What a joy it was to read the letters page in last week’s Southern, in particular the contribution from Jamie Armstrong.
I must, however, first of all congratulate S. Mitchell on his good and accurate memory as I did indeed apply for planning consent for a turbine four or five years ago, though I regret that my resolve wilted in the face of the reports and studies required by the planning system and I took the proposal no further.
At that time I had access to a couple of second-hand small commercial turbines scrapped out of northern California due to termination of the subsidy and intended to erect one and use the other for spares.
I was not really interested in any feed-in tariff, but wanted to see if the average output would run the house, but I must assure you that I had no intention in severing my relationship with ScottishPower. It is true that the proposed turbine would have required a foundation, but this would have been quite small as I intended to stabilise the lattice tower with guy wires.
I am not against turbines for environmental reasons as turbines are ephemeral in any event but because, though they may be an adjunct to a rational generation system, the stated policy of the Scottish Government will use up all the money in a system that will not deliver the power needs of Scotland.
In this area somehow, minds tend to become soft. We are seriously told that carbon capture is the next big thing or that we can store energy by pumping air into the ground. The efficiency of a compressed air system is abysmal and carbon capture uses so much energy that you have to build the station a third bigger to allow for it. As the realistic amount of carbon captured is about 70 per cent, we are in a territory of diminishing returns that no good engineer should enter.
Lorne Anton chastises the Borders Party for not supporting half-measures, but would he support an Edinburgh tram that got no further than Gogarburn, or for that matter a Channel Tunnel which terminated 10 miles out?
The basic and essential transport system in the UK is the road network which should be so arranged that it is not a death trap. The current A7 is a death trap.
Railways can, in some circumstances, complement the road network, but the initial and running costs must be watched like a hawk or you will have another Scottish Parliament. As I understand it, no contractor has yet promised to build the proposed railway for any finite sum of money, so I hardly know what we are talking about.
The road from Carlisle to Edinburgh is so bad that lorries go to Aberdeen via Glasgow, which can not be said to be efficient. When the Preston/Carlisle link was built it was started at several points simultaneously and brought to completion in record time. We need the same thing from Carlisle to Edinburgh.
If the railway is built, the price of a ticket will preclude its use to all but the few and it will go the way of the old Waverley line under Beeching.
Jamie Armstrong correctly articulates the case against separation that we are currently at one with the English and to change this makes no sense. He hints that the purpose of government is to make new laws, new restrictions when what we need is new freedom to promote enterprise.
I would take the argument that Jamie adduces a stage further, to get rid of the Scottish Parliament and its cargo of sweetie wives and return to Westminster where at least they are satiated with making laws and might leave us alone so we may get on with returning Scotland to a golden age not seen for 100 years.