THERE was one important omission from the excellent article by Iain Macwhirter (“SNP’s big success is making independence seem tangible”, The Herald, May 4) since there was no mention of the impact of energy policy on the 40 per cent of Scots living in fuel poverty – especially since MSPs pledged to eliminate such poverty by the end of 2016.

The first impact arises from the Holyrood target of providing 100 per cent of Scottish demand from renewables. Should your readers review the details of their electricity costs supplied by Scottish electricity companies, they will be aware that low users of their product consume 4270 units a year at a cost of £657 prior to receiving any dual fuel discount. However, this generation figure is kept low as 70 per cent of generation by Scottish companies is obtained from low-cost carbon fuels and only 26 per cent from highly subsidised renewables. The generation component will therefore increase from the current figure of £295 a year to £555 a year, resulting in a 40 per cent rise in electricity bills to £920 a year – a major blow to those in fuel poverty.

The second impact on those in fuel poverty arises from the policy to phase out the use of domestic gas over the next decade. As electricity is around three times more expensive than gas this will mean another massive increase of £2,000 a year in energy bills in Scotland unless English and Welsh consumers are willing to subsidise the increase in energy costs.

The third blow to those in fuel poverty would arise from a Yes vote at a second independence referendum. since Scottish consumers only cover eight per cent of the green levy subsidy paid to the renewable sector. The demise of the UK grid means that low-user consumers in Scotland who currently pay £72 a year (11 per cent of electricity bills ) to the renewable subsidy will be faced with an increase to £900 a year when English and Welsh consumers no longer subsidise the electricity costs in Scotland.

Ian Moir,

79 Queen Street,

Castle Douglas.

IN times of no wind, too much wind or excess sun, the owners of windfarms are paid, from the public purse ,even when unproductive. In spite of this the Scottish Government wants more wind turbines. It is ludicrous that windfarms can have planning permission prior being granted connection to the National Grid. Once built, permission for connection is inevitable: a bigger worry is that a 10-turbine farm can be expanded almost ad lib.

The original application should include turbines, connection to the grid and an estimate of the final size. Were there to be evasion of the latter, further developments should be subject to appeal.

Dr Mary Macleod,

Taighe na Greine, Ardendrain, Kiltarlity, Inverness.