GEORGE Kerevan’s excellent article clearly portrays the cost of nuclear weapons (Nuclear ambitions have always been achieved at the cost of prosperity, July 18, The National). There’s another cost – of immense consequence to Scotland.

Suppression and/or distortion of facts have been linked to the nuclear industry since at least the 1950s, an example being the long suppression of Dr Alice Stewart’s research findings on the dangers of X-rays to the unborn child. There is considerable evidence that another may be contained in a UK Government version of events quoted by Kerevan – that of the wind direction and areas affected by fallout from the Windscale nuclear fire of 1957.

This fire was the most serious nuclear accident to occur outwith the Soviet Union up until that time, and so of great embarrassment to the government.

Radioactive fallout from Windscale was detected in days following the fire over northern Europe and as far north-east as Norway, which indicates a far different direction of travel. Paul Langley’s nuclear history blog records that the Scandinavians knew what had happened at Windscale before the British people were informed.

At the time, wind direction was officially reported to have been blowing out to sea, but in 1974 this was corrected by the Director of the National Radiation Protection Board to state that the wind at the time of the fire was blowing the radiation inland (as Kerevan wrote).

This was a subject of dispute and so pursued by the Low Level Radiation Campaign (LLRC). Their research can be read in an article, the title of which will resonate with your readers: “Government records altered in cover-up: Winds over Windscale 1957: Changing the name to Sellafield was not the only rewrite.”

The authors of the article went to the Meteorological Office Archives and “found that the original reports of wind speed and direction had been tampered with.”

Air Ministry maps of the same period were then examined. LLRC describe these as – much more detailed and extensively worked, redrawn every three hours – very large weather maps covering the whole of the UK.

The charts described instead a picture of profound cost to Scotland: “For at least the first half of the fire radioactive clouds were being blown towards a front lying NE to SW, travelling eastwards, with light winds blowing towards it on either side with rain falling.”

Radiation was therefore raining down on Galloway, and the Isle Of Man, in the early days of the fire.

Supporting this version of events was the account of a retired district nurse. Hearing of one Dumfries mother’s decades of concern for their child’s health, and a link with the Windscale Fire being made, this nurse suddenly remembered that she had been once forced to sign the Official Secrets Act purely to enter the small Dumfries coastal village.

Nuclear ambitions have not just been achieved at the cost of prosperity, but also, of course, to health. Suppression of evidence is a masterly art.

With recent apparent attempts to suppress the work of a very distinguished and articulate critic of the fracking movement, Emeritus Professor David Smyth, and of others speaking out to protect public health, how good it is to know we have been promised such thorough research into the health risks of fracking by our own Scottish Government.

When Scotland has been so betrayed on the nuclear front over decades, there can be no better time for Scotland to act with sincerity to make health and the environment a top priority.

Carol McManus

Immediate action vital over mental health of youngsters

WE STRONGLY support the findings of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s report, which reveals the scale of the epidemic in mental health problems for young people (Youth group wins vital ally in drive for care overhaul, The National, July 21).

Like the Children’s Commissioner, Tam Baillie, we echo the urgent call for a greater focus on the mental health needs of our vulnerable children and young people.

As a coalition we have campaigned strenuously to highlight the scale of the problem and the urgency at which steps must be taken to ensure that we, as a country, are doing all that we can to help children and young people with mental health problems and remove the stigma surrounding this issue.

As we know, half of all diagnosable mental health problems start before the age of 14 and 75 per cent by the age of 21. However, only 0.46 per cent of NHS Scotland expenditure is spent on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), amounting to 5.81 per cent of the total mental health budget. This is simply not good enough.

Mental health problems are not “just a phase” that the young person concerned will “grow out of”. Problems are likely to get worse over time if young people are unable to access effective help and treatment. Indeed, some young people are waiting months, even years, before they are treated.

Mental health must be no longer be seen as a “Cinderella” service and a renewed focus on early intervention and preventative measures will go a long way in helping with the crisis we currently face. With this regard we commend the Scottish Government for appointing a dedicated mental health minister, a post we campaigned hard for.

We are in the middle of a mental health epidemic suffered by Scotland’s children and young people and the issues identified in this report must be an absolute priority for the Scottish Government and Parliament.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:

Tom McGhee, Managing Director, Spark of Genius

Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive, Who Cares? Scotland

Sophie Pilgrim, Director, Kindred Scotland

Stuart Jacob, Director, Falkland House School

Niall Kelly, Managing Director, Young Foundations

Liz May, National Co-ordinator, Action for Sick Children Scotland

GREATER efforts must be made by media such as your good selves, to highlight the pathetic performance of the GBP against the euro since its launch and the Wee Ginger Dug has it right (Unionists are keeping the currency myths in circulation, The National, July 20).

The euro is not a weak currency and is not in trouble any more than the rest of the world is in financial trouble (thanks to right-wingers everywhere).

The euro central bank has been able to lend trillions to those in need and is still able to do so. The Americans can’t do that. They rely on the Chinese to bolster their financial position again, to the tune of trillions. All currencies move up and down but the pound has moved steadily and inexorably down when compared to the euro with a couple of very steep drops thanks to Lamont and the recent Brexit.

The right-wing press sneer that the euro is falling against the pound but fail to mention that the fall is -0.2 per cent, or that the pound has fallen 17 per cent and the dead cat bounce is insignificant. (That -0.2 per cent is a BBC figure so it may not be true.)

The truth is that the euro is a remarkably stable currency and just because a few countries have problems with their fiscal discipline does not signal the beginning of the end. Scotland will have its own currency, the Scottish pound I suspect, and it should not be tied to the English pound because that currency has been getting weaker and weaker in every one of the 76 years I have been around. It must not be allowed to continue to drag us down.

After independence we can look hard and long at the euro but the decision to adopt or not is at least five years away and will be well informed.

The Baltic states used the euro for many years in parallel with their own currency, without adopting it. That is really popular with tourists. We should give that some thought.

Christopher Bruce