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Letters / Motor car worship

My views on reducing motor traffic in Lerwick are well known, but I could not resist the following.

“God moves in mysterious ways,” as Shetland Islands Council so proves. The planning application for the New Life Church is blocked from opening its new church at Anderson.

The application is not refused because of the church’s neo-medieval bigotry teachings, but due to the lack of available parking spaces! It would be a bit hard to make that one up, but as they say, “every cloud has a silver lining.”

Maybe some good from motor car worship, after all.

I understand that soon the council will have its climate change actions assessed as part of a national survey. That should be interesting! Will the council planners’ utter prostitution to the motor car make comment? Will the hundreds of thousands of pounds wasted on the SIC’s ignorant green hogwash be criticised?

A few examples are below.

  • EV charging points when at best, only 20 per cent of electricity generated on Shetland is from renewables at this time!
  • Many dozens of EVs have been purchased with a carbon footprint over ten times that of a 1000cc petrol car!
  • Hundreds of thousands of pounds plus spent on wood chip burning infrastructure when no local wood is available for burning; it all has to be imported with a vast carbon footprint!

All intelligent and modern scientific analysis indicates burning wood is not a green or renewable option. Deforesting Canada, the USA, the UK, and now Eastern Europe to produce woodchip fuel is pure environmental vandalism. The energy produced by this burn has a similar carbon footprint as burning coal or oil.

It takes about 50 to 100 years for a tree to grow. About one tonne of carbon is sequestered into the wood during that time. When that wood is burnt, over three tonnes of global warming carbon dioxide gas is released into the atmosphere.

In a time of austerity, what can be done which is genuinely green and cheap?

Planting a few thousand trees in Lerwick would be a good start. Twelve thousand willow cuttings positioned around Clickimin loch would store 12,000 tonnes of carbon over their lifetime! They would suck most pollutants, especially nitrates and phosphates, from the polluted and now toxic water of the loch. The toxic algae would go, and the wildlife return.

Why willow cuttings? They cost nothing. Over the past 30 years, I have grown 4,000 plus willows on my croft, and the cuttings were free. I have planted 1,000s more this year from coppicing and could easily supply 4,000 more yearly. They cost nothing but a little time. It is not rocket science to capture carbon by growing trees.

The croft now has 8,000 trees and shrubs of 50 different species sucking carbon from the air, all growing and well established. They self-replicate, producing more and more every springtime. That gives an offset to my carbon personal footprint of about 8,000 tonnes over the lifetime of those trees.

What a shame the SIC was too blinded by not to do something similar. Clickimin, the Knab, and Gilbertson Park could easily sustain 20,000 trees and shrubs. Not only fantastic for biodiversity, carbon capture, and beauty but fantastic windbreaks also.

Any sceptics are welcome to visit the croft, it is open to all:   https://www.flawtonwildlifecroft.com/

Ian Tinkler


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