I HAVE just recently purchased tickets for the World Pipe Band Championships Grade 1 competition and was aghast at the cheek exhibited by the addition of an Environmental Levy charge to the ticket price.

Glasgow City Council presumably enjoys the commercial benefits of letting green space be used for outdoor events/concerts and this benefit is city-wide through visitors using restaurants pre or post-concert, accommodation. and the pricing of the rental of the space to the event organisers no doubt includes a charge for putting the event space back to pre-event condition, which draws into question the rationale behind such a tax.

My immediate reaction to this charge on the tickets was that if the council’s priority is indeed to look after green space for the community then simply stop allowing the space to be used for events and concerts at all. What is the truthful priority here?

It is quite frankly another example of an avenue being found to strip more money from the pockets of the public and in my opinion, and possibly the opinion of many others, daylight robbery.

The tickets for the World Championships at £30 have additional charges amounting to almost 20 per cent of the face value to meet booking fees, transaction fees, postage and the council's now-introduced Environmental Levy and I sincerely hope that organisers of such events will withdraw their wish to stage events in Glasgow as a result.

The passing on of this charge to the public is misplaced as all costs needed to reinstate the green space for the benefit of the community is the council’s responsibility and is purely a matter between it and the event organisers.

The introduction of this tax is a despicable act and one which I hope the public complain bitterly about, leading to it being abandoned in early course, particularly given the present economic environment.

David Herd, Ormiston, East Lothian.


JUST to reassure Herald readers, I am not part of the "nuclear industry's charm offensive mentioned by John Hodgart (Letters, July 6). I'd like to restate some of the key points regarding fusion power to avoid misleading information adversely affecting public opinion.

The most important point is that fusion is not fission: the waste product from fusion reactions is helium gas (as in party balloons) – there is no hazardous waste requiring secure storage for thousands of years. Fusion creates helium from hydrogen, a process which liberates energy to produce carbon-free high temperatures for powering electrical turbines and is suitable for direct commercial use (for example in cement and glass manufacture) and district heating schemes. Note that there is now more private

investment in fusion than ever before, and there are rival private companies striving to build fusion power stations; it so happens

that STEP is ahead of the pack, given the excellent research and development at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, the UK fusion laboratory.

Clearly there is a carbon footprint for construction of any industrial plant, and a fusion power station is no exception. Construction is not planned to last "many decades", though; despite being the first of a kind, STEP major construction should start in early 2030, and be operating by the end of that decade; site-preparation and long-lead-time component construction will begin very shortly, and STEP should be producing electrical power by 2040.

I'd like to reassure readers that fusion power is safe. Fission power depends on a critical mass of fissile material in fuel rods (which can hold many weeks of fuel), controlling the runaway reaction risk by moderating the radioactive activity – a technique that has worked well in the UK, but has been problematic elsewhere (for example, Chernobyl).

In contrast, fusion reactions cannot occur spontaneously on a planet – they need a tokamak to create necessary conditions for the reaction. The tokamak can only hold a few seconds worth of fuel at any point and can be shut down in seconds by removing those conditions. There is simply no physical possibility of a runaway reaction in a tokamak.

Mr Hodgart's letter mentioned Dr Jassby; he was a respected plasma scientist who retired in the 1990s, and his opinions should be viewed in that context: there are many contemporary sources of information that contradict Dr Jassby's opinions, from equally respected scientists who are fully acquainted with modern advances. For example, see https://ccfe.ukaea.uk/fusion-energy/, and


The case for fusion power is not that it should replace other renewable energy approaches, but that it can contribute alongside those other renewable sources, offering additional resilience to the Scottish energy network. Whilst Scotland is indeed favourably placed for wind and tidal power, not every country is so fortunate; STEP is the prototype of a fleet of fusion power stations that could be exported across the globe, and I am keen to see Ardeer at the heart of that innovation.

Professor Declan Andrew Diver, School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Glasgow.


IT seems now that every time we have a spell of dry sunny weather we’re going to suffer drought. In the 1950s and 60s when I was at school I remember long hot summers but I do not remember drought warnings. Conversely where I live it seems that every time we have long spells of wet weather we get flood warnings.

As far as drought goes we are surrounded by salt water. Would it be difficult to build desalination plants? Places like Lanzarote have little or no fresh water so they desalinate sea water. Five litres of bottled water can then be bought for around £1.

As for flooding can’t we build underground storage tanks to divert the flood water into? Possible or not?

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth.


FRIDAY’S Issue of the Day (“The ‘rusty’ Eiffel Tower”, The Herald, July 8), reminds me of my “question du jour”, hot and tired in a queue for the famous landmark one afternoon, having giving way to allow a French couple to pass through the queue with a pleasant “You’re welcome”, and the abrupt response, “In France, we speak French”.

And “Bonne chance” to you too, monsieur”.

R Russell Smith, Largs.


READING all the reminders of Bud Neill's cartoons in recent letters (July 1, 4, 5 & 6), I got out my collection and am thoroughly enjoying going through it. His way with words was legendary.

On refusing a man wih a dog entry to her tram, the clippie said: "Can ye no' unnerstaun' English? There's nae dugs gets on the caurs unless they're no' Alsations, an' there's nane at a' gets on if there's wan up the sterr a'ready." I defy anyone else to think up a response like that. Magic, indeed.

Mary Duncan, East Kilbride.