Letters to the editor

renewables

Green energy orthodoxy in Europe

News that the European Commission has decided to bow to reality and scrap binding EU-wide renewable energy targets from 2020 should come as a welcome relief to the many millions of beleaguered energy consumers here in Britain who have borne the burden of subsidising expensive, inefficient and nearly entirely useless renewable energy technologies like wind.

No doubt British industry will also be breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward to competing again on an even playing field against their competitors from Asia and America.

It’s a shame that it has taken the Commission this long to realise its error in committing to these foolish targets in the first place.

We must hope that the tide is now turning against the dominant green energy orthodoxy in Europe and towards a more sensible approach to meeting our energy needs.

The fact that the Commission has also published guidelines for the exploitation of shale gas is also encouraging and demonstrates clearly that they realise the huge gains for Europe in creating jobs, slashing gas prices and cutting CO2 emissions.

Flexibility is key in the fight against climate change and it is heartening to see the Commission finally recognise this.

Struan Stevenson MEP,

The European Parliament, Rue Wiertz 60, Brussels.

JOURNALISM

A chance to imPRESS

In an increasingly complex and fractured digital age, the demand for quality journalism and trusted news brands has never been greater, and the work of Scottish journalists has never reached such wide audiences as it does now.

Future journalists, designers and editors will come from the generation of ‘digital natives’ now growing up in an age of smart phones and superfast broadband. Like others who went on to successful careers in the media, the journalists of tomorrow are likely to be learning their craft - and how to work as part of a team - on a school publication.

Led by Menzies Distribution and supported by many leading organisations in the media, publishing and education, the imPRESS awards scheme is designed to recognise their efforts.

And in June, the very best of the print and digital productions created in Scottish classrooms will be celebrated at a presentation ceremony in Edinburgh.

Scotland has a long and proud tradition of excellence in journalism and publishing. I have every confidence that it will remain at the forefront of innovation and best practice in a fast-changing media world.

So, I would urge students from all parts of the country to show that the sector will be in good hands by showcasing their work through the awards and entering via http://ImpressScotland.co.uk

John McLellan,

Director, Scottish Newspaper Society.

independence

Behaviour is nothing new

Touchingly, Mr Walthew (letters, January 23) appears to believe that not least amongst the manifold benefits accruing to Scotland from independence will be political parties that do what they say they will (be careful what you wish for, you may get it!).

Mr Walthew opens by citing instances where he feels political parties have done things post election that differ from what they said they would do pre election. Such alleged behaviour by political parties is nothing new and has nothing to do with independence.

He then adds his own particular twist by arguing that the act of betrayal will be at the behest of London and that only independence will protect Scotland’s voters from being hoodwinked in this way. Are Scotland’s voters not able to decide for themselves who to trust with their votes? Will a new Hadrian’s Wall keep mendacious politicians at bay?

Specifically, which of the Unionist parties does Mr Walthew believe is promising Scotland’s voters one thing whilst planning another? Whilst there are differences of detail, the policies the Unionist parties espouse in Holyrood are generally in line with those they espouse in Westminster. Labour is red, the Conservatives are blue whether in Westminster or Holyrood. If, as he believes, they are out of tune with Scottish culture they won’t win an election. If they win an election, maybe they weren’t so out of tune as Mr Walthew thought they were.

Neil Stratton,

Heiton.

Osbourne has no power

I would rather Scotland did not leave the UK but can we be clear please it is not up to George Osbourne to decide if Scots use sterling.

The pound is an internationally traded currency.

Anyone in any foreign country anywhere can hold sterling notes if they want to or have their account listed in sterling if they wish. They can make contracts including contracts of employment to be paid in sterling. George Osbourne simply does not have the power to stop Scots using sterling.

The power of the UK banks, RBS, and HBOS to print notes of their own design will disappear, if Scotland votes for independence. That is true of the Australian owned Clydesdale Bank too.

We all use cards so much now cash is of less practical importance than it once was. Is there a power to expel Scotland from the EU for voting to go independent? Where is that written down exactly? Scotland remains inside the EU unless they decided to leave don’t they? How can an independent Scotland be forced to re apply to the EU and adopt the Euro as a new entrant if they are not leaving the EU in the first place?

Nigel F. Boddy,

Fife Road, Darlington.

duns festival

Open night a success

Through your column I would like to personally thank all those who attended Duns Summer Festival Committee’s open evening at Duns Rugby Club.

The night was a very positive evening with many of the townsfolk attending to volunteer their time and services that will make Reivers Week an even more enjoyable experience for all involved.

For anybody who couldn’t attend, but may wish to help deliver many of the week’s events either through marshaling of the rideouts, to help with the Wynsome Mayde’s night for example, they will be made very welcome.

Finally there is an amazing amount of planning and organising that goes into Reivers Week, and I would call on the community of Duns to support any up and coming fundraisers that are held to make Reivers Week happen.

Thanks again, ‘Duns Dings A’.

Alan Aitchison,

Chairman, Duns Summer Festival Committee.

litter

Problem needs addressed

There is understandably a lot in the press expressing justified concern about the dog mess deposited in public places, but people rarely express concern about the mess that many humans leave in the form of litter in our lovely towns, villages and countryside - paper, plastic, cans, wrappers etc.

Cigarette ends too are chucked everywhere (some 200 million per day countrywide!) with huge aesthetic, environmental and financial cost - they take months or years to disintegrate, leaking toxins as they do so.

As with dog fouling, littering is a fineable offence, but when do we ever see mention of fines being imposed? Do litterers even realise they could be fined? Perhaps the odd case reported in the press would send a reminder message?

Of course, there are good groups and individuals who do litter picks, but so much litter should not be there in the first place.

The scale of the problem needs to be addressed more forcibly, publically and legally.

G. Bell,

Wooler.

raffle success

Successful fundraiser

Through the pages of your paper, the committee and players of Coldstream Amateur Football Club would like to thank everybody who supported our recent Christmas Raffle.

The draw was made on December 28 at the Newcastle Arms Hotel and proved to be another successful fundraiser for the club.

The club would like to extend a special thank you to Cornhill Village Shop, who kindly donated the food hamper for the draw and Mr Robin Lees of The Newcastle Arms Hotel for his generous hospitality on the night of the draw.

Without the support of the local community it would be impossible for the Amateurs to compete in the Border Amateur League, this support is always appreciated and never undervalued.

The Committee,

Coldstream Amateurs Football Club.

duns brownies

Sponsoring a donkey

1st Duns Brownies would like to say a huge thank you to all those who supported their Coffee Morning in Duns Parish Church Hall on Saturday.

A tremendous total of £510 was raised and included £22.50 on the donkey games which will allow us to sponsor a donkey from the Sanctuary at St Boswells.

Many thanks again to all those who donated and helped in anyway.

Sally Fleming,

1st Duns Brownies.

subsidies

Divert wasted money

The Levels of Somerset are swamped and locals remember the way they used to be managed - dredging rivers.

Is the Kinnesburn not better now when similarly properly cleared?

Was the lack of maintenance a factor which caused the damaging burst in Dura Den, virtually demolishing a house and causing the collapse of the road, still closed to traffic?

How many roads are flooded because ditches and gullies are no longer tended by a local roadman?

Money a problem? Divert some of the loot wasted on wind turbine subsidies.

Mike Scott-Hayward,

Sawmill House, Kemback Bridge, Fife.

petition

East Lothian gives support

In May 2011 we launched ‘Cut Them Free’, our Scottish Parliament petition on the sexual exploitation of children.

We got a great deal of interest in the petition from people in East Lothian, who signed up in our shop in Musselburgh and online.

Nearly three years later, in January 2014 the Public Petitions Committee produced its final report on the petition, recommending a new National Strategy for tackling the sexual exploitation of children in Scotland.

This recommendation, along with 27 others, was included in their report to the Scottish Government and represents a major step forward in tackling this horrific abuse wherever in Scotland it takes place.

This would not have been possible had it not been for the support of our customers and your readers who backed the campaign. Our petition received over 3,000 public signatures and the backing of around 30 MSPs.

We would like to thank each and every one of the signatories for their support. This process has also demonstrated the effectiveness of the Scottish Parliament’s petitions system in ensuring public concerns are acted on at the highest level.

Our campaign continues, but we hope that continuing public support and concern on this issue will help ensure that in future every child in Scotland leads a life free from sexual exploitation.

Martin Crewe,

Director, Barnardo’s Scotland.

beaches

Help clean up our beaches

After a Christmas and New Year period that saw Britain battered by high winds, lashing rain and storm waves believed to be amongst the most extreme in living memory, many of the UK’s beaches have been left strewn with huge amounts of litter.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS), which organises the annual Beachwatch Big Weekend in September when thousands of people clean and survey hundreds of UK beaches, says now is a good time to get out on the beach and really make a difference.

Some beaches have been left in a terrible state, but just a few trips and a couple of bin bags could really help. When it comes to beach cleaning, every little helps.

We would urge people to visit their local or favourite beach and pick up some of the rubbish that has either been blown there by the strong winds or washed in by the unusually high tides.

After storms, the strandline is often higher up the beach than normal and on some beaches that our staff and volunteers have already cleaned we’ve seen much more litter than is usual at this time of the year.

Now is a really good time to become a Beachwatch Organiser and get family and friends together down on the beach.

MCS needs all the information it can get about where litter on our beaches comes from and by organising a clean and filling out a survey form you can help our campaigns to stop beach litter.

Plastic bits and pieces have been appearing on our beaches in increasing numbers for over two decades, but storms like the ones we have seen in the last month mean that many unusual items are likely to have been washed up and need clearing away – and some could cause harm to wildlife or human visitors.

Hundreds of species accidentally eat or become entangled in litter. Litter on our beaches is also hazardous to people – syringes, sharp glass can all pose a real threat.

It’s easy to get cleaning, involving basic equipment such as bin liners and rubber gloves, and the permission of the beach owner – often the local council.

If you would like to find out more about how you start beach cleaning then visit www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch where you can download a survey form to record what you find.

Clare Fischer,

Marine Conservation Society.