ALAN Simpson's article ("The long and winding A82 sums up shambles of transport policy", The Herald, January 20) requires comment.

A more considered view of the whole transport question is needed. It is an unpalatable truth that electric cars are not the whole solution to the need to reduce CO2 emissions, and stating otherwise will not change that.

There is no scenario where there will be sufficient electricity to cover all current car journeys, apart from the construction of several (I heard "five" at a transport conference) new nuclear power stations. We all need to understand that we will have to make changes to our means of transport where possible.

A mix of solutions which address different aspects of the problem across Scotland is needed. First, as outlined in Scottish Government policy, traffic must be transferred to rail and bus wherever possible. There is no need for timber or large supermarket consignments to go by road when there is a parallel railway.

Distribution must be aligned to the railway for the main part of the journey so that road vehicles are used only for local transfers. These vehicles will be battery/hydrogen-powered and far smaller than the 38-tonne trucks which occupy the A82.

Secondly, improvements to dangerous spots on roads such as the A82 are necessary, although less so without the presence of so many large vehicles after modal shift has taken place. These improvements must contribute to safety whilst maintaining as much as possible of the beauty which attracts tourists. Big road replacement projects are no longer appropriate, or affordable.

The tone of Mr Simpson's article seems to me to try to "other" and belittle the green lobby. To link green targets with concern about fatalities on the roads is disingenuous and to suggest that "decent public transport services to the farthest-flung parts of Sutherland or Caithness are for the birds" is simply wrong. It is the Government's job to provide decent public transport service to all parts of the country and it is the job of commentators to be accurate when discussing the future of transport.
Ian Budd, Convener, Friends of the Far North Line, Bishopbriggs

No more suitable wind farm sites

MARK Richardson, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables (Letters, January 23) tells us that a recent review by the University of Edinburgh conclusively showed that wind farms pay back the carbon produced during their construction within two years. He didn’t mention the highly-polluting and toxic mining process, manufacture, transportation, operation or decommissioning process which accompanies wind farm construction but perhaps that was an oversight. From a Google search, I located what appeared to be the mentioned document dated 2015.

It showed that for onshore farms built on peatlands where no effort has been made to mitigate the effects of wind farm construction, payback time would be significantly extended and those constructed on forested peat lands would not achieve carbon payback at all if they were constructed after the mid-2020s.

A locational analysis of Scottish wind farms estimated that 74% of greater than or equal to 50 MW wind farms were built on peat. Amazingly all wind farm applications tell us that the peat is degraded to some extent and should consent be granted for the wind farm, operations will be undertaken to restore “some” of it at some point in time which probably never arrives.

If Mr Richardson believes, as he says, that further development must be sited in the right place then thankfully there shouldn't be any more wind farms as all suitable sites have long since been taken.
Aileen Jackson, Uplawmoor

• I THANK Mark Richardson for his response (Letters, January 23) to my letter of January 20) on the future of Britain powered by wind.

If he is so sure of this, could he please explain why I have a four-page letter received on January 5 from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, entitled “Helping You Prepare This Winter” and telling me that I am in Rota Block E for rolling power outages planned by the National Grid in the event of a prolonged cold spell.

Surely, in his own mind Mr Richardson must know that we cannot rely on variable wind for our electricity, simply because when there isn’t enough wind there isn’t enough electricity, no matter how many windmills there are.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinross

• THE TV news recently mentioned how some householders will be paid to use less electricity at certain times due to people using more energy in colder weather (“Grid may pay today”, The Herald, January 24). This is only a half-truth. Some areas like Scotland, the West Country and western Wales are probably using less energy as temperatures are unseasonably mild in these areas. But my main point, and they didn't mention this, is that UK wind speeds have collapsed, resulting in electricity from wind falling from around 14,000 MW (megawatts) six days ago to around 4,000 MW for the last 48 hours and counting.
Geoff Moore, Alness

Two ways to improve VAR

PERHAPS I should start with an apology for bringing VAR (Video Assistant Referee for those not familiar with the game of football) out of the sports section and into the paper proper.

Another weekend and another avalanche of complaints at the handling of VAR decision-making. I have a couple of suggestions which I believe could be considered by the SFA.

1. Time-limit the decision process by the VAR team. I believe four minutes was the time taken at Parkhead on Saturday. I suggest one minute for the officials to decide whether or not to invite the referee over to view is adequate. The default would be the referee's original position would stand if no decision is reached with that time.

2. As per tennis, limit the number of VAR call each team can have in a game. I suggest one per half per team and where extra time is played, one call in extra time. Again as per tennis it would be the player(s) who make the call – an ideal role for the team captain to take on. The only exception would be if the VAR team or match officials spot a possible red card offence which the opposing team captain had not witnessed.
Alastair Clark, Stranraer

OK now, stop

MAY I suggest a verbal KO to the grating use of “like”, OK, and other conversational tics, OK, which have been of concern, OK, in recent correspondence, OK, ( Letters, January 21, 23 & 24)?

The problem of course is finding a harmless alternative, OK, to those afflicted. OK?
R Russell Smith, Largs


HeraldScotland:

Letters should not exceed 500 words. We reserve the right to edit submissions.