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Letters / Manipulated mathematics? (proposed Toft net washing plant)

I feel I must take issue with some of Alastair Cooper’s claims reiterated in last week’s Shetland Times.

He makes a big issue of the size of the salmon nets now being used in the industry, and insists that these nets have to be sent south to be cleaned as they can’t be cleaned in the isles.

This is quite simply not the case. I have found out courtesy of Google that the net washer in Scalloway is the biggest in the country, and have ascertained it is quite capable of washing all the nets.

Also repeated is Alastair’s claim that there will be 15 to 20 jobs created if this plant is built at Toft. I repeat also that I have read the company leaflet which states quite categorically that there will be five jobs to begin with, and this number may grow up to 20 in “5 Years Time.”

So Alastair’s figures are not quite the same as those of the company, are they?

Politicians are past masters at reciting numbers and presenting those that suit their case at the time. I have to congratulate Alastair on his mastery of manipulated mathematics.

This plant seems to have been used as extra and substantial justification for the big spend on the Toft pier. So the wheels have been oiled and that has now gone through, but that should not mean that the plant has to be built at Toft. Why can this not go to Sellaness?

I have yet to hear a rational reason why not. Is the council land there more expensive for the company perhaps? Is the plant really too dirty for this area?

Toft pier is a gathering point for tourists and locals travelling to the north isles. Trucks will be regularly travelling up and down from the pier carrying dripping reeking nets.

The householders nearest to this planned atrocity, and their quality of life are of course of little consequence to the international company involved here. The fact that they were never contacted at any point is brushed aside.

A company spokesman informs us that there is no legal requirement to notify near neighbours if the site is less than two hectares. So that’s all right then is it?

I would like to add that Toft residents are not campaigning against Toft pier or salmon farming, there’s no problem there, we are protesting only against this plant’s location, and it’s effects on residents.

John Laurenson
Toft