THOSE of us old enough will remember the duel between VHS and Betamax formats to capture the video recording market.

After a close-run initial race, VHS won hands down and Betamax was consigned to the dustbin, a not-so-glorious failure.

I fear we are seeing a similar duel in terms of fuelling our nation, and transport in particular, and we are in danger of backing the Betamax horse.

Industry figures are rightly angry at the UK Government’s narrow vision (or complete lack of it) in terms of a replacement for carbon fuels.

The rush to electric vehicles is ill-considered and badly thought through. It will end in failure and frustration.

The huge gaps in recharging infrastructure and the impracticality of providing this on a comprehensive scale are in danger of driving us up this Betamax of a cul-de-sac. We have the ability to provide the necessary infrastructure required for hydrogen at a fraction of the cost (and time) of that required to fuel electric vehicles.

There is a fantastic opportunity to embrace a hydrogen economy and it would be heartening to see that the Scottish Government had the vision to be at the forefront of this. It could fund Scotland’s prosperity for generations to come. (If Shell has identified the potential of hydrogen, then we should sit up and take notice.) Never has it been more important for the Scottish Government to diverge from Westminster policies.

But, instead of allowing the revenues which could be gained from a hydrogen-based economy being frittered away a la Thatcher in the 1970s and 80s, we can use them to reshape and rebuild our economy. Plus we have the chance to adopt a Norway-style approach and ensure that those revenues generated from this clean, renewable resource are banked for future generations so that we baby boomers can leave future generations the legacy they deserve. It is our opportunity to recompense them for the way we have frittered away our resources, for the austerity they have had to endure because of our financial hubris and for the despoliation of our planet we have left them to deal with.

It is our chance to atone.

William Thomson, Denny.