AS the Scottish winter closes in there will be further anxious days and nights for those folk who use the A83 Rest and Be Thankful road. Climate change has brought more rain to the area, and with more rain comes the increasing threat of avalanche. It is only a matter of good luck that, so far, no-one has been buried under hundreds of tons of rock and mud. The road is now regularly closed while the latest avalanche of debris is cleared away.

The Scottish Government are under increasing pressure to find a permanent solution to the problem – and to find the money from within their fixed and limited capital budget to pay for it.

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Contrast this with the latest news from the mainly flat plains of Wiltshire, where a plan to dig a £1.7 billion road tunnel near Stonehenge has been approved by the UK Transport Secretary. Actually Highways England said the cost range for the whole scheme was £1.5-2.4bn but it was “currently working to £1.7bn”. A good margin for massive overspend and error there.

The decision to build a two-mile tunnel, out of sight of the monument, actually goes against the recommendations of planning officials and many local objectors.

However the chief executive of Highways England predictably welcomed the decision and said: “The A303 Stonehenge tunnel project is part of the biggest investment in our road network for a generation. This transformational scheme will return the Stonehenge landscape towards its original setting and will improve journey times for everyone who travels to and from the south-west.”

The UK government’s magic money tree knows no bounds – when it suits them.

Brian Lawson

THE article by Greg Russell about the “meeting of minds’ on Zoom to be hosted by the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce on November 26 suggests that the debate may focus on “sustainability” (Aquaculture worth £1.8bn to economy, November 12).

At present the Atlantic salmon farming practices at sea in Scotland have been very clearly demonstrated to be highly polluting. One of many examples of man seriously damaging this planet in the unrestrained search for profit and putting the convenience of humankind over all other life forms.

Proposals to more than double the numbers employed in aquaculture at sea and vastly increase turnover and profit are advanced as desirable by economists who conveniently disregard all adverse consequences. There is very real danger that the pollution levels at sea could double too. If preventing pollution is too expensive then the activity creating it is not “sustainable” and should not be permitted.

As with climate change, we don’t have time to “wait and see”. Extinction rates have risen very significantly over the last century.

“Sustainable” growth in any area of human activity can only be a truthful description if the growth is in an activity that is not harmful to the future of all life on earth.

I urge your readers to attend the meeting to better understand the arguments on both sides.

Colin Ellis

I AGREE with all that has been written about the House of Lords and the royal family being a scandalous waste of money.

However, being over 70, I have quite a few friends in this age group who are looking tentatively at the possibility of voting for independence, mainly due to a dislike of Boris Johnson. However, they like and enjoy the royal family and would be absolutely horrified at the idea of a republic.

Wouldn’t it be better to strive for more independence votes in this older age group and leave the problem of the royal family until after we gain the right to make our own decisions?

Ann Leitch
via email

READ MORE: Abolition of the monarchy will be a question for after independence​

PRINCE Charles was at Dumfries House in Ayrshire last Thursday. How did that happen? I understand that England is in lockdown and he should not be travelling outwith his area. Yet again, one rule for some and not for others. Disgraceful. You would think that he would have learned from the furore when he did the same earlier in the year and went to Balmoral. Oh, and he was not wearing a mask either.

Robert Anderson

THE departure of Trump from that international comedy double act Trump and Boris (likened to brotherly clones of each other) made me remember a comedy duo of the 70s, London-born brothers Mike and Bernie Winters. Bernie and Mike also spit up, but not before they “died” on stage at the famous Glasgow Empire.

Like Bozo and Trump, they were not very popular in Scotland. Mike came on stage first, playing his clarinet. The discerning audience was not impressed and when Bernie shoved his head, with trademark goofy grin, through the curtains, someone from the audience shouted, “Christ, there’s two of them!”

Years later they fell out and Bernie, struggling on his own, eventually replaced Mike with a large drooling docile St Bernard dog called “Snorbitz”.

Now we find Boris – who also faces isolation, with his disregard for international law, his self-inflicted embargo with Europe and maybe America (Biden preferring trade deals with Europe) – is in a similar situation. He desperately needs to find a new partner. Scotland can only look on with disbelief! It’ll be interesting to see if he can find his “Snorbitz!”

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus