Letters to the Editor – 25.2.21

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Concern over new licence fees for B&Bs and self-catering

I note, with interest, that the Oban and Lorn Tourist Association are opposed to this new regime. Many of us who are private landlords and who also enjoy renting self-catering accommodation for holidays in Scotland, believe that the Scottish Government has dragged its heels for too long over this important issue.

For more than 10 years private landlords have required to be registered and their properties checked annually for gas safety. Electrical safety checks are also mandatory every five years.

These regulations are to ensure the safety of those living inside rented properties.
Why then has the safety of self-catering, holiday chalets and, more recently, Airbnb been of less importance? Having stayed in a beautiful self-catering flat, just before lockdown, I noticed it did not even have a smoke alarm!

The disturbance to neighbours from ‘party houses and flats’ (Oban Times 11.2.21), is an increasing nuisance to those living close to properties being let in an unregulated manner.

Regulation of short-term letting is long overdue. Once implemented it will raise the safety profile of all holiday accommodation.
D. I. Henderson, Connel

Ganavan deeds

Does any reader have a copy of the title transfer of land by Dunstaffnage Estates to the old County Council, or the name and recording date of the deed? If so, please email me at watsonjohng@hotmail.com. We need to preserve, protect and promote our green open space at Ganavan.
John Watson, chairman Friends of Ganavan.

Sea farm expansion

The SEPA CAR licence for Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) expansion of Dunstaffnage fish farm permits the use of four chemicals to deal with sea lice: Emamectin Benzoate (Slice, in feed), Deltamethrin, Azamethiphos (Salmosan), and Cypermethrin. SSF says that it has not used Salmosan in recent years at Dunstaffnage, but claims it is the best approach.

Its competitors MOWI says in all its recent farm applications that the first two of these medicines are no longer effective. This raises an obvious question as to why SSF have included them in the licence application. It also makes one wonder how long it will be before the sea lice have developed immunity to Salmosan as well. It is bound to happen – it’s a bit like the South African variant of Covid. There are likely to be increased sea lice burdens caused by greater biomass. Medicines will be used.

In addition, there will be extensive use of Thermolicing and Hydrolicing, increasingly the preferred treatments by MOWI and included in SSF plans. These inhumane, cruel methods are not things we would like to have going on just round the corner from Ganavan beach.

Despite SSF having a good track record for disease and deaths, these will happen increasingly with bigger farms and warming seas. There is no benefit to the local community in allowing this expansion – only downsides.
Olga Hammock, Connel.

Rest and Be Thankful

The Scottish Government’s long-awaited Infrastructure Investment Plan is a big disappointment for Argyll and Bute.

The Rest and Be Thankful only gets one small mention – it is to be ‘enhanced’ but there are no details and no cash allocated.
In contrast, roads in other parts of Scotland have detailed works planned and money set aside to pay for them.

After 14 years of failed attempts at a solution and six months after a major landslide, Argyll deserves better than a vague election promise to ‘enhance’ the road. This so-called plan is a shocking neglect of Argyll and Bute.
Councillor Alan Reid, Cowal.