Letters to the editor

Wind turbines

Accident statistics at wind farms

I am absolutely appalled by the article on page 18 of this weeks Berwickshire regarding Drone Hill wind farm and access to it by school children.

Wind farms are not safe places to be; therefore AES (Drone Hill WF site owners), school teachers, and parents should not be permitting children to visit them.

To show just how unsafe turbines are I am attaching some information from the “Caithness Wind farm Forum” who have for a number of years been gathering information on accidents and incidents in connection with turbines through out the UK:

CWIF believe that it is only the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of numbers of accidents and their frequency. Indeed on December 11, 2011, the Daily Telegraph reported that RenewableUK confirmed that there had been 1500 wind turbine accidents and incidents in the UK alone in the past five years. Data here reports only 142 UK accidents from 2006-2010 and so the figures here may only represent 9% of actual accidents.

The data does however give an excellent cross-section of the types of accidents which can and do occur, and their consequences. With few exceptions, before about 1997 only data on fatal accidents has been found.

The trend is as expected – as more turbines are built, more accidents occur.

Numbers of recorded accidents reflect this, with an average of 10 accidents per year from 1994-98 inclusive; 44 accidents per year from 1999-2003 inclusive; 93 accidents per year from 2004-08 inclusive, and 145 accidents per year from 2009-13 inclusive.

More information on this subject can be seen at Summary of Wind Turbine Accident data - Caithness Windfarm ...

And for information relating to the safety of turbines near schools please see: http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/SchoolsReport.htm

No one, let alone our precious children, should be permitted to walk anywhere near wind turbines, they are just not safe, are we going to wait until a child is killed before we act?

Please print this letter as written in the next issue of the Berwickshire as a warning to parents, children, and wind farm owners everywhere.

George Matthews FRICS MIFireE,

Burnside Cottage, Coldingham Moor.


Seize a better future

It will come as a surprise to many of your readers that I do understand why some people in Scotland wish to stay within the Union.

Firstly, there is the comfort of the status quo; the reassurance of ‘it’s aye been’; better the devil you know and all that.

Secondly, folk worry if the pound in their pocket will still be legal tender after a YES vote. Older people are concerned about the purchasing power of their pensions if Holyrood controls the purse strings.

Thirdly, Scottish residents wonder if they will be able to visit friends and relatives over the border, without having to queue for hours to show their passport to an armed guard. If they fall ill down south will they have to pay a fortune for health care?

Those of us in the YES camp know that all these fears are groundless. We know that the Better Together/Project Fear campaign have done their research and are playing on these worries for all they are worth – to a point beyond farce. They are fears which are utterly groundless.

We know that the pound is just as much Scotland’s currency as it is the rest of the UK’s. We know that we will be able to use it freely with independence just as Eire did until it joined the Euro.

We also know that if Scotland was in complete control of its finances, then our pensions will not only be protected, but probably enhanced.

We know that we will be able to shop in Berwick if we want to just as now, exactly the same as ‘foreign’ Irish citizens are allowed to enter and leave England without let or hindrance.

We know that we will be treated by the NHS without charge in England just as we are in Italy or Spain (unless the NHS has been fully privatised by then of course).

While all the London based Unionist parties do not want Scotland to be independent, they all concede that, economically, we can be.

So I implore anyone who is not committed to Scotland being a democratic country in the world community of free nations, to use their common sense and see through the NO’s visions of Armageddon. To be bold and seize a better and fairer future for themselves and their grandchildren.

Richard Walthew,

Whitsome Crofts, Duns.

The UK versus the EU

Despite frequent and very public statements by EC and EU Presidents Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy that an independent Scotland cannot assume

automatic membership of the EU, Mr Salmond and his cronies insist (as in all things) that post-2016 “there will be no problem” and “all will be well” (as in every other area of the inevitable muddle that their lunatic obsession will bring down upon us).

Emboldened by the madness unfolding in Scotland, Catalonia is now seeking an independence referendum in November 2014.

But the EU has stated categorically that it will not recognise Catalonia as an independent state.

So why is the SNP so convinced, so naïve, or so untruthful to say that Scotland can remain (or even be permitted to become) a member of the EU? Why are they so keen to bite the English hand that has supported us for over 300 years, yet embrace a far more remote and distant bureaucratic master in Brussels?

One answer may lie in knowing that a small, financially insecure, relatively poor and remote independent state on the outer edge of the EU (like the new Balkan states or the Republic of Ireland) would inevitably get into economic distress, then be able to beg for hand-outs from the Eurozone (mostly Germany).

The truth is that no-one may want to “own” and support a self-inflicted, non-viable independent Scotland, managed by the self-serving second-rate clowns in that expensive circus at Holyrood.

Dr Michael Wilson.

No quick fix over EU

Patrick Layden QC,a former senior legal adviser to the SNP on European and constitutional affairs, takes a contrary view to Sir David Edward.

In the opinion of the QC, there is now a general acceptance in international law and by other countries that an independent Scotland would no longer be within the EU and that amendments to the Treaties would be required to admit Scotland.

I suppose Scotland could choose to challenge this through the courts. At the pace the courts move, it would take several years for the matter to wend its way through the different courts and appeals procedures for a decision to be handed down. This would be before any membership negotiations could even begin. It would be manna from heaven for the lawyers.

Meanwhile, back in the real world,it remains the case that the 28 member state European Council may only proceed on the basis of unanimity on membership and Treaty amendment issues.

I notice that none of the paper’s correspondents has attempted to dispute this. How could they? It’s a fact.

How the SNP intend to get round the unanimity roadblock has never been explained. All we have been offered is sidesteps and bodyswerves. Anything to avoid addressing the central problem for Scotland of this unanimity requirement.

Incidentally, for the sake of accuracy, I said that “during the interim period”, while Scotland was still part of the UK negotiations with the EU would have to be conducted by the member state on behalf of Scotland.

For obvious reasons, there is no EU mechanism that enables regions of member states to negotiate directly with the EU. If there were I am sure the Scottish government would have been doing so for years.

Of course, once Scotland was independent it would be free to deal directly with the EU.

The point is, however, largely academic. It is very unlikely that any agreement would be reached among the 28 member states (that infernal unanimity requirement again) for negotiations to begin with Scotland before Scotland was independent.

There would be no quick fix as fondly propagated by the SNP in the White Paper. The process would be long and messy with a very uncertain outcome.

Peter Heald,


Scots in mood to leave UK

I’ve just spent a week in Scotland and the mood of the people suggests to me they have had enough of the political establishment in London and are going to leave the UK.

I feel a lot like the unwilling party to a divorce.

The chances of the English regions asserting any kind of control over London based politicians and making them see sense are pretty slim without the Scots.

I was involved in Hartlepool politics when the town elected the local football club mascot as their first directly elected Mayor. A town of 92,000 people made a gigantic gesture of defiance to all Westminster politicians and the London political scene, which has so entirely failed them. Scots are about to do the same I think.

Robert the Bruce owned Hartlepool - well the island of Hart by the Pool as it was then. Isn’t his brother buried in St Hilda’s Abbey in Hartlepool? David Baliol his rival for the Scottish crown owned Barnard Castle in County Durham.

If Scots go it alone, shouldn’t we in Cumberland Westmoreland Durham and Northumberland be allowed to choose if we go with them and where the border is drawn?

Nigel F. Boddy,

Fife Road, Darlington.

gagging law

MP’s vote is disappointing

It really is disappointing Michael Moore MP ignored his constituents, as well as the many charities and campaigning groups that have spoken out against the gagging law. He also rejected the Lord’s positive amendments.

The gagging law introduces new rules that would prevent non politicians from speaking up on the big issues of the day.

Loads of charities and campaign groups have spoken up about it – not just 38 Degrees – from the Royal British Legion to Oxfam, to the RSPB.

Despite how vocal civil society has been about the problems with this law, the government has been trying to rush it through without proper scrutiny.

Groups that normally wouldn’t agree have been uniting to speak out against this law. Politics is too important to leave to political parties, and in a healthy democracy everyone should be able to express their views.

James Stewart,

Lanton, Jedburgh.

WW1 book

Grey family is sought

I am currently writing a book about how the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed and the surrounding district were affected before, during and immediately after World War 1.

During my research I have come across many poems written by Thomas Grey, a resident of Tweedmouth.

Many of his poems touch on the mood of the population during the war, and also reflect on the tragedy suffered by many Berwick families.

Thomas Grey had three sons serving during the war. James Grey served in the Royal Navy, whilst Arthur Grey and Thomas Grey served in the Army.

I would like to make contact, and if possible meet with any descendents of Thomas Grey who may still reside in the Berwick area with the aim of finding out more about his life and what prompted him to become such a prolific poet.

I would be grateful for any assistance your readers can provide and I can be contacted at the address below, tel. 07769 847937, or e-mail harry-scott@hotmail.co.uk.

Harry Scott,

2 Roberts Court, Galashiels,


Railway work ruins roads

I hope First Minister Alex Salmond, in his wisdom to build a railway from Edinburgh to Galashiels, put a clause in hauliers’ contracts that they would repair the A68 and A7 road surfaces they have ruined – or will that be taxpayers’ money again.

D. Wood,



Quiz Night support

Coldstream Riders Association would like to express their thanks to all who turned out to support our pub quiz on Sunday, February 2, at the Fisherman’s Arms Birgham.

We had a record 14 teams and with the great quizmaster Iain Turnbull in charge of the questions this ensured everyone had a great night.

We raised just over £220 on the night.

Thanks once again, your support is greatly appreciated.

Dawn Clough,



Association dinner

The Berwick Branch of the KOSB Association will host an All Ranks Dinner at the Marshall Meadows Hotel, Berwick-Upon-Tweed, at 7pm for 7.30pm, on Friday, March 14.

The cost for the evening is £25, which includes a reception drink, a three-course dinner, a raffle and some excellent entertainment.

The dress code for the evening is suits or jacket and flannels for gentlemen, and cocktail dresses, or similar, for the ladies.

Anyone who wishes to attend should write to me at 25 Croft Road, Kelso TD5 7EP, and give the names of those attending, along with a cheque for payment, made payable to ‘Berwick Branch KOSB Association’ which I should receive by Saturday, March 1.

This, as stated, is open to all ranks and their wives/partners and all Borderers are urged to come along and enjoy a truly great evening.

Many people have said that there should be something else in the Regimental Calendar and this is it! I hope to hear from you soon.

W, Heaney,

Croft Road, Kelso.