Letters to the editor

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Working for Argyll


I read Councillor Redman’s latest contribution to the letters page in the August 18 edition of the Argyllshire Advertiser.

As usual he spends his time criticising the Scottish Government rather than spending time carrying out the duties for which he is paid.

He has been unable to attend the last council meeting, area committee, business day, two important Trust Housing meetings (on Islay), Islay Community Council or a meeting to discuss the condition of roads on Jura.

I appreciate Councillor Redman has another full-time job, but video conferencing is available to accommodate attendance at meetings.

It will be interesting to see if, sometime soon, Councillor Redman starts working for Argyll and Bute rather than his political party.

Councillor Anne Horn

Bullying and warmongering


The new UK aircraft carrier that is being boasted of has cost, at £3.2 billion, four times as much as it cost to build Glasgow’s new hospital and three times as much as the new Queensferry crossing of the Forth.

Aircraft carriers, by their nature provide, no defence for the country and are only utilised to carry planes nearer to some other area to be threatened or attacked.

This  – and the other one we apparently are building at the same cost – represents an obscene amount of money spent in the UK trotting along behind the US at the behest of the US with aircraft dependent on the US and with their only possible use in the pursuit of US bullying and warmongering around the world. And they make very big targets as well.

In Scotland we are expected to applaud this obscene waste of money on the grounds that it has provided jobs. But we could for instance have built as many homes as we needed to completely solve our housing problem while providing many more jobs with that money or even built a Scottish naval presence to patrol Scottish waters in the same way as Norway does with over 40 naval defence vessels in its waters, all built in Norwegian yards.

There is no way any sensible small country would even countenance this sort of imperial imbecility and the sooner we are out of bonkers UK the better.

Dave McEwan Hill, Sandbank, Argyll

Fighting bowel cancer


Every year, 3,700 people in Scotland are diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Luckily, when my mum was diagnosed with the disease it was spotted early when survival rates are higher and she has now recovered. Physical activity plays an important part in stacking the odds against a bowel cancer diagnosis and as a keen walker myself, I’m delighted to support Bowel Cancer UK’s Walk Together.

Walk Together is a sponsored five mile walk to bring people together so that they can show their support for those undergoing treatment, remember loved ones we have lost and raise funds to help stop bowel cancer. It’s for people of all ages and abilities.

Sign up to Walk Together in Edinburgh on Saturday September 23, or to receive a fundraising pack with everything you need to hold your own memorable walk, visit bowelcanceruk.org.uk/walktogether

Julia Bradbury, TV presenter and Bowel Cancer UK patron

Butterfly is back


A declining butterfly has been discovered in Scotland for the first time in more than a century.

Borders butterfly recorder Iain Cowe spotted the white-letter hairstreak feeding in a field edge near Paxton, Berwickshire, in the Scottish Borders on August 9.

Butterfly Conservation Scotland is now working to find out if the butterfly has established a breeding colony in the area.

Iain’s encounter was only the third time the butterfly has been seen on Scotland with the last sighting taking place in 1884.

The white-letter hairstreak suffered its worst year on record in 2016 according to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Survey, and although widespread across England and Wales, has suffered a 72 per cent decline over the last decade.

The butterfly’s caterpillars feed on elm and the white-letter hairstreak declined dramatically in the 1970s as a result of Dutch Elm disease.

The butterfly, which has a distinctive ‘W’ marking on the underside of its wing, has seen its population slowly spread north in recent year, most likely as a result of the warming climate

There are only two previous records of the butterfly in Scotland, one in 1859 in Dumfries and the other in 1884 in Dunoon.

If a breeding colony is confirmed it would take the total number of resident butterflies in Scotland up to 34.

We don’t have many butterfly species in Scotland so one more is very nice to have.

Although Dutch Elm disease occurs in Scotland, we still have a good amount of Wych Elm, so hopefully it will prosper and spread, although its arrival here is almost certainly due to the warming climate.

Any sightings should be reported to the local butterfly recorder, who in Argyll is Dr Scott Shanks – email butterflyrecorder@southwestscotland-butterflies.org.uk

Paul Kirkland, director, Butterfly Conservation Scotland

Happy picnic memories


Environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful is calling for schools, businesses and communities from across Argyll and Bute to register to take part in the 2017 One Planet Picnic celebrations – an initiative which is set to get people from all over Scotland discovering the great tastes of seasonal food and local harvests.

One Planet Picnic, which runs annually, encourages everyone to hold their own picnic in the local park, on the beach or even in the school grounds or office meeting room – where they can taste and share sustainable, local and ethically produced food – raising awareness of where food comes from and how it is produced.

By planning a picnic people will be able to spend fun and quality time together while learning about the fantastic range of food produced on their doorstep.

The only thing that should be left behind after a picnic is happy memories so we are also encouraging everyone to reduce food waste and packaging too – and remember a One Planet Picnic is good for you, and good for the planet.

Eve Keepax, food and environment officer, Keep Scotland Beautiful