Letters to the editor – week 34

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Fish farm expansion

Sir,

The decision of Argyll and Bute Council to allow expansion of Poll na Gille and BDNC Loch Shuna is reprehensible.

These sites have been named as being the first and third worst respectively of all the salmon farms in Scotland on an index of welfare and health measures, including premature death rates, sea lice numbers, escapes, breaches of biomass limits and seal shooting (Sunday Herald, August 5, 2018).

Despite the above, there was a decision made by Argyll and Bute planning department that Environmental Impact Assessments were not required for the expansion of either of these fish farms.

The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform committee report on the environmental impacts of salmon farming stated, in a letter dated March 5, 2018, to the Rural Economy and Connectivity committee that: ‘The committee is supportive of aquaculture, but further development and expansion must be on the basis of a precautionary approach and must be based on resolving the environmental problems.  The status quo is not an option.’

It is apparent that Argyll and Bute Council does not intend to adopt the precautionary approach recommended, but continues to agree to unsustainable expansion, even at locations which are in breach of the current standards required.

Christine Richards, Friends of the Sound of Jura

Climb for meningitis

Sir,

We would like to invite your more adventurous readers to join us on our Lake District challenge next spring and help save lives and rebuild futures shattered by meningitis.

They will conquer eight peaks, all above 3,000 feet, over two days. It will require energy, commitment and a positive attitude, but will reward those taking part with breath-taking views, wrapped up in a serious adventure and a weekend they’ll never forget – there’s a great team spirit amongst those taking part and many come away from the challenge having made lifelong friends.

Every step they take will also help us to fight meningitis and move us closer to our vision of a future where no one in the UK dies from this devastating disease and everyone affected gets the support they need.

Registration is just £49, with a fundraising pledge of £500. Accommodation, food, travel and the support of a qualified and experienced mountain leader and safety team are all included, and I’ll be there to support you throughout your fundraising journey. It takes place between Thursday May 2 and Sunday May 5 next year.

Find out more at www.MeningitisNow.org or by emailing me at michaelai@meningitisnow.org .

Michaela Ifill, Meningitis Now

Have a coffee morning

Sir,

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event is fast approaching and we would love for readers in Argyll and Bute to get involved.

Having become a national institution since it launched in 1990, it has raised millions to help change the lives of people living with cancer, including here in Argyll and Bute.

Last year some 200,000 people said that they were planning on taking part in homes, workplaces and schools across the country – but the idea remains as simple as ever: come together as a community in support of people living with cancer and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Cancer can affect every aspect of a person’s life, from their day-to-day living and relationships to their finances and mental health. Macmillan is there to help people with cancer live life as fully as they can.

Offering a broad range of cancer information and support services – including a free support line and a community of over 7,700 healthcare professionals – demand for Macmillan’s services is constantly growing, but we rely on the generosity of the public to provide this support.

Macmillan’s Coffee Morning takes place on Friday September 28 – but people can host whenever they want. Whoever they invite and whatever they serve, people are highly encouraged to host a Macmillan Coffee Morning in a way that suits them.

If people can’t bake, that doesn’t have to stop them. Throughout September, headline partner M&S will be selling a selection of limited edition coffee morning products – including lots of cakes, biscuits and two exclusive mugs – with 10 per cent of proceeds going to Macmillan.

Homes, workplaces and communities from the Shetland Islands to Land’s End will be hosting coffee mornings this year; readers in Argyll and Bute can find events nearby using the interactive map on the Coffee Morning website www.macmillan.org.uk/coffee.

Thank you to everyone who gets involved.

Joanna Lumley, actress and Macmillan supporter

Independence facts

Sir,

The SNP announced it is starting up a new ‘fact-checking’ service to monitor the accuracy of research and political statements.

Many people in Scotland will be wondering if the SNP will be fact-checking the cost of its new independence blueprint. Analysis has continually shown that an independent Scotland would mean cuts to public spending and increased taxes.

The SNP now has to answer serious questions about the real cost of independence as the latest GERS figures will once again show how much we benefit from being part of the UK. It’s time for the separatists to be honest and accept the facts.

With Labour embroiled in a new scandal almost every second day and the LibDems disappearing into irrelevance it’s clear that only Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives can stand up to Nicola Sturgeon’s IndyRef2 obsession.

Cllr Alastair Redman, Isle of Islay