LETTERS: Waste incineration plants are the best way forward

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Iam glad to see that Midlothian Council has given the go-ahead for an incineration plant (‘£144m recycling plant gets council green light’, News, September 16).

I hope that every council in Scotland will soon do the same. Powderhall waste transfer station in Edinburgh was initially an incinerator about 40 years ago.

At the moment many councils have a three- or four-bin collection system and the bins are collected fortnightly, which has angered many people.

I have been campaigning for years for a one-bin collection system and for the waste collected to be incinerated.

Under an incineration system all household waste can be collected on a weekly cycle and burned to produce energy. Most of our waste is plastic, which is oil-based and has a high calorific value and can certainly be used for producing energy.

In fact, all household materials can be incinerated and at the end of the process the only materials which will be left will be glass, metals and ash.

The glass and the metals can be separated and then recycled separately and the ash can be used for backfill in landscape or road projects or perhaps used in fertilisers for fields.

I hope this project now goes ahead and provides new jobs in the years ahead.

Anyone with environmental concerns should not be concerned and I can safely say that these type of plants are far better managed and have far better filtration systems than the original Powderhall plant would have had 40 years ago.

It seems to be a win-win situation and there will be very little going to landfill if this project goes ahead and perhaps we will even be able to remove stuff which has previously been placed in landfill.

Mr Alastair Macintyre, Webster Place, Rosyth, Fife

EICC surroundings need major upgrade

It is always good to see that the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is contributing so much to the local economy. Now we learn that the adjacent Atria office development and EICC extension is to be put up for sale.

This is all good news. But, there is a ‘but’. The public realm surrounding these buildings and general neighbourhood is in a poor state. The roads and pavements need to be resurfaced and replaced. But it goes further. There is nothing appealing about the area, nothing outwith the offices and EICC that would make you spend time there.

An international space it is most definitely not. It is clearly down to the council to invest in the area, having already reaped rewards from it.

Let’s make a start by having a competition to find a practice competent in major public realm spaces to design the area to an international standard.

Graham Davidson, Bankhead, Edinburgh

Time to cut our losses on wave energy plans

Many readers will have seen the news on the recent wave energy conference in Inverness. What was said during the interviews was obviously designed to attract yet more public money.

Onshore wind power attracts a subsidy of 0.9 ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates) but wave energy can attract an eye-watering five ROCs, almost six times as much!

A mass energy system is only practicable if the amount of energy needed to deploy and maintain it is hugely outweighed by the amount of energy we get back. Common sense tells me that this is not being achieved with wave energy, otherwise developers would be queuing up to deploy systems to reap those generous 
subsidies.

The famous Portuguese pilot scheme at Agucadoura was supposed to be followed by a full-scale wave farm, but in 2009 this was quietly dropped, partly due to technical reasons.

Wave devices need to operate in one of the most hostile environments on Earth, in a highly corrosive liquid which often moves very violently.

Over £100 million of public and private money has gone into wave energy firms in Scotland, all for no discernible public benefit. It’s time to cut our losses.

Geoff Moore, Braeface Park, Alness

Cyclist registration could help cut crime

Police are hunting for a cyclist after a schoolboy was hit on the head with a bike lock as he walked along Comely Bank Road in Edinburgh, (News, 
September 17).

The police are now having to attempt to trace this man.

If it had been a vehicle driver, then the man would have been in custody within hours.

Cyclists regularly ignore the Highway Code and endanger the public knowing that they cannot be identified. This has got to change.

It calls into question the reluctance of the authorities to introduce a registration number for cyclists.

There should be a national registration scheme, paid for by the cyclist, as there is for vehicles and this would include third party insurance.

The number can be prominently displayed on a hi-viz vest.

At present cyclists do not pay to use the roads or the numerous cycle lanes and other cycling facilities which has cost taxpayers in excess of £60 million and counting.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

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