Letters – week 09

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Lynx re-introduction

Our story on the Lynx UK Trust’s announcement that it is considering Kintyre as one of three Scottish sites for the potential release of Eurasian lynx prompted a number of comments on our Facebook page. A selection of these are published below.

Pete Creech: ‘I’m afraid wildcats may need to be another re-introduction from Europe as it appears they are effectively extinct. We finished them off far more efficiently than any minor competition for prey between themselves and lynx could achieve.’

Paul Paterson: ‘There are no wild, free living or breeding medium and big cats within mainland UK. As for re-wilding, there are many animal, insect, plant and tree taxon currently being re-introduced back into the UK and that has a far greater impact and benefit to our land than any such fallacy as lynx or wolf or bear.’

Richard Allan Pannell: ‘My vote is ‘yes’ as there is plenty of wild food for them and enough room to roam wild without encroaching into developed areas.’

Calum Selfridge: ‘Great idea if they build a massive fence to keep them in.’

Response to ACHA

Sir,

I would like to respond to the Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) chief executive’s letter which appeared in the February 1 issue of the Argyllshire Advertiser.

In my original letter I pointed out a number of my constituents have complained to me directly about the lack of ACHA housing in Tarbert and that there is shocking overcrowding in some existing ACHA housing stock. What is telling is that ACHA in its response did not give an exact number of planned houses in the village of Tarbert which is only four.

While these four houses are a start, there will need to be a lot more before Tarbert’s housing problems are mitigated.

Bringing attention to the lack of housing in certain parts of my council ward and overcrowding of said housing is my job and I will not renege on my duty.

It would be better for ACHA to act on concerns brought up in the local press than to constantly take a defensive stance to criticism.

Councillor Alasdair Redman, Islay.

Rest and be Thankful

Sir,

In reply to David Bridge’s letter in the Argyllshire Advertiser, Friday February 22, people must wonder why the Norwegians have a road network that services their country so well and why Norway is so much better off than Scotland in many ways when the two countries have so much in common.

We both discovered oil at the same time so why do the Norwegians have the Government Pension Fund Global, also known as the Oil Fund, worth more than US $1 trillion in assets – in May 2018 it was worth about $195,000 per Norwegian citizen – and the UK has no equivalent?

Is the Scottish Government responsible for this? The simple answer is no because Scotland is not an independent country and when the Norwegians set up its fund in 1990, Scotland didn’t even have a devolved administration.

Even now, with its own government, Scotland does not have full control of all the fiscal levers that would allow us to make these decisions or the full borrowing powers that would allow us to build the network we require.

I highly recommend a viewing of the Lesley Riddoch and Phantom Power film Norway: The Twin Nation. This will explain the disparities between our nations and answer some frequently asked questions.

In 2008 a report was published as part of the Scottish Road Network Landslides Study and as a result a shallow landslide barrier was designed and manufactured to match the assessed risk and detailed requirements at the Rest and be Thankful. This was based on research and development carried out in Switzerland.

To quote the publication New Civil Engineer 29 April 2010: ‘It is very pleasing to see the research and development that I have been so closely involved in Switzerland now being used to the benefit of the Scottish road user,’ says Geobrugg engineer Corinna Wendeler, who visited the site after the 2009 landslip.

‘This project will be the first in the British Isles to use a dedicated flexible debris flow barrier and is particularly interesting in that it will also have the latest flexible landslide barrier – a world first to my knowledge that the two types have been installed on the same site.’

Where is the evidence that a different government at Holyrood, following the same expert advice, would have managed this situation better in the ensuing years?

Clearly, the problems at the Rest and be Thankful are many and complex and placing all the blame on the SNP for the on-going situation is simplistic.

Perhaps Mr Bridge could share with us the professional geological and engineering qualifications upon which he bases his knowledge and his suggestions for funding alternative solutions in post Brexit Scotland.

Elaine Mackenzie, Tarbert.