DEVELOPMENT plans at Portincaple, landslips at the Rest and Be Thankful, and the death of TV presenter Caroline Flack all feature in the latest Advertiser readers' letters.

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Happy writing!

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The landslip at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful in January was yet another example of the lack of fairness and respect shown by the government in Edinburgh to local communities.

Aileen Morton, Argyll and Bute Council leader, said there should be “no more prevarication and faffing about, no more talking about processes and procedures, no more delay” by the Scottish Government.

I imagine that the vast majority of us agree entirely with Ms Morton. But is it realistic?

The dictionary defines faffing about as ‘spending time in ineffectual activity’. It may be that I have the ‘February blues’ but I am challenged to see any great improvements in Scotland over the period of the SNP Government.

Our once internationally respected education system has been slipping down league tables. ‘Baby Boomers’ are faced with underfunded social care. Decades on and the dueling of the A9 continues.

The much promised jobs in the Scottish environment sector have been allowed to go to foreign companies. The partly nationalised ferry services have failed to match demand.

If things are as disappointing as I suggest, how are the SNP still in office after 13 years?

The answer: ‘distraction’. Independence is the issue which the SNP use to distract from their poor performance in government.

Even during the recent Westminster elections the SNP switched its focus from Brexit to independence.

To distract attention away from the recent Scottish budget the First Minister has again stated that an independence referendum could be held in 2020.

Ms. Sturgeon has joined the top league of distractors. For Trump it is a wall; Boris’s choice a bridge between Ireland and Scotland; Nicola’s distraction a referendum.

Finlay Craig, Cove

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: February 13, 2020

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We write with reference to your article of February 6 on the proposed development in Portincaple.

2020 is the year of Coasts and Waters in Scotland. The 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26 will be hosted this year by the UK in Glasgow.

It is ironic that whilst the developed world has been so upset over Brazil cutting down the Amazon rainforest, Argyll and Bute Council are being asked to decide on an application which will involve cutting down ancient woodland only 30 miles away from the conference centre.

They are being asked to ignore policy laid down in the Local Development plan Policy LDP DM1 which states that Small-scale development will not exceed five dwelling units.

This planning application is only ‘phase one’ of a major sized development of 36 houses which will dominate and destroy the clachan of Portincaple.

Portincaple is the only designated Area of Panoramic Quality in the Helensburgh and Lomond area outside the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

It is part of the Atlantic Rainforest and has been designated as Ancient Woodland by Scottish National Heritage.

We are in a climate emergency and should be looking to protect the environment not destroy it.

“Scotland’s rainforest is just as lush and just as important as tropical rainforest, but is even rarer,” says Adam Harrison of Woodland Trust Scotland.

“It is found along the west coast and on the inner isles and is a unique habitat of ancient native oak, birch, ash, pine and hazel woodlands and includes open glades and river gorges.

“Our rainforest relies on mild, wet and clean air coming in off the Atlantic, and is garlanded with a spectacular array of lichens, fungi, mosses, liverworts and ferns. Many are nationally and globally rare and some are found nowhere else in the world.”

We lobbied the councillors on Argyll and Bute’s planning, protective services and licensing committee last year, asking them to visit the site in Portincaple, without commitment, to acquaint themselves with the setting of the proposal and its relation to the village.

This was on the basis that a possible 30-60 minute site visit, prior to any pre-determination hearing, would not in our view give adequate time for a balanced and impartial judgement to be made of the likely consequences for both the residents, and the existing infrastructure, particularly the unclassified Feuins Road which is the only access to the village.

We are fully aware of the situation being experienced by both Argyll and Bute Council and Scotland as a whole, with an ageing and declining population, and the pressure this places on elected representatives to reverse it wherever possible.

However, this should not be at the expense of the existing residents and their environment.

Portincaple has been growing steadily and organically over the years and has seen a slow but steady increase in new-build homes and population over recent years.

While the formal planning application now under consideration is only for 12 houses and associated works, we are fully aware that this is the first step towards something approaching the 36 house and 22 bed hotel “holiday village” that was the essence of the proposals made public in a ‘screening and scoping application’ submitted to the council last year.

This would double the size of the existing settlement, remove even more of the semi natural ancient woodland in which the village is situated, and be in direct conflict with many of the stated aims of the council, and the Scottish Government, in their efforts to combat climate change by reducing the reliance on the car.

We would urge the public to object to this development and to contact the campaign group at, tweet @loch_long #SaveLochLong, and via ‘Save Loch Long’ on Facebook, where help is offered for anyone looking for assistance in completing objections.

Save Loch Long/Protect Portincaple campaign, via email

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser readers' letters: February 6, 2020

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The death of Caroline Flack is of course a tragedy and the media has to take a measure of responsibility for this through their hounding of this poor woman.

This is the same media who hypocritically now shed crocodile tears at her untimely death.

However, before we are quick to judge others, little is talked about the shared responsibility many of us have in her death. It is the elephant in the room and simply not highlighted as we don’t want to face up to our potential complicity.

Putting it simply, if there was not a market for this salacious nonsense it would not exist.

As a society we must take a long hard look as to who is feeding this machine: us. We are complicit, with many responding on social media to continue to feed this frenzy.

Sections of the press vilify and attack individuals, feeding off a voracious public hunger for sordid stories.

If no one bought papers highlighting this, or viewed online content containing this, it would not exist.

We, individually, have the ability to put a stop to this bile.

So, if we are to be brutally honest with ourselves, those who indulge in feeding the media machine by viewing certain articles or who respond on social media all share a responsibility.

It is maybe time we took a long hard look in the mirror as a society and faced this harsh reality.

Alex Orr, Marchmont Road, Edinburgh

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: January 30, 2020

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We know that diabetes technology, like Flash glucose monitoring, continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pumps can greatly improve people’s health and quality of life.

But too many people still don’t have access to the technology they need to best manage their condition.

Shockingly, in some areas of the UK, only five per cent of people with type 1 diabetes can access Flash, compared with more than 70 per cent in other areas.

What’s more, we’re seeing growing numbers of people with type 2 diabetes self-funding Flash because the technology isn’t available to them on the NHS.

People with and affected by diabetes have told us they want to see better access to diabetes technology. And we agree. But now we want to hear about your experiences.

So talk to us. Our survey at - – is now live, and is open until March 1. Whether your experiences have been positive or negative, whether you want to talk about yourself, or about someone you care for, your views will help shape our work in this vital area.

With your help, we can ensure that everyone who could benefit from diabetes technology can access it.

Angela Mitchell (National Director, Diabetes Scotland)

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