Letters: Glasgow City Council indulges in daylight theft with environmental levy on outdoor events

I recently purchased tickets for the World Pipe Championships Tier 1 competition and was appalled at the cheek shown by the addition of an environmental levy to the ticket price.

Glasgow City Council presumably benefits from the commercial benefits of letting the green space be used for outdoor events/concerts and this benefit is citywide through visitors using the restaurants before or after the concert, accommodation. and the pricing for the rental of space to event organizers undoubtedly includes a charge for restoring the event space, which calls into question the validity of such a tax.

My immediate reaction to this ticket accusation was that if the council’s priority is indeed to look after green space for the community, just stop allowing the space to be used for events and concerts. What is the real priority here?

This is frankly another example of an avenue being found to extract more money from the pockets of the public and, in my opinion, and perhaps in the opinion of many others, theft in broad daylight.

Tickets to the £30 World Championships have an additional charge of almost 20% of face value to cover booking fees, transaction fees, postage and the environmental levy now introduced by the advice and I sincerely hope that the organizers of such events will withdraw their wish to hold events in Glasgow accordingly.

The passing of this burden on to the public is misplaced as any costs necessary to re-establish the green space for the benefit of the community are the responsibility of the council and are solely the responsibility of the council and the event organizers.

The introduction of this tax is a despicable act and one which I hope the public will complain about bitterly, which has led to its early abandonment, especially given the current economic environment.

David Herd, Ormiston, East Lothian.

FUSION POWER IS SAFE

JUST to reassure readers of the Herald, I am not part of “the nuclear industry’s charm offensive mentioned by John Hodgart (Letters, July 6). I would like to reiterate some of the key points regarding fusion energy to prevent misleading information from adversely affecting public opinion.

The most important point is that fusion is not fission: the waste product of fusion reactions is helium gas (as in party balloons) – there is no hazardous waste requiring safe storage for thousands of years. Fusion creates helium from hydrogen, a process that releases energy to produce high temperatures without carbon to power electric turbines and is suitable for direct commercial use (e.g. in the manufacture of cement and glass) and district heating systems. Note that there is now more private

investment in fusion like never before, and there are rival private companies striving to build fusion power plants; so it happens

that STEP leads the pack, given the excellent research and development at the Culham Center for Fusion Energy, the UK’s fusion laboratory.

There is clearly a carbon footprint for building any industrial facility, and a fusion power plant is no exception. Construction is not expected to last “several decades”, however; although it is the first of its kind, major construction of STEP is expected to begin in early 2030 and be operational by the end of this decade; site preparation and construction of the long-lead components will begin very soon, and STEP is expected to produce electricity by 2040.

I would like to reassure readers that fusion energy is safe. Fission power depends on a critical mass of fissile material in fuel rods (which can hold weeks of fuel), controlling the risk of a runaway reaction by moderating radioactive activity – a technique that has worked well in UK, but has been problematic elsewhere (e.g. Chernobyl).

In contrast, fusion reactions cannot occur spontaneously on a planet – they need a tokamak to create the conditions for the reaction. The tokamak can only hold a few seconds of fuel at any time and can be shut down in seconds by removing these conditions. There is simply no physical possibility of reaction runaway in a tokamak.

Mr. Hodgart’s letter mentioned Dr. Jassby; he was a respected plasma scientist who retired in the 1990s, and his views should be seen in this context: there are many contemporary sources of information that contradict Dr. Jassby’s views, from equally scientific respected people who are fully conversant with modern advances. For example, see https://ccfe.ukaea.uk/fusion-energy/, and

https://www.euro-fusion.org/eurofusion/horizon-eurofusion/.

The case for fusion energy is not that it should replace other renewable energy approaches, but that it can contribute alongside these other renewable sources, providing additional resilience to Scotland’s energy grid. While Scotland is indeed well placed for wind and tidal power, not all countries are so fortunate; STEP is the prototype of a fleet of fusion power plants that could be exported around the world, and I look forward to seeing Ardeer at the heart of this innovation.

Professor Declan Andrew Diver, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow.

GET THE RIGHT WATER BALANCE

IT now seems that whenever we have a dry sunny spell, we are going to experience drought. In the 1950s and 1960s, when I was in school, I remember long, hot summers, but I don’t remember the warnings of drought. Conversely, where I live it seems that whenever we have long periods of rainy weather we get flood warnings.

Regarding drought, we are surrounded by salt water. Would it be difficult to build desalination plants? Places like Lanzarote have little or no fresh water, so they desalinate sea water. Five liters of bottled water can then be bought for around £1.

When it comes to flooding, can’t we build underground storage reservoirs to divert flood waters? Possible or not?

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth.

PARDON, MY FRENCH IS RUSTY

FRIDAY’s issue of the day (“The ‘rusty’ Eiffel Tower, The Herald, July 8), reminds me of my ‘question of the day’, hot and tired in a queue for the famous landmark one afternoon, having caved in to allow a French couple to cross the queue with a friendly “You’re welcome”, and the abrupt response, “In France, we speak French”.

And “Good luck” to you too, sir”.

R Russell Smith, Largs.

TRAM FINE REMINDER

Reading all the callbacks to Bud Neill’s cartoons in recent letters (July 1, 4, 5 and 6), I pulled out my collection and am having a lot of fun browsing through it. His manner with words was legendary.

Denying a man with a dog entry to his tram, the clippie said: “Can’t you ‘understaun’ English? there’s wan up to the sterr un’ready. I dare anyone to imagine a such an answer. Magical, indeed.

Mary Duncan, East Kilbride.

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