but themselves and the altar on which we have all been sacrificed.

Now I know that in Britain, now being sovereign, this cannot be the case, that now we have got control of our borders, we don't have to employ under-paid foreigners to do our dirty work that actually most Brits are not the slightest bit interested in, unless they are paid a great deal more and even then. I know that if we haven't got enough truck drivers, it must be because we haven't been trying hard enough to recruit British drivers, never mind that working conditions and incentives are so poor, that this is not surprising.

I know that we are all looking forward to higher prices for the food that we ourselves don't want to pick and which has been rotting in the fields, because, after all, though the Home Office is led by a second-generation immigrant, and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is himself a second-generation immigrant, we certainly don't want any more of them.

Brexit, the cause that dare not speak its name.

Trevor Rigg, Edinburgh.


WITH a potential increase in Covid and flu cases over the coming winter months, it's concerning that the number of acute hospital beds available in Scotland is the lowest recorded in recent times.

There are obviously hold-ups in the release of patients from hospitals due to the deficiencies in the social care system but the lack of Government impetus to manage a difficult situation is worrying and piles pressure on hard-working NHS staff. It's all very well for the Scottish Government to say in its defence that the rate of decrease in hospital beds is slower than in England, but that is hardly relevant to people needing beds in Scotland and is a classic case of deflective politics.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.


WHILST the Lord Advocate has de facto decriminalised possession of Class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine, which is good news for those who possess dangerous drugs, those same people had better not be caught with a dead salmon or sea-trout in their possession.

The taking of dead salmon from a river, perhaps killed by a seal or a fish which has escaped from an angler's hook and subsequently died is a very serious criminal offence and possession of such dead fish always leads to criminal prosecution with a fine of up to £2,500.

What a strange country Scotland is where dead salmon are afforded the full protection of the criminal law, but deprived communities consumed with violence, drug gangs and record drug deaths have seen their criminal protection withdrawn by the Lord Advocate.

Jim Stewart, Musselburgh.


AMERICA is expected to see a compensation settlement for prescribed opioid damage costing a predicted $26 billion or more. How does Nicola Sturgeon's administration respond? The de facto decriminalisation of drugs in drugs in Scotland is a woke or whacky scam and scandal. It's almost as absurd as losing energy, heat and light, while the UK leaves vast oil or coal reserves untapped to keep the Greta Thunberg cult happy. Would Nicola Sturgeon want Scotland returned to the Stone Age? She should set up a new outdoor parliament at the Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis.

JT Hardy, Belfast.