LETTERS: Scotland is losing out in power battle down south

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Scottish Power’s plans to close Longannet and abandon the proposed gas fired power station at Cockenzie is a huge blow to Scotland.

The company rightly blames the National Grid transmission charges of £40 million a year for Longannet and Cockenzie ouput, which mainly goes to the central belt of Scotland, whereas a power station in Cornwall which is much further from large centres of population receives a subsidy of £5.80 per kilowatt for connecting to the grid.

The SNP has raised this with successive UK governments over the past ten years but neither Labour nor Tories have listened and apart from planning issues the Scottish government has no powers over energy.

UK government is going to build very expensive nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point in Somerset at a cost of £45 billion and have guaranteed EDF and China that electricity wholesale prices will triple in ten years time to meet the cost of building it.

Yet UK government has refused to pay £1 billion to set up a world leading carbon capture plant in Scotland which was the first area to submit detailed plans but is now tipped to go to the North of England.

The National Grid’s charges, which even after proposed changes next year mean Scotland’s producers still pay a premium, are crazy, particularly as the UK as a whole is facing energy shortfalls and Scotland is a net exporter of electricity, producing 12% of UK’s needs.

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

Finances show time is up for House of Lords

The recent report by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has further reinforced the need to scrap the House of Lords and replace it with a fully elected and accountable second chamber.

According to the ERS, in the 2010-15 Parliament a shocking £360,000 was claimed by Peers in years they failed to vote once. In the last Parliamentary session alone, over £100,000 was claimed by Peers who did not vote at all. And to show how imbalanced the make-up of the Lords is, 44% list their main addresses in London and the South East and over a third (34%) previously worked in politics, with just 1% coming from manual backgrounds.

At the same time the Prime Minister’s plans for an additional 50 Peers to prop up his government will cost at least £1.3m per year, at a time of supposed austerity and little public confidence in an institution which is a hopeless waste of public cash.

Instead of adding more Tory donors, cronies and defeated politicians to the public payroll, what needs to happen is the abolition of the House of Lords. An unelected second chamber – which has already bloated to the second largest in the world – has absolutely no place in a supposed modern democracy.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

New ‘Yes’ stickers are arriving rather early

Why do new Yes stickers keep appearing on lamp-posts and generally defacing street furniture across Edinburgh’s streets?

One must presume they’re there to commemorate the forthcoming anniversary of the SNP’s referendum loss on September 18.

Since Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon last year repeatedly promised us there wouldn’t be another referendum ‘for a generation or even a lifetime’, these sticker-fiends are in for the long haul, aren’t they?

Martin Redfern, Royal Circus, Edinburgh

Tram legal fees better spent on an extension

I am appalled to hear that Edinburgh council is to throw yet more money at lawyers in order to provide free legal representation for former staff and councillors at the tram inquiry.

For the £2m involved, the tram line could have been extended to at least Picardy Place if not all the way to Elm Row!

John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace,

Edinburgh

No point taking shelter in new bus shelters

During what has been one of the wettest summers ever, Edinburgh council decided to replace lots of perfectly serviceable bus shelters.

Unfortunately most shelters have still not yet been erected, so when you are waiting for your bus, if it rains, you get soaked.

One shelter that has been replaced in Lothian Road, outside the Usher Hall, is now so small that only about eight people can stand in it and as it has only three sides, the rain gets in and you get a soaking.

Alun Thomas, Sinclair Close, Edinburgh

Warning signs for a waste of public money

for the first time in several years I was driving back to Fife from a day out in Edinburgh and it would appear that just recently, as part of the new road system which is being built for the Made In China Bridge, two new overhead signage gantries have been built.

And at the base of each gantry someone had placed large factory- made yellow road signs with large black letters stating ‘OVERHEAD GANTRY NOT IN USE’.

Although l never had the benefit of a university education, I was able to work that one out myself. However, in this SNP land where money is in abundance in regards to such matters, surely a bit more taxpayers’ money could have been wasted on the signs with the same deatail in Gaelic .

Colin Cookson, Stenton, Glenrothes