TO the First Minister:

We are a group of Scotland-wide healthcare workers writing to request that the Scottish Government take the strongest possible action to control vehicular-produced air pollution by mandating immediate local council action, allowing improved health, and reducing adverse effects on the current climate crisis.

We appreciate that the Scottish Government has been active and that we have some of the lowest regulation levels for particulate matter in our air. However, Scottish councils are not always enforcing these laws.

Globally, it is estimated that 16% of all deaths are related to air pollution. with around 40,000 deaths each year in the UK attributable to air pollution, most of it from vehicular traffic. It has been linked to cancer, asthma, diabetes, and dementia.

Two Scottish studies have shown significant increases in hospital admissions on days of illegal pollution with new-onset heart disease, lung disease, and blood clots in the arteries of the legs (which can lead to amputation), when compared to days when air pollution is within legal limits.

Babies can be still-born or born prematurely, while children subjected to air pollution are more likely to die in their first two years, to attend A&E with chest infections, and suffer from asthma.

A Scottish study has shown that many more children are admitted to hospital on days of illegally high pollution.

Scottish researchers have also shown that keeping air pollution within legal limits would reduce hospital admissions by 10%, a major reduction in ill-health which would save money for our NHS.

It is estimated that air pollution costs the UK £20bn per annum in health and social care.

We know that those who are already disadvantaged are disproportionately affected – often living in city centres or beside main roads.

They have less access to less green space, which can absorb some of the noxious pollutants, and are the least able to afford a car, thus suffering the ill-effects without contributing to them.

Addressing these issues is critical. We believe that immediate and medium-term action must now be taken including:

* Implementing more low-emission zones within six months in all Air Quality Management Areas.

* Installing more air pollution monitors, which should be obligatory on roads beside every school.

* Removing speed bumps – as braking then accelerating is recognised as a source of excess fumes. These should be replaced by 20mph zones.

* Making idling an offence, enforceable by traffic wardens able to issue tickets.

* Preventing major roads going through new developments.

In the medium term the Scottish Government should further support:

* Active travel: We need protected cycle routes of the correct width that don’t end suddenly, increasing the risk of injury.

* Better public transport: Investment in rail service will play a big part in reducing air pollution.

* Investment in green space: Greening our roads will produce more pleasant streets and the correct planting will allow significant decreases in air pollution.

We are happy to discuss all of the above at your convenience.

Jill Belch, Professor of Vascular Medicine NHS Tayside University of Dundee; James Chalmers, Professor of Respiratory Medicine NHS Tayside University of Dundee; Munro Stewart, GP NHS Tayside Sustainability Group; Tom Fardon, Respiratory lead for the Scottish Access Collaborative at The Scottish Government.

Plus 60 more health professionals including consultants, GPs and academics from across Scotland.


THE Government’s newly-announced Net Zero strategy is a very welcome step towards a green future for the country. I’m pleased to see ambitious targets and investment being committed to phasing out polluting technologies and transitioning to electric vehicles.

In the past, electrification plans and incentives have focused on cars and private vehicles, inaccessible to the majority of the country’s population.

It’s encouraging to see the government’s new National Bus Strategy recognise the importance of greening our public transport, committing funding for 4,000 electric buses and the supporting infrastructure.

With 27% of all carbon emissions in the UK coming from transport, this will be a vital step towards meeting our net zero target by 2050.

However, the investments will need to be spread across the country, not just focused on major towns and cities, to ensure clean transport is accessible to all.

I look forward to seeing private sector business and government work together to make these commitments a reality.

Steven Meersman, founder director, Zenobe Energy, London.


THE front-page article of The Herald on October 20 (“1,100 species and habitats damaged by climate change”) makes various claims that so-called climate change is reducing populations of birds and insects, and that we need to take action.

But the elephant in the room here are wind turbines.

We are told almost daily that renewables will save the planet, but several years ago numerous scientific studies stated that millions of birds and bats are killed each year by wind turbine blades.

Now my attention has been drawn to a study by Christian Voigt, published in January. He estimates that the equivalent of 1.2 trillion insects are killed by German onshore wind turbines annually. The indirect effect of this will be fewer insects for birds and bats to eat, and reduced pollination of plants.

It seems we have to destroy the planet to save the planet.

Geoff Moore, Alness.


THE Tory Government’s spurning of the Aberdeenshire site for a carbon capture plant, despite promising it pre-referendum in 2014, starkly illustrates why the Union is a disaster for Scotland.

Boris Johnson knows he doesn’t need the six Scottish Tories to keep his majority, so has chosen the Humber and the Liverpool area instead to shore up Tories in the former Red Wall.

Sir Ian Wood, chairman of the Energy Transition Zone, said the UK’s choice “makes little economic or environmental sense and is a real blow to Scotland”.

Scotland, he added, “is the most cost-effective place to begin [carbon capture] in the UK given the capacity for CO2 transport and storage.

“Vitally, there is also a huge opportunity for oil and gas firms, domestic supply chain companies and our wider economy to harness the skills of our current workforce to create many good, green jobs in the coming years and contribute significantly to the net zero ambition.”

Scottish MPs in Westminster are being cut from 59 to 57, while English MPs will increase from 533 to 543. Scotland doesn’t stand a chance.

What will it take for the Scottish Government to finally recall its MPs from Westminster and get on with the business of liberating Scotland from a Union that is slowly strangling us?

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

* THE SNP are very annoyed that Aberdeenshire has missed out on the Acorn carbon capture deal.

“It is yet another betrayal of bringing jobs and infrastructure to Scotland by Westminster”, it implies. But just a minute. Is the SNP policy of getting rid of the Faslane naval base at the earliest possible opportunity not just the same policy in reverse?

Surely the SNP would be forcing many jobs out of Scotland and into England with no credible replacements on offer. The SNP needs to be a bit more careful about protesting before thinking.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


CONGRATULATIONS to Iain Macwhirter for his article “Forget heat pumps, SNP is selling us a pig in a green poke” (October 20) which at last exposes the true costs of a Green Revolution.

The Scottish economy cannot afford to meet the 2045 targets without a massive collapse in our current standard of living.

The major problem that Holyrood fails to address is that renewable energy is still over double the price of fossil fuels even when gas has increased to 240p/therm.

The SNP/Green Alliance needs to focus on pushing the renewable sector to deliver electricity to the consumer at a cost of around 4p/unit. Even the talk of using green or blue hydrogen as an energy source is pie-in-the-sky if you have to start the process using wind energy at 20p/unit before including the downstream costs of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The Inconvenient Truth is that should the BRIC countries fail to turn up in Glasgow then COP26 is dead in the water.

Western nations will need to go back to the drawing board to find a method of competing with coal and gas powered stations in the BRIC community whilst solving the puzzle of capturing the excess CO2 in the air to reduce the current CO2 levels in the atmosphere by at least 50%

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.


Disappointingly I have just read what amounts to a mountain of disingenuous clap trap under your ‘Gateway to a New Age of Green Energy’ section of today’s Herald (17/10/2021).

Mr Lewis McIntyre of Peel Ports tells us of the incredible transformation his organisation has made with regard to its green credentials. He extols the virtues of its Hunterston site in this regard. He tells us of the wonderful money spinning and job creating proposal to produce High Voltage sub sea cables which would continuously produce cabling to be wound aboard awaiting ships alongside the old coal jetty.

Ask the residents of Fairlie what a 24/7 environmental noise nuisance was created when a similar vessel lay alongside during the Hunterston to North Wales sub sea HVDC cable laying project. That is in addition to the noise excesses over decades incurred from coal shipments being offloaded at the jetty.

Would this be the same organisation which has polluted the air in the Fairlie/Largs area for decades with a huge burden of airborne coal dust, despite repeated remonstration from Fairlie Community Council and many others?

Is this the same organisation which hosted two of the worlds biggest oil well drill/exploration for the last 10 months? The said ships have continuously spewed hundreds of thousands of Megawatt hours worth of diesel exhaust fumes to the local environment when they could and most emphatically should have been supplied with green, shore supplied electrical energy? The power supply block at the end of the jetty could easily have been adapted to supply these ships. Some expenditure would have been incurred slightly offsetting the huge daily berthing fees charged for DS4 and DS8. Good timing in that one of these vessels has just departed pre COP 26. A visiting COP 26 team would have been horrified.

My personal view of this highly avaricious organisation is that it has not been a good community neighbour and will exploit any opportunity irrespective of environmental soundness. Mr McIntyre stresses the need to redress the East/West coast of Scotland imbalance when it comes to oil related matters.

This was demonstrated when oil rig decommissioning was included as part of the proposed agenda. They would have been happy to endanger the local SSSI during the necessary dredging operations required to fit a dock gate to the oil rig construction yard, without consideration of an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Three cheers for Marine Scotland and Friends of Firth of Clyde who interrupted this avaricious, potentially environmentally disastrous project, whereby acres of sea grass stood to be eliminated.

Sadly our MSP, who supported the project, stood up in Holyrood and asserted that if the developers caused environmental damage then some of the £10 million of taxpayers money allocated to the project would be clawed back. Stable, door, horse, bolted, are words which most immediately spring to mind.

Clearly much recalibration of thought processes is required. Shame on Mr McIntyre’s organisation. I rest my case.

Hugh Maclean, Fairliexxx.


In his piece about opinions and news, Mark Smith seems to have missed the point that The Herald is, first and foremost, a ‘Newspaper’ – it is right there within the banner title. It is not an opinion magazine, nor is it an entertainment magazine.

Being allowed to have an Opinion Piece is a privilege and should be seen as such, and that seems to be lost on those offering ‘Opinions’ many of which are less about being informative and more about being inflammatory. Mr. Smith’s offering was less about defining ‘news’ and ‘opinion’ and more about some beef he has with the SNP President.

As for his comments defending the BBC, well that news medium has long since lost its right to be regarded as a reliable source of balanced views.

Gone are the days of investigative in-depth journalism and follow up stories on things that matter. With COP 26 coming to town, I wonder how long The Herald will highlight Environmental stories after the circus has left town.

Nevertheless, using just two examples of forgotten news: in the past there would have been many follow up articles about women’s pension scandals, and, during an energy crisis, news media would cover the story daily until it was resolved. The latter barely merited three days in spite of it being an ongoing crisis.

But The Herald unashamedly allows party politics into its columns under the guise of ‘Opinion Pieces’ from people who failed at being politicians. I would like to see much less of the ‘the in-depth opinion pieces’ and much more old fashioned reporting – Herald Letters Pages offer enough opinion for us all.

As for Mr. Smith’s assertion that people who read the Herald are looking for opinions that agree with their own – well he has missed the mark with that one. I rarely agree with the Opinions on offer (even like-minded ones) but I still enjoy reading the reported news – DAILY!

Francis Deigman, Erskine