I noted with interest your recent article, Council’s solar panel plan to raise money, News, September 21, in which the Council Leader alluded to the possibility of PV panels being fixed to the roofs of council buildings and also the current reporting of the UK Labour party’s desire to fix energy market pricing.
These both relate to possible future actions that may affect electricity production and the cost to Edinburgh citizens. However what needs to be highlighted is the current action being taken by the Capital Coalition in relation to electricity production from renewable sources.
At its recent meeting the Economy Committee unanimously agreed that the council should move forward on the principle of large scale photovoltaic facilities, more commonly known as solar farms. These solar farms can be constructed on council land, such as landfill sites which currently cannot be used for other activities and built at no capital cost to the council. Indeed, putting these solar farms on such land would generate an income from both lease and business rate payments, helping to offset current budget pressures.
Significant levels of electricity can be produced from this renewable source and the Economy Committee was clear in its view that a proportion of this should be used to target fuel poverty in those city households most in need of help. As the scale and number of these solar farms increase, the ability to assist more citizens will also increase.
The Economy Committee tasked officers to identify suitable sites and report back to its next meeting, raising the real possibility that the first of these solar farms could commence construction early in 2014.
Councillor Frank Ross, Convener of Economy Committee
Emergency service cuts could come at high price
I wrote to the News some months ago expressing my concerns about the Scottish Government’s policy on centralising certain public services – police, fire, etc.
It now looks like the chickens are coming home to roost.
Recently a senior police officer said that Police Scotland would need more funding to maintain the current level of officers, despite the fact that we were told the new services would save money.
In addition, it would appear that Police Scotland puts a higher priority on raiding saunas than on policing our communities.
We now learn that the new Fire Service is considering reducing the number of control centres from the present eight to either two or three, and is also looking to close the Fire Service training centre in Gullane.
It may be that centralising these services will save money in the longer term but at what cost?
If this is how the SNP government runs these crucial services now, then I dread to think how things will be run if Scotland should ever vote for independence.
Frank Russell, Broomhouse Crescent, Edinburgh
Tweeting councillors need to get help
Councillors using twitter is classic attention-seeking behaviour (News, September 26).
They should be given professional help.
Paul Nolan, Niddrie Marischal Crescent, Edinburgh
Austerity is ruining social protection
I agree with Max Cruickshank (Letters, September 21), social care for our vulnerable citizens should not be a profit making ruse for large corporations. I wonder if the Lib Dems’ new found passion for universal services down south (Scotsman, English school kids to get free school meals, September 18) will prompt them to make any serious manifesto commitments in advance of Scotland’s referendum?
The SNP continues its charm offensive with the “free personal care for elderly” (Scotsman, SNP pick Shirley-Anne Somerville for Dunfermline, September 17), however, when we realise that “personal care” is actually a euphemism for “basic hygiene”, and is often done with haste by low-paid private contractors, the picture seems less rosy.
The austerity drive by the Westminster Government is ruining the social protections which have been gained through generations of struggle, and worst of all is the shameful silence of the Labour Party in Scotland.
Gary McLelland, Duke Wynd, Glasgow
Use census figures to support Scots speakers
It is good to see figures being produced for the first time from the 2011 census on the number of those speaking Scots (27th September). Now that we know that 1.54 million people speak the language and where they are located we can begin to plan how to support communities of Scots speakers and encourage these communities to value their language and pass it on to future generations.
After centuries of neglect it is time for action to be taken to safeguard the language for the future and we are calling on the Scottish Government to draw up a Charter for Scots outlining how the language and its dialects can be supported more effectively.
Children are the key to the future health of the language and we’d like to see new efforts being made to encourage innovative projects aimed at creating a sense of pride and self-worth amongst Scots speaking school pupils.
For centuries the Scots language has been at the heart of our culture, it has helped define us as people and has been one of the key outlets through which we have expressed ourselves artistically and creatively.
Scotland without the Scots language would be a pale imitation of itself and we must do everything we can to encourage and promote it.
Michael Hance, director, Scots Language Centre, A K Bell Library, Perth