Carrick Gazette- Letters Page

elections

Don’t throw away election material

With three months to go until the general election, the campaign trail is hotting up and election literature is being produced thick and fast. We’d like to ask your readers not to throw away anything they receive, but to send it to us for an archive which is helping to capture Britain’s political history.

Here at the University of Bristol’s Special Collections Library, we hold an extensive archive of over 30,000 election addresses for every British general election since 1892. We believe it’s the biggest of its kind in the UK, with literature from all the prominent politicians of the 20th Century.

We’re looking for election addresses, manifestos, and related publicity from any constituency and party to help researchers in the future get a clear picture of how the general election of 2015 was fought, capturing which issues were of interest to the electorate and candidates.

With the public’s assistance, we hope to collect a broad range of publicity for the upcoming general election on 7 May.

We cover all 650 seats in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales so need help from far and wide. If you feel able to help, please do donate any election material you come across rather than throwing it away.

Please send election addresses, manifestos, and related publicity from any constituency and party to:

Special Collections

Arts and Social Sciences Library

University of Bristol

Tyndall Avenue

Bristol

BS8 1TJ

Hannah Lowery

Archivist in the Special Collections Library at the University of Bristol

Fracking

Bogus populism

The energy minister has announced that there is to be a “moratorium on fracking” in Scotland, and that the “public are to be consulted”. In March 2014, when Dumfries & Galloway Council asked for a “moratorium on wind farms” as they were so overwhelmed with applications, the same energy minister advised that he had no power to delay or postpone applications, and the council’s request was summarily kicked into touch. He had no power then, but he seems to have found power now, yet mysteriously the law hasn’t changed.

In addition, he says, the “public must be consulted”. But the public already has the right to be consulted about any application for planning permission, and to have its say, and to have its opinion, both lay and expert, fully taken into account.

Bogus populism, or pandering to the greenatic fringe? I think we should be told.

Graham Lang (chair)

Scotland Against Spin

Cupar

windfarms

Government ignores our views

Few people dispute the necessity of first reducing our energy use, and then substituting the use of fossil fuels with renewable energy alternatives, to help address the challenge of climate change. However, as we have seen, there is public disquiet about proliferation of energy developments in Scotland’s wild land areas.

It is vital that any decisions on the location of these developments rely on the fair and impartial assessment of all pertinent information and points of view. The people of Scotland depend on their Government to ensure this happens. Unfortunately, we do not believe that the Scottish Government is doing this in a consistent manner with wind farm developments.

In the face of evidence and objections from many different organisations, communities and individuals, the Scottish Government has approved proposals to site colossal wind farms inland, at Stronelairg in the Monadhliath Mountains, and offshore, straddling the Firths of the Forth and Tay. In both cases the Scottish Government chose to ignore the views of its own expert advisors from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Their advice made it absolutely clear that the impact from these turbines will be very significant, and that the locations were problematic as a result. It seems iniquitous to us that, having put in place a planning system which invites the expert views of statutory consultees, the Scottish Government too frequently ignores them if they prove inconvenient. At the very least, evidence of this calibre from SNH should trigger Public Inquiries.

We therefore call on the Scottish Government to commit to taking cognisance of its own advisors. Rather than force objectors to challenge these decisions in the courts at great expense, the Scottish Government should first ensure they have been exposed to the proper and democratic scrutiny that their scale and potential impact warrants.

John Mayhew,

Director, the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland

Brian Linington

President, Mountaineering Council of Scotland

Peter Willimott

President, the Munro

Society

Sir Kenneth Calman

Chairman, the National Trust for Scotland

David Thomson

Convener, Ramblers

Scotland

John Milne

Co-ordinator, Scottish Wild Land Group

pensions

New pension duties

Around 90,000 small businesses across Scotland are to receive a letter from The Pensions Regulator urging them to prepare for new pension duties.

As part of a major new awareness campaign, the regulator is writing to every small employer in Scotland to tell them the date their automatic enrolment legal duties come into effect – this is called the staging date. All employers have a staging date that is specific to them. The law also applies to all employers including those with one worker.

The mail out will also ask small business owners to supply email contact details to the regulator so it can provide them with regular reminders and updates as their individual staging date approaches. The letters will be sent in the next few months.

Last year, The Pensions Regulator, which is responsible for ensuring employers comply with their automatic enrolment duties, announced that five million workers had been automatically enrolled into a pension scheme by nearly 43,000 employers.

In the coming months and years, around 4 million more workers will be enrolled by small employers across the UK. Small employers are those with fewer than 50 workers – including those with one worker, for example a personal assistant.

The UK-wide letter campaign is to ensure that all small employers, including those with just one worker know that the law applies to them – even if their staging date is not for some time.

Charles Counsell

Pension Regulator executive director