SANDRA Dick ("Vacant sites in our high streets could enjoy an arts renaissance", The Herald, May 8) makes a far from compelling argument for former offices and shops in our town centres being turned into arts hubs. The businesses that used to occupy these sites provided employment, supported the immediate economy, paid the council business rates and the landlord rent. How many of these arts organisations will do any of these things?

Such studios tend not to pay their way and owe their very existence to being funded by some other entity. It's been hard to discern exactly who benefits from these hubs other than the people who choose to practise their arts in them. What measurable benefits do they bring to the wider community?

The demise of the high street certainly has a lot to do with the rise of internet shopping but its decline has been hastened by councils rushing to pedestrianise town centres and making private travel by road more difficult than it needs to be. Modern life is about convenience and if something isn't convenient people will not use it and that applies particularly to shopping.

If the powers that be are serious about saving our town centres then they must make access easier and provide sufficient affordable parking. Arts centres won't save the high street but getting realistic about how people access it might.

Colin Green, Dumfries.

Deceived over wind turbines

LYNDSEY Ward packs a load of truths into her letter (May 15) about the destructive disgrace of wind turbines in Scotland.

They were foisted, on Scotland especially, and without any prior pilot studies, having been rushed through Parliament by Ed Miliband with very little scrutiny and against the warnings from the late Sir David MacKay, government scientific adviser and Cambridge University Professor of Engineering. Prof MacKay's sound advice was "don't touch them until adequate electricity storage becomes available".

That pinpoints one of their main defects: their electric power generation is intermittent. They are wholly dependent on the required wind speed. Constant-back up, using fossil fuels, is essential.

In reality, taking account of their manufacturing, installation, servicing and demolition they are very far from free or green. Their non-recyclable blades demand land burial since they cannot be recycled.

Destruction of avian and marine creatures is a very lamentable certainty.The UK's yearly outlay for renewables, mainly for these "unreliables", is at least £20 billion. The running costs last as long as their 15 years' lifespan before renewal.

All in all, we have been "sold a pup" by deception. It is one of the worst and most costly crimes ever to hit the UK.

Charles Wardrop, Perth.

Read more: We should be pumping money into apprenticeships to help young people

Time to ban jump racing

IT has come to light that yet another horse – named Hullnback – has died as a result of racing at last month's three-day Grand National Meeting. The poor horse lost his life because of an infection caused by a racing injury sustained at Aintree Racecourse on April 14.

He was the fourth horse whose death was caused by this year's event. The other horses killed were Hill Sixteen, who suffered a broken neck at the first fence in the Grand National race; Dark Raven, who was killed earlier on the Saturday afternoon and Envoye Special, who lost his life on the first day of the meeting.

Since the year 2000, the death toll of the notorious Grand National meeting now stands at 63 horse victims. Shockingly, over the same period, across the country more than 3,000 horses have been killed as a result of being forced to take part in jump racing – which is why Animal Aid is calling for a total ban on jump racing.

Readers who want to learn more about how they can support our campaign to help horses should visit

Fiona Pereira, Campaign Manager, Animal Aid, Tonbridge, Kent.

We don't want driverless buses

GIVEN the parlous state of the economy one wonders why large sums are being spent on driverless buses ("UK’S first driverless bus takes to road in Scotland", The Herald, May 16).

Passengers don't want them because they don't feel safe. In San Francisco where lots of self-driving cars and taxis are being trialled by different manufacturers, various incidents have occurred. A self-driving car drove into the back of a bus. A gaggle of them caused a traffic jam when fog descended, forcing them to stop. Firemen had to smash the windscreen of one to get it to stop. NBC reported in January that "San Francisco is trying to slow the expansion of robotaxis after repeated incidents in which cars without drivers stopped and idled in the middle of the street for no obvious reason, delaying bus riders and disrupting the work of firefighters".

There is no requirement for the corporations which own these vehicles to report incidents, so more incidents than were captured on smartphones would have gone unrecorded.

William Loneskie, Lauder.

• I NOTE the introduction of driverless buses in Edinburgh and await with interest to see if they prove safe, efficient and reliable.

The concept of driverless vehicles in recent times is of course not new – with all the rail strikes there have been plenty driverless trains.

Can we assume that driverless buses cannot go on strike, or will our fears of AI prove well-founded when "computer says no"?

Alison Ram, Helensburgh.

Beyond her station

ANENT Russell Smith’s letter (May 16), I travelled on the Glasgow to Ayr line for many years and the only time I heard the young lady’s voice saying “Wemm-Izz Bay” was when my train was slowing to stop at Lochwinnoch station. A case of getting her “lines” crossed?

Judith McColm, Prestwick.

The phoney songsmith

ANENT correspondence about Artificial Intelligence and the Eurovision Song Contest (Letters, May 16), I asked my phone to write a four-line song for next year's contest. The immediate result was: "In the land of dreams, we gather as one/ A symphony of hearts, a dance begun/ Through melodies we soar, like birds on high/ United we sing, beneath the starry sky."

Not sure about that one, but perhaps illustrative of the worries evinced by examiners vis a vis students' answers to questions. Scary.

David Miller, Milngavie.