Letters to the Editor

Stonehaven town centre. Tourism has always been important to the town.
Stonehaven town centre. Tourism has always been important to the town.

Here is what you have had to say in our Letters to the Editor se4ction this week:

finance

Are we funding good causes?

Sir, – For the past 30 years I have been paying tax at 40 per cent. I’m one of thousands of baby boomer, council house Scots who got and took their chance in the 60s and 70 and, while still voting Labour, had to admit that Tory tax reforms of the 80s set us up for life.

Paying higher taxes seemed very fair if it helped people less fortunate, people like our parents and neighbours who had given their all to bring us up to behave, study, work hard and be good citizens.

And now we have a devolved government that will charge 372,000 of us an extra £400 a year – 372,000 people who read the papers, watch the news, and will vote in the council elections.

Many will be asking why, with all Scotland’s special geographic and social conditions already accounted for in the Barnet Settlement, we need even more public funding, and is the money going to what we would regard as good causes?

Apart from the millions wasted on Baby Boxes, Gaelic signs and teaching and “Brexit means Scexit” jaunts round Europe there are some fundamental reforms of our public services and our own attitudes to government in all areas of society that can drastically reduce public spending, boost our economy, improve our infratstructure and target more help to those who genuinely need it.

The SNP can no longer blame previous administrations for a timidity of who they regard as their core voters or a lack of talent in executing change.

I sense the crunch will come soon. – Yours, etc.,

Allan Sutherland

1 Willow Row

Stonehaven

defence from waves

Removing shingle from the beach

Sir, – I was interested to read the suggestion by Mr Tony Zaccarini last week as to how removing shingle from Stonehaven beach could alleviate wave over topping along the seafront. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the case.

Shingle, rock and other forms of obstruction help dissipate the force of waves before they reach the shore. Without a barrier of some sort waves reach the shore unimpeded and carrying their full force, which is often sufficient to overtop coastal defences. For example, the outer breakwater at the harbour faces the open sea and as such always has deep water against it. Waves created during stormy weather impact on it without hindrance and can regularly be seen crashing over it.

A shingle bank isn’t just measured by quantity, but also breadth, slope and shingle size. If it extends out to sea and is composed of larger stones, which are less easily transported by waves, it can afford excellent protection against wave damage.

A more effective solution needs to be found to safeguard not only vulnerable property but vulnerable people too who have suffered so much by seeing flooding destroy a lifetime’s worth of mementoes, photographs and the like.

Previous technical studies of Stonehaven beach have shown by increasing the shingle volume, the risk of overtopping is generally reduced. Hence reducing the shingle volume actually increases the likelihood of coastal flooding. There are occasions when shingle which slopes to the top of the sea walls can create a ramp, allowing waves to crash over it, and also prevent the recurve at the top of the sea wall from doing its job. Other than this the general rule is that a bigger shingle bank comprising bigger stones is an effective barrier to waves. – Yours, etc.,

Christopher Anstock

Coastal Flooding Group

Stonehaven Flood Action Group

environment

Sticky solution 
to chewing gum

Sir, – I am concerned about the level of chewing gum which in recent years has become a blight on Stonehaven’s pavements. I would like to resolve this issue by proposing the following measures to Aberdeenshire Council.

In the town centre chewing gum has become a serious problem, and I’d like to gain public support to help persuade the council to have it removed before it gets much worse. We all need to be proactive in resolving this situation, as the state of our pavements is an absolute disgrace and an embarrassment to our entire community.

This is a call for an Action Plan to be developed along the following lines:

• Request support from all retailers and national chains who operate within the town, to advise customers at the point of sale, to take care and to dispose of the chewing gum in a responsible manner.

• Request that the council advise all school children that litter and particularly chewing gum should be disposed of in a responsible manner. This should be communicated regularly at the end of each and every term.

• Request that an educational leaflet campaign be developed and delivered to all Aberdeenshire households. The leaflet should ask parents to re-enforce this responsible message to their children.

• Request to the council that a mobile chewing gum removal facility be employed to visit Aberdeenshire towns, starting with Stonehaven.

• Request to the council that Stonehaven town square, including a further one block radius, be the focal point of an ongoing clean-up campaign.

• Request that as responsible residents we challenge people we see dropping chewing gum on the pavements.

• Request that a campaign be launched which would provide disposable chewing gum “stick it to me now” signs 200x300mm. These signs could be erected at strategic positions outside bars, bus stops, food carry outs and anywhere people congregate.

To move this last action point along, I have taken the liberty of designing a GOB (Gum Officially Banned) logo which could be printed at the top of disposable signs.

Hopefully, this will encourage people to stick used gum on the signs and not discard it onto the pavements. Aberdeenshire Council is welcome to use this logo as they see fit, or alternatively come up with their own version, but something really needs to be done!

I am well aware that in today’s society this is a cultural problem, but that is no excuse. Unfortunately ignoring the situation will not make it go away, it will just keep getting worse. Removal is only part of the solution, prevention is the absolute key.

I am not naive enough to think that any of this will totally eradicate the problem, but we have to try.

If the council move forward with this initiative, then hopefully the impetus will spread to other towns. If Stonehaven residents agree, then it would be good to get some support for this proposal. Write to the leader, councillors or Aberdeenshire Council to show your support and let’s see if we can get something done about it in 2017. – Yours, etc.,

Frederick Tony Zaccarini

1 Carronhall

Stonehaven