Letters: Waterfront and docks area needs a new Leith of life

I cannot understand the tunnel vision approach developers seem to have for Leith. Surely businesses dependent on attracting people to the area would gain from marketing the area as a tourist attraction and put some finance into the restoration of historical buildings that are empty and deteriorating.

Leith Theatre and the Customs House are prime examples. Was a bid put in to Historic Scotland for some funding to assist in potential regeneration?

Is Leith destined to become the designated part of the city for social housing concentration? The council boasts, at a current house building site on Lindsay Road, that it is “developing communities”, but what kind of communities?

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Unattractive high-rise flats with limited leisure facilities or green space? Social housing cheaply built with nothing for potential residents/tenants to aspire to – are we developing future areas of deprivation?

With the potential the waterfront and Western Harbour areas have could this not be achieved with some imaginative architecture and design to inspire and bring tourists to enjoy the rich benefits associated with Leith’s history, bringing jobs and income to the area that could work together with proposed industrial developments by Forth Ports Authority – it works in other cities and countries. Dundee, for example, is fast overtaking Edinburgh with waterfront developments and aspirational architectural design.

Jennifer Marlborough, Commercial Street, Leith

Saying just what we want to hear

SO nobody in our esteemed council seems to want the tram shop in Shandwick Place (News, April 27) but no doubt it will go ahead anyway.

It’s yet another example of council ineptitude and arrogance. Come polling day we should remember that the only councillors we can actually judge and measure are those who are currently in power.

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All the others (ie those hoping to be elected) tend to say what we want to hear and then concentrate on their own careers and well-being once elected.

Last time around many voters believed the SNP would actually cancel the trams.

Norrie Henderson, Corstorphine

Efficiency of wind turbines limited

SUSAN Morrison is mistaken about the energy efficiency of wind turbines, which she thinks will improve, as that of steam engines did (‘I’m pouring my energy into backing green power plans’, News, April 27).

The reference to “efficiency” is actually to the turbines’ load factor, a measure of the amount of energy produced as a proportion of the amount produced if the turbines operated at their maximum output 24/7.

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But, because of the variability of wind, they will never achieve their theoretical maximum output. Consequently the load factor of wind turbines is stuck at about 20-25 per cent and will never change.

Susan should also note that the efficiency of steam engines is always limited by the thermodynamics of the steam cycle: it imposes a limit on efficiency. She should also note that all electricity derived from renewables is vastly more expensive than that from conventional thermal generation, partly because of the low load factor and partly because stand-by thermal generation is needed for when there is little or no generation from the turbines.

That is why it has had to be (unwillingly) subsidised by consumers.

Also, since the back-up has to come from burning fossil fuels, there is no saving in overall greenhouse gas emissions – in fact they probably increase as result of the deployment of wind farms.

Steuart Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh

Don’t give them the opportunity

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I LOVED the juxtaposition of the photographs of Steve “I’m ready to take charge of the council” Cardownie and the little green alien on your front page (News, April 27).

If he wants to see the real aliens, all Steve has to do is look around him in the council chamber. Anyone who votes for a current councillor, including deputy leader Cardownie, can truly be thought to be (as we used to say in the 60s) “spaced out”. Don’t give them another chance.

David Fiddimore, Calton Road, Edinburgh