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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Herald Letters - Some Old Ones

Using the Herald's search facility it tuens out that i have had some letters published there I didn't know of. They are all ones I had sent out to all and sundry and didn't show up on Google. It seems the Herald is more willing than I thought to publish my letters.

1st Dec - Dalgety Bay
Following SEPA's (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) allegation of a radioactivity hazard in Dalgety Bay, Gordon Brown is seeking to get the armed forces to spend an unknown sum on carting away the beach to some unguessable place.

There is no radiation hazard. Though SEPA publicly claimed to have found radium in paint particles, in response to FoI (Freedom of Information) inquiries they have been unable to produce any factual basis for their claim. They have been caught out claiming to have detected "radium and its daughter elements" by analysis of the radiation but radium has only one daughter element, the unreactive gas radon, which could not remain in rock. As has been pointed out, the "scientific illiteracy" required of alleged experts not to know this is staggering.
What those FoI requests also revealed is that SEPA's consultants told them years ago the radiation was "less than two-thirds that found in a typical Aberdeen street" which makes it what one would expect with naturally occurring background radiation.
Mr Brown is not serving his constituents' interests. Dalgety Bay is the repeated winner of Scotland's Best Kept Small Town Award and is a growing community attractive to Edinburghers who want to bring their families up outwith the city. The last thing such a community needs is an evidence-free and undisprovable scare story.

6th July Tram promised "fixed price contract"

IN 1977 we were told that the Edinburgh tram project was a "fixed-price contract".

Subsequently legal action by the contractors led to a decision that 90% of the cost over-runs on the elements in question were because of changes made by the officials at Transport in Edinburgh (TIE). In May this year we were told £411m had already been spent and the next day that it was £440m. Now we are told that cancelling it will cost £750m and continuing £700m.
I fail to see how stopping the fixed-price contract can involve the contractors in more legitimate expense than actually completing the work will. I would welcome some assurances, but only from somebody who has not previously assured us of the success of the project.

17th June Comparing the Outrageous Cost ofv Motorway Building With The Real Prices

Whatever we think about the competence of Scotland's politicians, they appear to have a rare skill at promoting initiatives and projects.

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Look at the new five-mile M74 extension which bypasses the city centre (“Road link project to open early and under budget”, The Herald, June 15).

The politicians are congratulating themselves that new road is expected to cost £20 million less than expected. In fact, the original promised cost was £177m.

More than £247m was paid for the land alone. So how does this compare with other motorways? According to Hansard in March 2007 motorways cost, on average, corrected for inflation, £6.8 per side and kilometre. So that would be just over £100m. At the time I suggested the motorway could have been put through a tunnel.

The Norwegians have been cuttiing 750km tunnels for more than 20 years averaging about £4m per km.

If it can be done there, it is clearly possibly to do it here. The only thing preventing it is politics.
The equivalent for two lanes of four-lane motorway, covering 8km, would have been £128m.
This is half of what the Scottish Government paid for the land alone – which would not have been needed if there had been a tunnel.

25th March Nuclear

Among a number of things that just ain’t so in Elizabeth Marshall’s letter (March 21) criticising my support of nuclear power is that nuclear costs “at least 20 times the cost of gas fired power”.
Nothing in the way of evidence is given for this. Figures from the Royal Academy of Engineering show nuclear significantly cheaper and the fact that French electricity costs one-quarter of ours suggests it is not more expensive.
I have publicly said that I believe a nuclear economy can be run at one-tenth of the present price of electricity and have had no fact -based dispute.

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