WHEN passing Longannet yesterday afternoon (June 6) I was taken aback by the huge columns of smoke and particulates heading north towards the local community following what was described as a “controlled demolition” ("Blaze at power station", The Herald, June 7). It was further concerning to see a stream of fire engines heading towards the plant.

The ScottishPower published responses I have seen some would describe as worryingly sanguine.

Resulting from Earth’s billions of years of bombardment by cosmic radiation and varying with where the coal was mined, the natural presence of uranium and radium isotopes, it is well known in the industry that residual radioactivity becomes concentrated in the fly ash, the bottom ash and the boiler slag. Some, I would reckon, would be still present within the materials affected by yesterday’s dispersion.

In addition the particulates are likely to have include other naturally occurring toxic elements in the coal such as mercury.

We must presume ScottishPower prepared risk assessments and an execution plan that addressed these factors and possible consequences.

I hope that SEPA was consulted in advance and will now revisit the outcome and become able to give detailed reassurance to the general, public unlike its colleagues at Scottish Power.

DB Watson, Cumbernauld.