Jobs, bribes and renewable energy
Sir, Mr Hamilton’s and S White’s letters in the August 31 edition of the Argyllshire Advertiser cannot go unremarked upon.
What we have never lacked in Argyll is an endless supply of armchair experts, often blowing in from the urban south, seldom requiring a local job to support a growing family, and quick to criticise others over matters they generally know very little about.
The businesses which have long battled to provide local economic opportunity to young families in our most fragile rural communities have grown used to these slings and arrows. Kelp has been sustainably harvested for generations in Argyll and talk of fish farms despoiling the sea is rank nonsense.
Today around 600 people in Argyll depend on aquaculture for their livelihood. To criticise our council for rightly having a keen interest in local employment is baffling, particularly in a rural county where our working-age population continues to decline sharply through lack of job opportunity.
S White’s rant on renewable energy is both ill-informed and silent on any constructive alternative route to reduce the carbon emissions that are likely driving climate change. As we contemplated the wisdom of S White’s views last Friday morning, around £1.5m of locally manufactured wind towers were being loaded aboard in Campbeltown Harbour, destined for the Netherlands. Argyll’s and much of greater Glasgow’s kettles were certainly being boiled by the wind and hydro power being generated in Argyll, and hundreds of local people were going to work and earning their living derived from the renewable energy businesses of Argyll.
For local people who have supported renewable energy developments that have brought real economic benefits far beyond the obvious community funds, the suggestion that they have been ‘bribed’ is patronising and absurd.
It is self-evident that we are economically dependent on what we can produce from the limited options available to us in remote rural areas. Argyll’s natural resources favour aquaculture and renewable energy, for which global demand continues to grow. For our part, we hope our councillors and business enterprises will continue their laudable efforts to grow these industries, and the associated economic activity that helps provide the secure employment and opportunity for our local community and also funds a big slice of Argyll’s non-domestic rates. James F Lithgow of Ormsary