Don’t be blown away by Birneyknowe ‘benefits’

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IT’S no coincidence that half of what the developer wanting 14 turbines at Birneyknowe said (Hawick News, October 28) was about a “community benefits fund”.

Wind farm fans know they’ve failed to prove wind power will make any significant reduction in global warming (Oxford University’s Professor of Energy Policy – for one – has shown why).

They also know a 90 per cent fossil fuel or nuclear back-up will be needed for the National Grid’s wind-power capacity (the man who runs the British operations of E.ON, Europe’s biggest wind-power producer, has told the government so).

This is not “climate change denial” but practical engineering.

So all wind farm fans are left with are SNP promises of “jobs for Scotland” and developers’ promises of “ subsidy money in your pocket” for shareholders, landowners and community councils. And the rest of us energy customers are left to pay for this, seeing the major tourism asset of our Border hills industrialised for no real benefit, and our more energy-dependent industries becoming less competitive.

It’s no coincidence either that the first community council to be targeted is Hawick – urbanites like wind farms more than rural folk who must live with them.

So let’s hope Hawick Community Councillors keep their wits about them and use a long spoon to sup with Banks Renewables when it comes offering its so-called “community benefits”. Wind power won’t do what needs to be done.

ALAN BAILEY Denholm

AT LAST year’s Holyrood parliamentary elections, the SNP won a massive majority, meaning any policy they wish to introduce into Scotland will be introduced with little or no opposition. Is that good or bad?

For the last few years the SNP has frozen Council Tax, thus denying local authorities much-needed revenue to maintain essential services.

There have been financial cuts across the board, with the Westminster Treasury cutting Scotland’s block grant, and the SNP cutting its financial allocation to local authorities. It seems to me financial insanity that local authorities cannot raise Council Tax by a few pence which, in turn, would bring tens of thousands of pounds into their coffers.

With increased revenue coming in, Scottish Borders Council could then improve its roads and pathways, fulfil its education of our children with the worry of financial restraints, while the social work department would be able to make our elderly and infirm “happer with their lot”. Many other council functions could benefit from a Council Tax rise, repeat, not by much.

The SNP should, I believe, unfreeze the Council Tax and allow local authorities the right to maintain and improve their services to all people who live in Scotland.

JAMIE BATTEN

ON BEHALF of Combat Stress, the military charity, may I thank the many people who made our charity concert such a roaring success. We had a full house last Friday night in the town hall, and special thanks to the community council, Graham Ford, performers, supporters and the public who gave their all for this worthy cause. We are still counting!

JW

PSA Male Voice Choir