TOPICS of discussion in this week's Advertiser letters include the potential danger to wildlife of Flamingo Land at Loch Lomond, the efforts of road workers in addressing the A83 problems and disability access at the new V&A museum.

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In regard to the proposed development by Flamingo Land at West Riverside and Woodbank House, Balloch, we would like to reassure people following the circulation of a petition by the Scottish Green Party.

The petition refers to the issues of damage to wildlife and ancient woodland as certainties, rather than risks.

The petition took the worst case scenario from the environmental statement on Flamingo Land’s proposals and ran with it, without mentioning the pages of detail which followed about how the environment will be protected should the development receive planning permission.

The report states that during construction, there would be a team of environmental experts on site to monitor compliance and provide advice.

Pre-works nesting checks would be carried out, with exclusion areas put in place should nesting birds be found.

During construction, all on-site traffic would be subject to a 10mph speed limit and secure site compounds would be located as far as possible from watercourses.

There will be no loss of ancient woodland – we are committed to safeguarding and managing this protected area.

Tree planting of suitable species would be carried out to compensate for any loss in other areas within the development site.

Plans have also been put in place for when the attraction is operational, such as the installation of bat and bird boxes, shrub planting to encourage foraging and sheltering for mammals and birds, plus there would be annual vegetation and protected species surveys.

These are just some of the protective measures being put in place. Members of the public can read the document in full if they wish on the planning portal at

Andy Miller

Director of Sales

Flamingo Land Resort Yorkshire

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I FEEL most strongly that I must respond to Councillor Alan Reid’s letter in the Helensburgh Advertiser last week where he says that “the recent engineering works carried out by the Scottish Government have failed their first test”.

For Cllr Reid to have reached this conclusion demonstrates a lazy, ill-informed reaction by someone with an abject lack of understanding and knowledge of what has been achieved at the Rest and Be Thankful by the hard-working teams from Transport Scotland, Bear Scotland and Geo-Tech.

If Cllr Reid had actually taken the trouble to contact the teams who are working on the Rest – which I did – and spoken to representatives from these organisations he would have known that, far from being a failure, the measures that are in place have prevented the Rest and Be Thankful from being closed on 23 separate occasions since 2015.

The nets have successfully stopped large boulders from closing the road and, more importantly, prevented possible injuries and fatalities. In most people’s book that would surely be classed as a very positive accomplishment. I take the view that this is something to be applauded and not condemned out of hand as Cllr Reid seeks to do.

I know the road was recently closed for a week, but let’s put this in context: we had extreme weather conditions that just did not affect our area here in Scotland; there were also roads closed in Wales and England due to the adverse conditions.

Furthermore, in my dialogue with the Geo-Tech engineers on site, they have assured me that if the mitigation pit work had been completed this would have prevented the road from being closed at this time.

So far from being a failure, I would suggest that with 23 road closures having been prevented in recent times, the measures currently in place have, in point of fact,been nothing short of a success.

Cllr Iain Shonny Paterson

SNP, Lomond North

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I HAVE an elderly family member that lives alone and no longer enjoys good health; he is frail but still with a good grip of his facilities.

A month or two back he was in the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital and somebody there suggested that he should give enduring ‘power of attorney’ to other family members for these sorts of occasions.

Power of attorney is a sensible idea, but not as easy as one might think. The legal authorities have tried to make the process straightforward by introducing what is known as ‘Electronic Power of Attorney’ (EPOA).

This is a document in a format that is available on line so that it can easily be adapted to suit the family circumstances of anybody. Details can be found at

It must be done while the person granting this EPOA still has the full knowledge of what they are doing and as such must be accompanied by a certificate to that effect from either a registered medical practitioner or a lawyer.

While the family member was in the hospital, and had been there for some weeks, we asked the staff at the hospital to sign off the certificate. No, they said, we should get the family doctor to do it.

We called out the doctor from Clydebank medical centre when he got home, and no, they did not want to know.

We contacted his family solicitor and asked them to do power of attorney, realising that they would want to go through their full and expensive charging routine.

Today the solicitor has just left and they are going to call the medical centre and ask them to sign the certificate. It looks like we are on a roundabout where, if we ever manage it, the costs will be horrendous.

Some years ago I made up an EPOA for myself granting power to my wife and while I was at the surgery on other business I asked the doctor to sign it off.

He signed the certificate and witnessed my signature, I sent it off electronically and EPOA was granted at a total cost of £70.

This will last as long as I do, as it has the fall-back of children named as substitutes if my wife is unable or if anything happens to her.

Let me suggest that this is something that everybody does now. Do not wait until frailty starts to set in, as you may end up on the same roundabout.

D. S. Blackwood

1 Douglas Drive East, Helensburgh

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I RECENTLY drove to the new V&A Museum in Dundee with someone who requires to use a motability scooter. Imagine my disappointment on arrival to discover that the museum has no car park nor disabled parking spaces.

I understand that the inspiration for the design of the building was the Scottish cliffs and seas. Certainly the very long and steep staircase inside the V&A reminds one of cliff edge paths to beaches. Not quite the welcoming vision people with mobility challenges or limited energy or strength may be hoping for.

There is a centrally positioned lift for all to see which could accommodate two or three wheelchair users. The contrast in how to get to the upper floor is a clear statement of division. “Dad, take the girls up the stairs, while I will take wee John in his pram up on the lift,” said a young mother.

I thought a museum of design would be about integration, empowerment, inspiration, embracing all.

The reverse seems to be the case. For many the visual images of barriers, obstacles, and challenges can lead to limiting thoughts, aspirations and behaviour.

It is not simply whether a building, organisation, or business complies with laws on accessibility. It is about ensuring communities are being strengthened through embracing of all citizens.

Locally we have great opportunities to embrace and enhance equality when deciding on the plans for the facilities in Helensburgh, and for councillors to reflect on the fairness of not giving a bit longer parking time for blue badge holders in restricted areas.

Finlay Craig


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Every time I fill up my car at the petrol station, the price has increased again. It seems Scottish oil, which was suddenly worth almost nothing during the independence referendum, is now of high value again.

I note also in the papers recently that new large oilfields continue to be miraculously discovered since 2014, despite Better Together having told us they definitely weren’t there.

In September, BP approved development of a new North Sea field containing some 30 million barrels.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has placed the UK’s public finances second weakest in the developed world, ahead of only Portugal.

The UK under Blair and Brown allowed private companies to take our oil, then blew the tax revenue failing to patch up their mistakes.

Their treachery and incompetence paved the way for the current typical Scottish Labour candidate, who has little understanding of what is devolved or reserved, but will perform endless U-turns to cling on to their position.

Cathy Bell