Letters to the editor – week 8

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Tall masts in nature reserves


I have serious concerns about the erection of tall masts by telecoms company EE in Argyll.

In Tayvallich, the works are causing extensive damage to the local environment with trees uprooted, mud slurry and flooding and litter over the area.

As this is on a national nature reserve, it should not be allowed to go ahead but I understand that EE has numerous applications in Argyll and the Isles.

Nick MacIneskar
by email

Look at predator impact first


Your article headlined Big predators for the Small Isles? (The Argyllshire Advertiser, Friday February 16) was interesting and would be marvellous if successful.

We must not forget, however, that many predators can swim. In modern times, regrettably, it may not be practical or wise and lead to sad solutions in the future.

I point out to you the situation in respect of Norway. Two years ago, a guide there told me that in the summer sheep are moved to the high pastures but have to be accompanied by a shepherd because of attacks by predators. This increases the cost. Some wolves are shot, some are trapped and moved.

Last year my son, who lives in Sweden, sent me details of a news item. The Norwegian government had decided to cull the wolves by two thirds, reducing their numbers from more than 60 to 20-plus. I have no idea how this is progressing but I believe it was a sad decision.

Those advocating the re-introduction of certain species should first look at the impact they have in modern countries where they still exist, and make an honest and practical comparison before their introduction in Scotland.

Tom Cullen, Dunskeig, Ardfern

Desperate need for roads spend


We have a desperate need for infrastructure spending across Kintyre and the Islands, along with the rest of Argyll and Bute.

All of the numerous requests for roads, drains, pavements and street lighting repairs I have been receiving from across my council ward have been issued directly to Jim Smith, the council’s head of roads and amenity services.

While speaking to Mr Smith, I pointed out the long wait we have all been having to put up with before any even rudimentary road repairs are completed.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Islay

The value of volunteering


This week is Student Volunteering Week. As many young people strive to get ahead in the world of work, I’d like to tell your readers how volunteering can be a great way to inspire development and provide an insight into your chosen career.

In recent years we have conducted research of our student volunteers and found evidence of some remarkable development in the young people that we welcome, both personally and professionally.

Of students we asked, 93 per cent said that their volunteering experience improved their self confidence, with 95 per cent saying it made them more tolerant towards others.

It is also clear that pledging time to charity can often inspire young people to increase their participation in wider society too. 79 per cent said that their time as a volunteer inspired them to take a more active part in their communities.

Revitalise is a charity providing respite holidays for disabled people and carers from all across the UK.

We are also blessed with the largest residential volunteering programme of any UK charity, welcoming thousands of vibrant volunteers from around the world every year. In many ways, our volunteers are our magic ingredient, helping to create the lively, social atmosphere that so many of our guests know and love.

Stephanie Stone, Revitalise, London

Importance of charity work


The news of the abuse of vulnerable women and children by charity workers is deeply disturbing and shocking.

If it wasn’t for the work done by the vast majority of people employed by these agencies, however, many people – especially children – would be receiving no support in disaster zones or war torn countries across the world.

These agencies are, of course, funded by the taxpayer with the UK government spending £13 billion – 0.7 per cent of GDP – on overseas aid. The danger, of course, is that arising from these incidents not only do people limit their charity giving, but so, too, does the UK government.

It is only right that those charities who fail to co-operate with the UK government over safeguarding lose money, but it would be a travesty and a gross dereliction of duty if the Tory government, under pressure from its right wing fraternity, reduced funding.

We have already had the sight of MP for the 18th century and Tory leadership hopeful, Jacob Rees-Mogg handing in a ‘charity begins at home’ petition to Downing Street, demanding that foreign aid be slashed.

It would be an utter disgrace if the right wing, already buoyed by its success in delivering tax breaks for the very wealthy, were to succeed and we were to reduce our aid budget, abandoning our duty to help the poorest and most vulnerable.

What is almost certain is that if this were to prove successful, it will be the poorer people closer to home that will be next in seeing their support cut.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh