Letters to the editor

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Great economic growth
Sir,
I am just back from a busy couple of days fighting hard for my local ward and the rest of Argyll and Bute.

I have no doubt that business in my council ward and across Argyll and Bute is growing well. For our local infrastructure to support this great economic growth we will need to see our money from the Scottish Government increase, not decrease.

The SNP likes to forget that the union dividend they are so hell bent on getting rid of is worth up to £1,750 for each person in Scotland. That very surplus that is sent north of the border by our UK government is just not properly getting through to our rural constituencies once placed in the hands of the incompetent Scottish Government.

Sadly, with the SNP being both hopelessly urban and separation-obsessed, I fear that we in rural Argyll will continue to be sidelined.
Regardless of this I will as always relentlessly push for my council ward’s voice to be heard and for our infrastructure to be improved.

Cllr Alastair Redman,
Isle of Islay

Not a good tourism advert
Sir,
As a keen walker and conservationist I have travelled from Edinburgh to Argyll and the Crinan Canal area for more than 20 years to enjoy the wonderful scenery and fresh air.

A favourite walk was from the much-photographed and televised Bellanoch Bridge to Crinan.

Recently, though, this hamlet has lost its appeal since it is more of a scrapyard, with what can only be described as abandoned vehicles in the very limited parking spaces, together with speeding vehicles through the village.
ne would have thought that the local authorities, canal management and police would be aware of the problems and take action.
If it is tourism you want, then this situation is not a very good advert.

J Anderson,
Costorphine,
Edinburgh

Marine life ‘will be harmed’
Sir,
Recent advice by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) was that the siting of a proposed industrial-sized fish farm in the Sound of Jura would significantly harm marine features of global importance.

The proposal, submitted by Kames Fish Farming Ltd in December 2016, indicated that the fish farm would deposit thousands of tonnes of untreated faeces and organic waste directly into the recently established Marine Protected Area (MPA).

SNH, the statutory public authority, requested further sea bed surveys to discover whether susceptible marine wildlife was present in the affected area.

This underwater video survey was carried out in August 2017 and showed the proposed farm site was home to abundant populations of the very rare northern sea fan (Swiftia pallidia) which is a priority marine feature in the MPA. It is known that they are highly sensitive to the deposition of organic waste associated with fish farms.

SNH examined the video footage and concluded that ‘the area of highest quality northern sea fan and sponge communities habitat is restricted to within very close proximity to the proposed fish farm. It is likely that this restricted area of high quality habitat will be lost or significantly degraded as a result of this proposal. This colony is the most southerly knownrecord of this biotope that SNH are aware of.’

In its formal advice to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, SNH advised ‘that the proposed development will result in a significant impact on the national status of the northern sea fan and sponge communities priority marine feature and is therefore contrary to Policy Gen 9(b) of the National Marine Plan which states that ‘development and use of the marine environment must not result in significant impact on the national status of priority marine features’.

This is great news.

We knew the Sound of Jura was a special place, and now we have confirmation that a globally important priority marine species thrives here. Surely SEPA will not grant a licence to discharge pollution on top of this amazing colony of sea fans.

Friends of the
Sound of Jura

Get funds to front line

Sir,

I take issue with your headline in the November 14 edition of the Argyllshire Advertiser ‘The doctor will see you now – but let’s get it right’.

The fact of the matter is that the doctor will not see you now. In fact it is also a case of the doctor might not even speak to you right now.

You might speak to a nurse because the doctor is not on duty, or the doctor is on duty but is covering A&E and can’t speak to you – or there are not enough doctors on duty at any one time.

It is hard to see how the practice business development manager considers a public survey of just 52 people out of 7,800 to be in any way relevant as a good survey.

And Mr Whiston says that ‘we fully expect this model and type of service to expand and to be rolled out across Argyll and Bute’.

All this without proper consultation and feedback.

The fact is that both of the above positions are basically non-essential, and if they were axed tomorrow then we could afford to employ an extra GP immediately from the salaries saved. That would be a better strategic plan for our local area, without all the bureaucratic baggage and waffle.

Where are the statistics to back all this nonsense up? I feel the public are being duped here and getting a very poor front line service, with a great deal of funds going to unnecessary middle and upper management. They must look at all the driftwood in the NHS administration and get the funding into treating the people who pay for it in the first place.

A GP practice should never be operated as a business to be run by GPs if they are working for the NHS. Either they practice in the NHS or they practice privately – one or the other.

Name and address supplied

Anyone know about Grinlaw’s Coaches?
Sir,
My recent visit to the Mid Argyll Show in August with my team of horses along with three other enthusiasts has rekindled a desire to investigate the activities of the late Andrew Grinlaw of Ardrishaig, who operated in the district with his horses and charabancs up until the mid 1950s.

I do remember the sight of his horses and carriage as they travelled along the loch side to Lochgilphead and onward to Kilmory Castle to take parties of visitors on an excursion.

Having passed through the White Gates en route to the castle it was not unusual for unintended passengers to clamber on to the rear steps of the charabanc!

The preferred route for the visitors was to Crinan or Tayvallich.

If any reader has photographs of the horses and charabancs, or any other memorabilia, I would be pleased to hear from them.

I may add that the visit in August was, for me, a memorable occasion and a reminder of childhood days spent in Lochgilphead.

Ewan MacInnes,
Maryculter Carriage
Driving Centre.