Letters to the editor – September 10, 2021

Volunteers sought for national beach-clean

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More Commercial Trees

Sir

I refer to the letter from Mick Bottomley of Forestry and Land Scotland in the August 27 edition of the Advertiser, where he puts forward the case for more commercial trees.

I am very respectful of the timber industry’s important place in the Scottish economy and understand the need to pursue and develop such commercial opportunities in this area for landowners/businesses.

To balance the growth of the industry of trees for timber I would, however, hope that in turn greater respect is paid to the impact on the landscape; the way the land is left after felling and the way the logs are transported.

To take the A83 for example, a road that is promoted for tourism by government marketing initiatives and signs indicating a scenic route (indeed leading to the new Kintyre 66).

Along the way, you pass and see great swathes of Sitka Spruce or, worse, ugly and bleak areas of devastation where they have been felled.

This is while you avoid oncoming log lorries, at times along a very narrow road or, indeed, get stuck behind one.

I would suggest that if we need more commercial trees (and whether these should be Sitka Spruce is not a subject for here), we also need greater sensitivity shown and responsibility taken regarding the locations used, the management of the areas and transport.

A start would be the edging of the road and forests with mixed deciduous trees so screening areas, particularly when felled,  and to take as much of the transport of logs off lorries and onto the water.

Such steps would show some respect to the tourist (who also plays an important part in the Scottish economy) and to the local population.

Name and address supplied

Call for fair pay to combat health care shortages

Sir

New NHS Scotland workforce statistics published on September 7 show nursing and midwifery vacancies have been at a record high since March, with more than 4,800 posts unfilled.

The statistics show that, as of June 2021, 4,845 nursing and midwifery posts were vacant, this represents 7.1% of all posts.

They also show that in the previous quarter (March 2021), 4,494 (6.6%) posts were unfilled. The previous record number of vacancies had been 4,013 (6.3%), recorded in June 2019.

There are particular challenges in a number of health boards and in some nursing areas.

NHS Highland, NHS Shetland and NHS Dumfries and Galloway all have more than one in 10 nursing and midwifery posts vacant.

Across Scotland, 386 (or 9.3%) of district nursing posts are vacant, while there are 874 mental health nursing posts unfilled, a record high which represents a vacancy rate of 8.4%.

RCN Scotland is calling for the Scottish Government to focus on the workforce challenges facing health and care services and respond to these record high vacancy rates by agreeing to fair pay for nursing staff and implementation of safe staffing legislation.

RCN Scotland members rejected the Scottish Government’s pay offer for 2021/22 on the basis that it did not go far enough to address nursing recruitment and retention. In June 2020, RCN Scotland formally notified the Scottish Government that it was in a trade dispute over pay.

As well as the campaign for fair pay, RCN Scotland is calling for the implementation of the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act.

This legislation will place a duty on NHS and social care providers to make sure that, at all times, there are suitably qualified and competent staff working in the right numbers.

Yours,

RCN Scotland.

Beach clean appeal

Sir,

The Marine Conservation Society’s annual Great British Beach Clean will be running from September 17 to 26 .

Volunteers taking part will help the charity to gather data which will contribute to a global database as part of the International Coastal Cleanup.

To sign up for a beach clean, or set up your own, simply visit the Marine Conservation Society’s website: https://www.mcsuk.org/what-you-can-do/join-a-beach-clean/great-british-beach-clean-events/

For those not able to get to the coast, there’s still plenty of ways to take part.

The Source to Sea Litter Quest is an inland version of the charity’s survey form, highlighting some of the most common litter items found on the coast.

To get involved, individuals can use the survey form and see if they can spot the litter items in their local area.

For more information on taking part inland, visit the charity’s website.

Victoria Riglen, Marine Conservation Society