Letters to the Editor – 4.2.21

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Have a care for livestock

Could we please make folk aware that enjoying the snow and sledging has a more serious side.

In one of our fields where there are young sheep folk assumed the field was empty and enjoyed some sledging time. There were sheep in the field which were panicked and scattered into the wood.

After a couple of hours searching yesterday we found one young sheep dead. Please do not assume there are no stock in fields even if at first you cannot see them. It is always best to check at a farm where it is safe to sledge – please do this.
Dee and Fergus Lyon, Fernoch Farm, Lochgilphead

A choice needs to be made

We can all see the benefit of a medical delivery service to the nearby Isle of Mull, and every pilot would love to have their own dedicated airspace.

This is not the first time conflicts in the operation of different types of aircraft have occurred and it has taken decades to evolve the rules that allow them all to operate together safely, ask any pilot.

Drone operators, with low cost aircraft flown by low cost personnel, want freedom of the air without observing the safety considerations and are using the medical need as a Trojan Horse to get regulatory approval. Ultimately this could mean Amazon could get your makeup order to you a few hours quicker, but Jet2 would have to fit serious, electronically-guided, firepower to clear the way on your Mediterranean holiday.

Purple Airways, used for royal flights and things like this temporary controlled airspace, are a nightmare for pilots as the news frequently doesn’t reach pilots in time, especially in the Highlands where mobile phone and internet signals are less reliable.

Among  many others, the biggest risks to these courier drones are privately operated drones flown blind with low piloting skills, and the air ambulance which operates similar routes at similar altitudes. The citizens of Mull should consider which is more important: getting off the island to hospital in an emergency or getting medical supplies onto the island.

The simple solution is for the drone operators to train as pilots and observe visual flight rules like everyone else. By all means publish the routes used on aeronautical maps for safety’s sake.

The operators might complain about cost, but why have governments bothered to spend years enacting ever more capable air navigation orders if we’re not prepared to pay the price of safety.

Brian R. Philpotts, Kilninver

Deer safety

Ian Fergusson, head of Wildlife Management for Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is right to alert motorists to deer on the roads at this time of the year but it is nothing less than shameful that he should use the opportunity to further FLS’s relentless annihilation policy by misquoting the Deer Working Group report which, in fact, establishes that hill deer numbers have declined in the last 20 years. (The Oban Times and Lochaber Times, 28 January 2021).

If there are deer on the road it isn’t because they want to be there. They have been driven on to them through his own organisation approving and encouraging applications to plant trees on their traditional wintering ground. A very good example of this is to be found in Morvern near the head of Glen Geal, adjacent to the A884 where, for centuries, deer have crossed between three different properties in search of food and shelter. Now, because of an extensive new woodland scheme to the south of the road, a corridor has been created in which many deer are being trapped, killed or maimed which never happened in that area before.

Locals, alive to the potential dangers and distress to both deer and the travelling public, pleaded for the fence to be moved further away but were told by FLS’s Highland and Islands woodland officer that would not be necessary as the landowner’s representative had said, bewilderingly, thatall deer in the vicinity would be shot.

Mr Fergusson and FLS are able to reduce road accidents involving deer. They should do so by refusing to grant fund any proposed woodland scheme within at least half a mile of a public road.
Iain Thornber, Morvern.