THE cost of production of North Sea gas has not increased by a single penny due to the war in Ukraine, nor during the developing cost of living crisis of the past year.

Less than 10 per cent of the gas we use in the UK comes from Qatar, as liquefied natural gas and comes in on special tankers. The rest is piped in from the North Sea. Yet domestic energy prices are soaring, and are predicted to drive the UK’s poorest people into cold and/or hunger, and may well kill the most vulnerable.

It’s the trading arms of the major oil and gas companies, amongst others, that are driving up the price of gas that is pumped into our homes. In a war, if forces entered your home and took your wealth, it would be called looting. The oil and gas companies, their client governments and the media call it market forces.

Where will North sea gas producers, Shell, Total, ConocoPhillips, BG (British Gas), BP (British Petroleum), Equinor (Statoil) and others sell their gas if not to UK consumers? Why the enormous price increases?

Oil and gas cannot compete with solar and wind power and should be run down as renewable energy is massively developed.

Continued unabated oil and gas use – it’s called maximising economic recovery in the UK – is destroying the global climate. It should be stopped as soon as possible, while renewable energy resources are massively developed .

Valdimir Putin will have no power in a world that has moved away from oil and gas. Has he seen the writing on this particular wall?

Neil Rothnie, Glasgow.


TOM Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, packs an extraordinary number of inaccuracies and misleading statements into just a handful of sentences ("‘Cheaper’ nuclear power claims are disputed amid warning on fuel poverty", The Herald, February 23).

He states that the running cost of Torness nuclear plant is £45/MWh. This is a bit of fiscal dexterity, as that cost excludes the huge combined costs of construction, decommissioning and waste. He then compares the cost of power from Hinkley Point C (£92.5/MWh), with the cost of operating offshore wind farms. OK, these early wind farms were expensive, but those costs are paying off in spades with the new recently-contracted stations generating at less than £40/MWh, with every expectation the price of future offshore wind farms will continue to fall. Unlike nuclear where costs have only ever gone up, the more we exploit renewables, the cheaper they get.

Mr Greatrex claims the nuclear industry pays for its own legacy. Untrue, it’s electricity consumers who pay. He reassures us that this will be spread over more than 100 years, so taxpayers in the 22nd century will still be paying to clean up the mess. The retired plants will be sitting there for a century at the mercy of rising sea levels. Hardly a legacy we can be proud of.

Meanwhile, the Nuclear Liabilities Fund, that Mr Greatrex says is set up to pay for decommissioning nuclear plant stands at only £15bn – the vast majority from taxpayers with only a trivial contribution from EDF. So, when this fund proves inadequate, as it inevitably will, it's future taxpayers again who pay to clean up the mess, as well as do the dangerous job.

Prof Steve Thomas, Emeritus Professor of Energy Policy, PSIRU, University of Greenwich, and Dr Paul Dorfman, Associate Fellow, SPRU, University of Sussex.


MARK Smith does not want to be deprived of his pint of beer at 8am at Glasgow Airport ("Do not take away my morning pint of beer", The Herald, February 24). My husband regularly travelled to the Continent early on Monday mornings, returning early Friday evenings. He regularly saw groups of young women going to hen weekends, wearing T-shirts with slogans like "On it till I vomit". Their anti-social behaviour made the flight crews' job more difficult, it also made the experience of the other passengers more than unpleasant. The behaviour of young men going to stag weekends was just as bad.

This topic has been the subject of radio phone-ins on several occasions. The participants come from all parts of Scotland, and are of various ages. A high proportion of the callers would like the drinking hours in airports curtailed, to prevent the unruly actions of a small number of passengers.

Mr Smith says a proportionate response should apply to the policy on alcohol, and although millions of passengers go through Scotland's airports every year, the number of incidents is measured in the hundreds. That's fair enough, but when the drunken passengers are sitting beside me, and a lot of other people, we want the unruly behaviour stopped. We do not want to start our trip cleaning vomit from the back of our good holiday outfits. Strangely enough, it only seems to be British youngsters who have to get blotto to prove something or other.

Snobbishness does not come into the equation. It is not acceptable to get paralytic and spoil other passengers' trips on a plane.

Getting back to normal after the pandemic does not include allowing drunken passengers to spoil my holiday.

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.


"THE archives of England are silent" apparently, on how English Jews felt about the portrayal of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, claims a theatrical blog ("Issue of the day: Content warning for Shakespeare", The Herald, February 25).

King Edward Longshanks expelled all Jews from England in 1290 and they were not officially allowed to return until 1655. While not unknown, they would likely have been few and far between in 1605, so it is unsurprising that there are no records of their reactions to Shakespeare's play.

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews.


I RECKON my childhood memories are pretty reliable, but although walking a fair distance to primary classes from 1940 to 1947 I have few memories of school being closed due to winter weather ("Naming a storm is a surefire way to spread fear and alarm", The Herald, February 25 ).

Mind you, I recall most days as being sunny. Selective amnesia perhaps?

R Russell Smith, Largs.