Letters to the editor – 19.09.19

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More is needed from SNH to protect habitats

I read in The Oban Times that Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is funding £1.8 million worth of projects to improve natural habitats – an admirable gesture – as part of its work to ‘improve natural habitats, safeguard plant and animal species, and improve biodiversity’.

In a separate article, SNH is quoted as ‘protecting and enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem health’.

How much better it would be if it put more effort at no cost into protecting our seas from devastation, by vigorously opposing plans for new or enlarged fish farms. Its efforts in the case of the recent application in the Sound of Gigha were feeble at best.

What action will it take in the face of multiple applications currently in the pipeline around the whole of the Argyll and Bute coastline? Probably it will support them without due consideration of their cumulative effect, as will Argyll and Bute Council, despite the fact that they will surely damage
ecosystems and endanger biodiversity.

All this in a week when SNH’s failure to stand up to Donald Trump’s golf courses near Aberdeen seems likely to lead to the complete abandonment of an entire SSSI – with SNH recommending withdrawal of protection.

Scotland deserves better protection of its natural heritage than SNH seem willing to give.

Dennis Archer,

Gallanach Road, Oban.

Islanders have been abandoned in the face of greed

A recent report from Skye says folks were captive in their homes for lengthy period due to the single-track roads in one village being full of cars and campervans, and most with no driver to be seen.

We as islanders have been sold out by various organisations, including the tourist board and those who rent out holiday homes, who are obsessed with greed. Islanders are now having to move at odd times like 7am for shopping before the onslaught starts again.

Peaceful islanders only want the freedom of coming and going from their own homes at their own chosen time but we cannot do that any more as we have been rudely invaded.

Aonghas Eoghainn Mhoir.

What has happened to the swans in Oban?

I have been a visitor to Oban over a long period of time and in years gone by used to see the swans in the harbour. However, I have not seen them for a long time.

I have asked about this but no one seems to know where they have gone. Do any Oban Times readers have any information on this?

Mrs K Douthwaite, by email.

Our communities are not being well-served

It is hard to disagree with Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara when he calls Boris Johnson’s parliamentary shenanigans ‘outrageous’. Each day this Prime Minister looks ever more like ‘Wreck it Ralph’ than someone with a real plan. The hard right Tory government at Westminster doesn’t give a hoot for ordinary people, whether they live on the West Coast of Scotland or in the middle of England.

The recent drama at Westminster may have made good telly and copy for the newspapers but let’s not fall into the trap that all this parliamentary manoeuvring is making a difference to many people’s lives. I really hope over the next few weeks that our representatives can focus on the real political issues, using their position to shift power from those in high places to those who don’t have a lot of money, those who are working hard just to get by.

What really matters is making sure that people can get a job and earn a decent wage, have a roof over their head, are looked after when times get hard, or they’re ill, or get old, that our schools, public services, and transport links are properly funded and organised.

There’s a need for our representatives to keep this in mind, whether they’re in Westminster, Holyrood, or Argyll and Bute Council chamber. I get the feeling that the needs of our communities are not being well-served by any level of government.

Polly Jones,

Treetops, Garelochhead.

More funding is needed to finance road repairs

I was happy to be back on Islay again recently to check up on progress being made by our hard-working roads and streetlighting teams in improving our island’s infrastructure.

The long overdue pavement and streetlighting work is being welcomed by residents in Port Charlotte especially, considering how long it has been since the last time any pavement work has been done in the village.

In Portnahaven, there continue to be justifiable complaints from residents on King Street about the glare from the streetlighting on Shore Street. This could be rectified by directing the lights downwards on to the road, where they should be pointing.

In Bowmore, the rough and crumbling pavements are rapidly becoming a series of trip hazards. As part of my role on the council administration, I have been pressing for more funding to address this longstanding matter.

My constituents on Mansefield Road in Port Ellen are still pressing for a proper resurfacing job to be done as the pothole repairs do not last. This small road has a large flow of heavy vehicles so it is only fair that it is given proper attention.

Our roads department’s hands are tied by the funding it receives and our council’s block grant is regularly cut by the Scottish Government.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and Islands ward.