Your letters to The Buteman - August 7, 2015

Send your letters to the editor to Please include your name and address for publication.
Send your letters to the editor to Please include your name and address for publication.

Seagulls, the NHS and suggestions on ButeFest all appear in the latest batch of readers’ letters to The Buteman, as published in our August 7 issue.

If you’d like to comment on any of the topics raised, or any subject of interest to Bute, drop an email to by 5pm on Monday at the latest - though as always, the sooner we hear from you, the better are your chances of seeing your views in print.

Please keep your letters as brief as you can, and remember to include your name and address for publication. We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be printed.

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More festival praise - and some ideas

Much deserved praise has been lauded on the organisers of ButeFest - and through playing minor roles in the Isle of Bute Jazz Festival and Bute County Cricket Club, I appreciate more than many the huge amount of work that went into the event’s organisation and production.

However, while Butefest was by all accounts a great artistic success and undoubtedly benefited many Rothesay businesses in the tourism and retail sectors, it is no secret that the event made a considerable financial loss which could threaten its continuation next year.

It struck me that if the ButeFest committee was to launch a properly audited appeal, I for one would be happy to donate a £10 note - and if there were two thousand more like-minded souls willing to make a similar financial commitment, and local businesses a bit more, then the majority, if not all, of the debt could be paid off, paving the way for a bigger, better and more popular ButeFest in 2016.

The only requests I would make in respect of future festival planning are as follows:

(1) In recognition of the generosity of islanders, day tickets for ButeFest 2016 are made available from the outset.

(2) Either the main stage is relocated so that the rugby pitch and cricket field are used for camping, thus minimising damage, or protective matting is laid over the surfaces of the aforementioned areas, allowing ButeFest to co-exist in harmony with the sporting facilities, which are also of considerable benefit to the community.

Michael Archbold, 2/1, 31 Battery Place, Rothesay

Dunoon has secret to seagull success

Might I suggest you contact Dunoon with regards to seagull control?

My wife and I go regularly to Dunoon and sit on a seaside bench there and scoff our fish suppers.

We have hardly seen a seagull there. Haven’t been bothered ever with the pests.

What ever Dunoon are doing, its working. I would be interested to find out the secret!

James Callaghan, Flat 3, 31 Gallowgate, Rothesay

No need to slaughter our coastal gulls

Whenever wild animals or birds trouble us humans, there follows the inevitable cries of ‘cull them’.

Every summer millions of people flock to the coast where many gulls live. Despite warning notices, some visitors insist on feeding them, while others seem to find it impossible to place their leftovers in a bin.

The holiday period coincides with the birds’ breeding season and, being fierce defenders of their offspring, the birds will occasionally be aggressive - for a few weeks a year - to those they consider too close to their nests or young.

There are simple, inexpensive and non-lethal methods that can be used to deter birds from nesting on flat roofs or chimneys, or from rummaging in our rubbish. Numbers of coastal gull species in Britain are dropping partly because we humans are stealing their fish. It would be a shame if we slaughtered them in return just because they steal a few of our chips!

John Bryant (Animal Aid), The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge

Centralisation of NHS has been a failure

More than half a million hours have been lost by the Scottish Ambulance Service in the last year as a result of staff sickness, new figures have revealed.

Ambulance board members were told this week that an absence level of seven per cent – well above the national average – has led to at least 574,000 missed hours since June 2014.

It is considerably worse than the five per cent NHS Scotland average, and the UK private sector mean of just 1.8 per cent.

The organisation admitted it was so concerned about sickness levels it is now in discussion with ambulance services across the UK to “identify best practice in absence management and share learning across the network”.

Earlier this year, it emerged bosses were even considering setting up a dedicated absence hotline just to deal with staff phoning in sick.

The Scottish Conservatives have urged ministers to step in and address the problem as a matter of urgency, with enduring high sickness levels likely to have an impact on the staff who remain as well as the quality of service offered to patients.

This is one more example of the failure of the centralisation of our NHS. Our service in Argyll and Bute is in particular trouble with the latest patient transport fiasco and a management structure that is central belt obsessed with little thought given to we in rural Scotland.

The management of NHS Scotland must understand that this one-size-fits-all policy for running our heath service must stop.

Alastair Redman, 23 Shore Street, Portnahaven, Islay

Polio charity to shine light on UK landmarks

As CEO of the British Polio Fellowship, I’m delighted to announce our latest project to raise awareness of the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS).

We’ll be projecting the colours of British Polio’s PPS Day emblem onto high-profile landmark buildings across the UK; and we’re extremely pleased to confirm the first landmark building as the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

Showing the well-known landmarks in a different light will allow us to draw attention to the issues that surround those living with the late effects of Polio and PPS, estimated to affect around 120,000 people in the UK.

We’re putting a call out to the authorities of landmark buildings throughout Britain that would like to be involved.

There will be no cost; all we need is permission to project on to the building and your venue wil not only be part of something extra special, you should receive a great deal of publicity for your building, too.

It’s the perfect opportunity to be part of an exciting project that is sure to capture the nation’s attention, whilst showing support for British Polio members and the wider differently able community. We’re urging anyone responsible for landmark buildings across the country to get involved!

I’m really looking forward to seeing our colours on some of the country’s most iconic examples of architecture. Thank you to the Millennium Bridge for getting the ball rolling! Please call Fatema at British Polio Fellowship on 0800 0 431935 for more information.

Ted Hill, British Polio Fellowship, 44 Clarendon Road, Watford

John Bryant

Wildlife Consultant

Animal Aid

The Old Chapel

Bradford Street