MY jaw dropped as I read Rebecca McQuillan’s article ("There’s no time for another fight over power lines", The Herald, April 6). How can anyone who professes to be "particularly interested in the environment" not be opposed to SSEN’s plans for the Highlands? Why accept at face value what you are told by those with shareholders to keep happy? We should ask the same of the Scottish Government.

The controversial Beauly to Denny line was fought and lost on environmental issues and it actually employed many foreign workers. It now pollutes the Highlands with its huge pylons, thick glistening transmission lines and sprawling 42-acre noisy substation. The notorious Beauly Buzz has plagued the area and residents for years and a noise abatement notice was slapped upon it by Highland Council.

Beauly will be an industrial mess if SSEN has its way. Mary Queen of Scots is reputed to have named the village when she visited in 1564, calling it beau lieu – beautiful place. SSEN will wipe out history with three supersized lines – bigger than the Beauly to Denny – all converging in a quiet crofting community at Fanellan at a new substation the size of 35 professional football pitches. There are also indications that expansion may be necessary in the future.

The consultations have been a joke, with rural communities only discovering in March this year what is going to hit them. They were then given a paltry few weeks to try to comprehend highly technical life-changing information and respond to SSEN. Attempts to get questions answered has been a slow and sometimes impossible affair.

Self-confessed urbanite Ms McQuillan needs to answer some serious questions if she believes this extension infrastructure that will scar the face of the Highlands forever is required, because we haven’t seen the facts or figures from SSEN to say it is. As the consumers who will ultimately be forced to pay for this and Highlanders who will have to live with it we demand answers, not just "we need this". Our experts say we don’t.

This infrastructure is for thousands more wind turbines and we believe it is being driven by the wind industry. England will not have the infrastructure to take this proposed energy for a decade, so there will be a massive bottleneck and millions more in constraints to turn turbines off. In 10 years England will have more nuclear and offshore wind – they may not even buy Scottish wind.

Spare us the alarmist and patronising rhetoric and give us some indisputable proof that a) wind energy will help change what the climate does and b) SSEN’s plans are even necessary for government targets to be met, because we have looked hard and the evidence is not there.

A public inquiry is essential for democracy and so that professionals can make their case on a need basis, as clearly the environment and communities don’t matter a jot.

Lyndsey Ward, Spokeswoman for Communities B4 Power Companies, Beauly. 

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Read more: There's no time for another fight over power lines

Lessons from the Savoy

ALAN M Morris's letter (April 5) headed "Westminster and The Mikado" is so correct regarding WS Gilbert's allusions to the politics of his day, particularly, of course, at Westminster in the 1880s/90s. The superb librettist and author would surely have had a field day living in our turbulent times. And I am sure today, he would be chased online, in court, and in the media by angry politicians denying whatever he wrote about them.

Mr Morris says the operas should really be referred to as operettas; this is not quite the case, as both men, in particular Sir Arthur Sullivan, insisted that they be called operas, as The Grand Duke, Utopia (Limited), The Yeomen of the Guard, Ruddygore, Trial by Jury, The Sorcerer and The Mikado were all called when written. The Gondoliers was termed "An Entirely Original Comic Opera", HMS Pinafore "A Nautical Comic Opera", while the remaining five operas were variously referred to as "Grotesque Opera", "Melo-Dramatic Opera", "Aesthetic Opera", "Fairy Opera" and "Operatic Per-Version".

I finish by quoting some of The Princess Zara's final speech in the 13th G&S opera, Utopia (Limited): "Government by Party! Introduce that great and glorious element – and all will be well! ... No political measures will endure, because one Party will assuredly undo all that the other Party has done; inexperienced civilians will govern your Army and Navy; no social reforms will be attempted, because out of vice, squalor and drunkenness no political capital is to be made ...Then there will be sickness in plenty, endless lawsuits, crowded jails, interminable confusion in the Army and Navy, and, in short, general and unexampled prosperity!"

Walter Paul, Glasgow.

• JOYCE Avery's Mikado contribution (Letters, April 4) was most amusing.

How about my favourite – Monty Python's Ministry of Putting Things On Top of Other Things? A lovely waste of taxpayers' money.

Hugh Steele, Cumbernauld.

Paisley and the call of the wild

I ADMIT to a soft spot for Paisley, having worked there for a year in general practice after obligatory hospital posts after graduation, and my added good fortune to hitch-up with a Paisley Buddy of the female variety 60 years ago.

During my time there I never had occasion to experience the romantic call “I’ll get ye” instanced by Ian W Thomson (Letters, April 6), which to my survival instinct promises more threat than treat.

I agree with him however that Paisley women are not to be trifled with.

R Russell Smith, Largs.

Something fishy

ONE spelling of A*** in Gaelic is "thon" (Letters, March 29 & April 5).

I was amazed in a French supermarket to see shelves of "Thon", some in sunflower oil and some in brine.

The French locals must have been baffled by the mad Scotsman sniggering at the tins of tuna.

David Hay, Minard, Argyll.

• I ENJOYED the Tondergay story (Letters, April 5) and I was reminded of the story from the local vet, one John Edgar in Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, about his enjoyment when the young students from the cities arrived and were learning to pronounce and indeed spell the local farm names. It’s been a long time since I lived there, however Airriequhillart or Arnimean (Granny’s pronunciation Ernimignan) come readily to mind.

Happy days.

Ethel Fitzgerald, Longforgan.