Your picture of the Week

Megget dam, with St Marys Loch in the background
Megget dam, with St Marys Loch in the background

Ewan Dickson’s view of Megget dam, with St Mary’s Loch in the background.

Please email photographic contributions, with a brief caption, to southern-letters@jpress.co.uk

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

SCIENCE BEHIND THEORY IS SETTLED

Once again, the climate-change deniers are peddling their tired message via the letters pages of the Southern Reporter (July 20).

Whilst I accept that Clark Cross and Geoff Moore must find themselves at a very loose end since the dissolution of the Scottish Flat Earth Society (and if it still exists, I offer my sincerest apologies), I feel a dose of actual facts is called for.

The USA per capita greenhouse-gas emission (2013) was the CO2 equivalent of 19.9 metric tonnes, compared with 8.5 metric tonnes for China. The average US citizen’s contribution to global warming is more than double that of the average citizen of China. The per capita figure for India is 2.3 tonnes, an eighth of the US figure.

Now, more than ever, the world needs the US to lead by example. President Donald Trump’s misguided decision to leave the Paris accord puts us all at risk in the near future. By ‘us’ I mean humanity, and by ‘near’ I mean the future of our children and grand-children.

The science behind the theory of global warming as caused by man-made carbon-based emissions is settled, relatively straight-forward, and supported by more than 98% of scientists working in the relevant disciplines.

In contrast, the world’s climate – and it is helpful if one imagines this to include the oceans as well as the atmosphere – is incredibly complicated and unpredictable. The addition of vast amounts of solar energy to the atmosphere due to the insulating properties of our emissions can only result in a more dynamic atmospheric and oceanic weather system, with more-or-less drastic consequences for life on Earth.

Why does the Arctic sea-ice matter? Because it reflects solar energy, whereas the open ocean absorbs it.

Why are the first three predictions quoted by Mr Moore not wrong? If one reads them carefully it becomes apparent that it is his interpretation of them that is at fault. Because something hasn’t happened today is not proof it won’t happen tomorrow.

The quotation from a scientist in 1970 simply pre-dates relevant climate science.

Mr Moore’s inverted commas around the word ‘scientist’ imply he does not trust science – the next time he is unwell will he consult a ‘science’-based ‘doctor’ or ‘surgeon’, or will he just pay a visit to his local homeopath or witch doctor?

Apart from the basics, science could be said to be always ‘wrong’. As more knowledge is gained, by peer-reviewed, controlled study, scientific knowledge accumulates and improves, and will continue so to do for the foreseeable future. Science works on the basis of continuous improvement.Acceptance of this reality gives no good reason to cast doubt on all scientists.

I suggest Messrs Cross and Moore examine the basic physics behind the theory of global warming, and then make a further contribution to the Southern explaining why 98% of scientists are wrong.

Christopher Green

Eckford

CANINE CONTROVERSY

It was interesting to read about Paul Lawrie and Fiona McCallum being refused planning permission for a dog day-care centre on their seven-acre farmland (Southern, July 27).

In February 2016, the occupants of Bankend House, Jedburgh, built kennels which were across the Jed directly opposite my house and residential properties in Bongate Gardens.

The ensuing noise from the large amount of barking dogs both day and night was horrendous. Many telephone and written complaints were made to Scottish Borders Council, not only by myself, but by other residents also.

The council visited the property at the end of July 2016 and a representative from the council’s environmental health department informed me that he had recommended that they should apply for a licence and when that application was received, the matter would go to the planning department, when I and other residents would have a chance to raise our objections.

We heard nothing and the noise still continued when, in frustration in March 2017, I appealed to my local MP for assistance in this matter.

The ensuing letter he received from Brian Frater, services director, regulation services, Scottish Borders Council, stated that the several dogs the kennels had (at times I counted 20) were rescue dogs (funnily, all of obscure pedigrees) of which I have a list of pedigree puppies bred from them. He stated that the kennels were only actively breeding from a few French bulldogs, despite the list of puppies I had, and it was decided that the level of breeding did not require planning permission.

A licence was issued in January 2017 and I was told no planning permission was required, therefore the situation continues.

I wish Paul Lawrie and Fiona McCallum luck in their dealings with the council.

Grace Sadler

Oakvale Bongate

Jedburgh

OCTOBER PILGRIMAGE

For a number of years I have led groups on pilgrimages to Normandy and the landing beaches on the special anniversaries of D-Day.

The visits were moving occasions, but it was always busy and crowded.

Between October 12 and 16, I will be leading a coach party from Scotland to Normandy at a much quieter time of the year when it will be possible to pause to reflect. There will be time to have an opportunity to visit a relative’s grave, as well as to see the landing beaches and important areas of the battlefield.

We still have a few places left. If any of your readers would like more details, I can be contacted by phone on 01368 866826 and 07710 270640, or via email at johndavidraw@gmail.com.

They can also write to me at: Beachcote, Golf Course Road, Dunbar, East Lothian, EH42 1LS.

David Raw

BIRD ‘ATTACKS’ EXAGGERATED

During the summer period, there are always alarmist stories of gulls “attacking” people – which inevitably lead to calls to cull them.

The holiday period coincides with the birds’ breeding season and, being such fierce defenders of their offspring, they may occasionally become aggressive in order to see off any perceived threat to their nest and children. These “attacks” are usually exaggerated by the media and are very rare indeed.

To cull wild animals for protecting their babies is nothing short of ludicrous.

Despite this, if gulls are causing issues, there are a number of effective, humane methods of deterrence that can be used to discourage birds from nesting on flat roofs or chimneys, or from rummaging in our rubbish. Animal Aid has free advice sheets that detail the number of humane, non-lethal methods of deterrence available.

In any case, we should show tolerance to these birds, not least because they are just being good parents, and six of the seven gull species are in decline.

To order a factsheet, please email: info@animalaid.org.uk

Tod Bradbury

(campaigner)

Animal Aid

Tonbridge

Kent

roads

CYCLISTS’ POTHOLE OBSTACLE COURSE

I would like to draw attention to the state of our roads in the Borders which have been very much talked about in the press recently.

The reason I bring this to the attention of those in charge of our roads is that last month a group of Hawick cyclists, who were out on their regular weekly cycle run, had what could have been a very serious, if not fatal, incident.

On their return journey when leaving Denholm, the rider at the front had to swerve to avoid yet again another pothole.

His swerve caused the riders behind to also swerve and, unfortunately, a touch of wheels occurred, and the two riders fell heavily.

One rider (who is in his seventies) sustained a broken hand and severe grazing from the road, and another rider is now sporting a broken collar bone and various other injuries.

This accident would not have occurred if our roads were maintained as they should be. Motorists have a large problem with this situation and car tyres are quite wide, so you can imagine what it is like to hit a pothole with a 22-millimetre road bike tyre.

I hope Scottish Borders Council roads department takes note of this letter because there is a fatality waiting to happen.

Hawick Cycling Club encourage people get out on bikes to promote a healthy lifestyle and the last thing we want is to put anyone in danger, but the roads in the Borders are out of our control and need attention now.

Thomas Scott (Tosh)

Hawick Cycling Club

MEDIA WITH AN AXE TO GRIND

I do not envy doctors and nurses working in Scotland’s NHS, doing their best to keep us all patched up in often difficult circumstances.

The NHS is a football for insensitive politicians, and subject to constant criticism from sections of the print and broadcast media with an axe to grind. In spite of this negativity, it must be a satisfaction that complaints rarely come from the thousands of patients seen every day.

More than 94% of A&E patients are repaired, admitted or discharged within the four-hour target, one of the best results anywhere. In fact, so effective is the NHS in Scotland that the Nuffield Trust (www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk ) reported that the rest of the UK should follow the Scottish model.

We should all be very grateful that the government north of the border is determined to keep our NHS in the public domain and free at all times, rather than taxpayers’ money being used to pay shareholders’ dividends in the privatised parts of the NHS in England.

Celebrate how lucky we are to have this service always available, and keep your criticism for the truly awful policies which are being inflicted on Britain.

Richard Walthew

Whitsome Crofts

Duns

FEARING IRA RETALIATION

IRA bomb maker Michael Hayes has apologised via the BBC for 21 innocent people being killed in the Birmingham pub attack in 1974.

His pathetic excuses and refusal to admit his full role have sickened the relatives of those who lost their lives.

Despite MPs demanding his extradition from Dublin, no police action has been taken (for fears of IRA retaliation), while the witch hunt of British troops involved in The Troubles continues.

Perhaps the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Irelan (and £1bn of recent bribe money from the UK Conservatives) will bring murderous republicans to justice. Don’t hold your breath.

Paul Singleton

Main Street

Gordon

TARTAN AND TWEED EXHIBITION

St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kelso, would like to thank all those who visited the Tartan and Tweed Exhibition which proved to be a very successful event during the town’s Civic Week.

We raised the magnificent sum of £800 and thank everyone for their generosity.

Preb. Bob King

(rector, St Andrew’s)

ARTHRITIS RESEARCH BOOST

We would like to thank all those generous people who visited the Tesco store in Galashiels recently and donated to the collection for Arthritis Research UK.

As a result, we raised £777.43 for research work into the 200 different forms of arthritis. This is a record sum and will be very much welcomed by the charity.

Joanna Smith

(chairman, Melrose branch, Arthritis Research UK)

GRATEFUL CHIEF FOOT STEWARD

I would like to thank the following people and organisations for making my job as Kelso Civic Week chief foot steward much easier – Lloyd Landrover Kelso for the use of its vehicle, Lloyds Tractors Kelso for the use of its quad bike, the two lads for parking cars at The Haugh, Yetholm, also Chris and Jamie for all their help, and all others who assisted me.

This was greatly appreciated.

Jock Darling

TREATED LIKE RUBBISH BY SBC

I read with interest the article in last week’s Southern entitled “Call to stop the loch mess monsters”, regarding the ruination of our beauty spots by fly-tipping.

We have had a skip in our car park, for our shop rubbish, and one morning we noticed a baby’s activity swing and other baby chairs and toys had been put in it.

I asked all the staff if they had dumped it, and as it was not them, we checked our CCTV. At 5.40 the previous night, a woman pulled up in a grey Hyundai car, backed up to the skip and proceeded to dump her rubbish.

We phoned the police, who gave us the Dumb Dumpers’ number, who said it was Scottish Borders Council’s problem and that they would forward the details to the local authority. After two days we phoned the council, who had received nothing from Dumb Dumpers, and said it was a police matter.

So far there have been four calls to police and a visit to the station, with our CCTV recording, and nine calls to the council. Police say it is SBC’s own legislation, and asked us to tell the council to phone them, and they would quote the legislation to SBC. Needless to say, the council refused.

We are going round and round in circles. SBC is not interested, very unhelpful and the trade waste woman was downright rude.

The articles that the woman dumped should have gone to a charity shop, as there was nothing wrong with them, and someone would have been glad of them.

We have her registration number, and a good idea where she lives, so if she would like to come to the shop she can collect her goods and dispose of them elsewhere.

C. Hutchison (director)

Hutchisons Carpets

Hall Street

Galashiels

BBC MAN’S HUNT FOR HEIRLOOMS

I’m a producer with BBC2’s The Repair Shop and on the look-out for family and community heirlooms that have special significance during Christmas time – and have fallen into disrepair – for our festive special.

The Repair Shop series follows a team of passionate and skilled crafts people who restore damaged objects of sentimental value.

The experts are drawn from different disciplines such as furniture repairers, metal workers, mechanics, ceramicists, clock makers, picture conservationists, and up-cyclers, restorers and fabricators of every ilk.

If you have a precious object you’d like repaired, please email repair@ricochet.co.uk or call 01273 224829.

Conor O’Donovan

NEWSREADERS’ RENUMERATION

I am spectacularly underconcerned at the level of the BBC’s remuneration of popular entertainers whose programmes are no doubt marketed by the corporation at a profit.

What is hard to stomach is the proportion of my licence fee being spent on mere newsreaders when surely such “talent” can be sourced cheaply from regional programmes. Even better, with Brexit in prospect, the BBC should look to recruit more broadcasters from our former colonies in the West Indies where wages may be low, but the standards of literacy and spoken language seem infinitely superior to those currently obtaining in this benighted land.

John Eoin Douglas

Spey Terrace

Edinburgh

RECIPES TO HELP WORKING ANIMALS

I am writing to invite your readers to host a World Tea Party this summer in support of working animal charity SPANA.

Putting on a Moroccan, Indian, Chinese, or another world-themed party, offers everyone the chance to get together with friends and try out tasty new recipes, while also raising much-needed funds to help the world’s most hardworking animals.

In the poorest countries worldwide, working animals transport goods to markets, children to schools, and water and supplies to remote communities – supporting the livelihoods of a billion people. SPANA’s work providing free veterinary treatment for these animals is so vital, helping to ensure that they can lead a life free from suffering.

There are plenty of exciting recipes to try out, including new delicious treats provided by chefs Ken Hom and Kiran Jethwa. I hope your readers will get behind this campaign and give them a go.

The SPANA World Tea Party fundraising pack, full of free recipes, is available from www.spana.org/teaparty or by calling 020 7831 3999.

Jessie Hill

(SPANA World Tea Party

hostess)

COST OF LISTENING TO GREEN BRIGADE

The UK Government is stopping the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040, and switching to electric vehicles.

But where will the additional electricity come from?

Electric vehicles will place unprecedented strain on the National Grid and peak demand for electricity would add 30 gigawatts to the current peak of 61.

It would require another 10,000 wind turbines or 9.6 Hinkley nuclear power stations, costing £20bn each and taking 20 years per plant to build. Creating charging points for electric vehicles will also cost billions. And the loss of tax from fuel duty and vehicle emissions tax will be many billions of pounds.

Estimates reveal that this electric vehicle madness will cost over £200bn.

Will income tax be raised to unacceptable levels, or is road charging being considered?

Politicians listen to the green brigade when they should be listening to engineers and scientists.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world runs on petrol and diesel.

Clark Cross

Linlithgow