Letters: Green goals tricky to hit as posts have been moved

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The news that the UK government has moved the goalposts on the matter of the feed-in tariffs payable for green electricity generated from domestic solar photovoltaic systems (PVs) has left me incredulous.

By reducing the tariffs by 50 per cent effective from December 12, the burgeoning industry that has sprung up in the response to a deliberately stimulated demand has had the rug pulled from under it.

Many new businesses will now go under, thus losing many jobs. Until now, it was clearly set out by the government that the tariffs would be gradually reduced from April next year, allowing the demand to adjust as the price of photovoltaic panels was predicted to come down. In other words, it was designed to be a carefully considered plan that would create an industry that would have long-term sustainability.

I am one of a group of 12 householders in the village where I live that was part-way through commissioning PVs. I believed it was the right thing to do in the fight to reduce our exceptionally high carbon footprint created by heating and lighting hard-to-heat stone cottages. It is essential to reduce such costs if older housing is to be sustainable and affordable to ordinary people.

It takes time to secure a “green” loan and by the time this is possible, the halved tariffs means that it would take up to 20 years to pay back capital costs. Not all of us have that much time to play with.

Additionally, a lot of old housing stock is in conservation areas and so potentially needs planning permission, again requiring time that rules those households out of court.

For those who are concerned about the economy, about job creation and about the environment, it is hard to see the logic of this move.

Ettie Spencer, Stenton, Dunbar, East Lothian

Who would buy our costly power?

NATIONAL Grid managers have warned that there is no guarantee that renewable power generated in a future independent Scotland would be bought by the rest of the UK.

Never mind the future scenario of an independent Scotland, what about now?

The National Grid is required to source electricity in the most economic and efficient manner.

The “green crusade” is already estimated to have added £200 to household energy bills and a lot more to bills businesses have to endure.

Why would foreign countries or England and Wales want to buy expensive wind energy from Scotland when they can buy cheap nuclear, via the interconnector from France?

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Workers have bin making an effort

MARK Turley should have checked his facts before dismissing the refuse workers’ commitment to take the service forward (News, November 11).

The workers’ statement says: “The in-house option could herald the start of a more positive future for Environmental Services. We understand the council has plans for new types of dispute resolution such as mediation and we welcome that. We understand the council is moving towards more positive relationships based on mutual respect and we welcome that. We recognise the need for new work systems such as new refuse routes. We accept that and suggest that workforce participation in route design may help to maximise efficiency. We understand the in-house plans provide for investment in training/learning and renovation of depots. We welcome that.”

Someone in Waverley Court needs to bury the hatchet.

Peter Hunter, Unison

Critic thinks he knows best of all

IS your critic of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (News, November 11) seriously suggesting that we cut the Stephen Sondheim songs from a Stephen Sondheim musical, and that we rewrite the script to match the talents of our cast?

Surely it’s his duty to know the performing licence for a musical play such as this clearly states: “You are not permitted to make any changes to the music, lyrics or dialogue of the play, including the interpolation of new material and/or the exclusion of existing material.”

Alan Borthwick, Director