DEAR Ms Forbes, Ms Regan and Mr Yousaf,

Please tell me if you will honour the current SNP commitment against any new nuclear energy production in Scotland.

I am asking you about this because Scotland is already paying a terrible price for being chosen as the UK’s remote and expendable area for experiments with nuclear technology and nuclear waste dumping.

In 1986, during the EDRP Public Inquiry in Caithness, the UK Atomic Energy Authority was forced to release documents which showed that highly radioactive, potentially lethal fragments of nuclear-spent fuel had been dumped on beaches and on the seabed at Dounreay.

These fragments were first discussed with shop stewards at Dounreay in 1983. At that first discussion, the shop stewards were warned not to share the information “to avoid public panic”. Most of the workforce at Dounreay were in any case bound by the Official Secrets Act. The public inquiry nevertheless encouraged some of these workers to share more information about appalling incidents within their community – caused directly by the nuclear industry.

Forty years later, those lethal fragments of nuclear-spent fuel are still there – the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has confirmed that they are irretrievable. The awful legacies of nuclear mistakes at Dounreay also include large tracts of land which will not be safe to use – in any way – for at least 300 years. Nuclear mistakes continue throughout the world, including to this day at Dounreay and at Windscale/ Sellafield.

It is important that your generation of political leaders is made aware of this awful history: it is now your responsibility to avoid such mistakes and to protect the wellbeing of Scotland’s land, sea and people.

With its new policy of “Great British Nuclear”, the Westminster Tory government is defying the findings of the 1976 report on “Nuclear Power and the Environment” by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. It advised that no further development of nuclear power should be made until a safe method of nuclear waste was confirmed. No such method has been found.

More worryingly, that same Westminster government is currently attempting to evade international treaties which ban the dumping of nuclear waste in international waters – by working towards a nuclear dump in the Irish Sea off Dumfries, Galloway and Cumbrian coasts.

I would appreciate a prompt reply.

Frances McKie

Evanton, Ross-shire

50 years ago, an academic at Strathclyde University published a small book titled The Politics Of Environment.

His name was Dr Malcolm Slessor and he was also a famed mountaineer at that time. The subject of the environment was being raised seriously at that time within the SNP.

Malcolm stood as the SNP candidate in the Angus seat in the first General Election in 1973 (there were two that year) and came a close second. In the second 1973 election, Andrew Welsh won the seat for the SNP, greatly helped by the previous efforts of Malcolm in his time as the candidate.

His book was an amazing explanation of just why Scotland needed independence and contained a whole raft of useful data about what Scotland had become under Westminster by the early 70s. His message could do with some present-day airing.

I would like your help in sending out a plea to that older generation of nationalists of the Hamilton by-election/Scotland’s Oil campaign era to see who may still have a copy of Malcolm’s book, or where it could be sourced.

I feel sure if you had a copy you would be only too keen to run an article on how Malcolm’s message so resonates today.

Nick Dekker


I ALWAYS look forward to reading the regular contributions of Alan Magnus-Bennett of Fife – all usually mature, measured and sensible and much aligned with my own perspectives. However, I will have to take issue with his essay of March 20 concerning the Coul Links golf application.

At a time of intermittent national recession, cost of living crisis, food poverty, fuel poverty, housing poverty – and in the specific case of Sutherland, chronic depopulation – this development will progress an investment of the order of £50 million of entirely private money should it be consented.

Also in the pot is a minimum of a 5% equity share for the local population, plus a seat on the board of management of the course, which will enter the rankings in the top 100 of world links golf courses, at the same time as providing positive and progressive remedial support for what is at present a neglected and moribund area of land. In fact, very few of the objecting bodies from the previous application have shown much interest in this site over the last three years since that was rejected.

Few ramblers are ever seen in this area, and walkers of all kinds walk up and down both sides of the adjacent internationally renowned Royal Dornoch Golf Course without obstruction or impediment.

I feel we will have to agree to differ on this issue.

Cllr Jim McGillivray

(East Sutherland & Edderton Ward)