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Rural Scotland is dying of cold The black dog is at the door

A bleak evening on the Isle of Mull (Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

A bleak evening on the Isle of Mull (Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)


March 28, 2023   6 mins

Lindsay lives in a council house in Kirkwall, the largest town in Orkney, a starkly beautiful archipelago off the north coast of Scotland. Now in her mid-fifties, Lindsay has lived in her one-bedroom house for 17 years. She’s tended the garden, hung her pictures on the walls. But she has no great love for the place. It’s cold and damp. Very cold. Very damp. Cold enough that she can’t sleep. Damp enough that the clothes in her wardrobe turn green with mould. And it seems like nothing she does ever helps.

There are radiators. They work, and she puts them on. But the house doesn’t seem to get any warmer. This winter, she says, the temperature inside her house hovered between 10 and 12°C — well below the recommended domestic temperature range of 18 to 21°C. Every minute, as those heaters exude their vanishing warmth, the bills are ticking up, up, up. Currently, she says, it costs her between £10 and £15 a day to heat the little house — or to not heat it, which is what it really feels like she’s doing.

Lindsay suffers from chronic pain, one symptom of the fibromyalgia that impacts her ability to work, and the cold exacerbates her condition. Recently, she told me, it’s all become too much. She’s in crisis. Watching her money run out as she sleeps under a duvet that seems wet to the touch — it feels like more than anyone should have to cope with. She’s not sure that she can anymore.

When money is tight, all winters are bad winters. But at the turn of 2022-23, after energy costs soared, more Britons than ever have been facing hard choices and cold beds as they struggle to get by while wages stagnate and prices soar. From October 2021 to October 2022, domestic gas prices increased by 129% and electricity by 66%, according to data from the UK government; the average annual energy bill has increased almost 96% over the same period, to ÂŁ2,500.

With some fanfare, Liz Truss’s short-lived regime offered a “guarantee” that the energy price cap would not rise any further for households for at least another two years. Rishi Sunak’s administration soon rowed back on that — although the Budget earlier this month did extend the energy price cap for three more months, until June. As for the new SNP leader Humza Yousaf, who is now staring at a ÂŁ1.5 billion black hole in the national budget according to the Scottish Fiscal Commission, fuel poverty in Scotland’s coldest rural regions presents a significant financial challenge. All this uncertainty has left Lindsay, and those who have suffered similarly difficult winters, with little idea about what help they will or won’t be entitled to in the future.

Those living in rural Scotland are under singularly intense pressure. Because the price cap and associated guarantees apply to unit cost, not the total bill, bills will often end up more than ÂŁ2,500 in households requiring higher consumption to maintain a decent temperature. And for any homes where the main energy source is anything other mains gas or electricity, nothing is capped or guaranteed. Nearly 90% of homes in Na h-Eileanan Siar (also known as the Outer Hebrides) and 100% of homes in Orkney and Shetland are not connected to the mains gas grid, forcing residents to use more expensive and uncapped options such as bottled gas or domestic heating oil.

In Autumn 2022, Energy Action Scotland published an analysis that showed residents of some Scottish council areas — Na h-Eileanan Siar, Shetland, and Argyll and Bute — have seen bills rise to more than £4,000 a year. A huge outgoing when you consider that the median Scottish household income is £27,716. Partly these higher bills are a function of the harsher climate — those raging gales that blow in off the sea, battering the rooftops and bringing a bitter windchill for days at a time. But partly, too, it is linked to a poorer standard of housing; rural houses are less likely to be well insulated.

Lindsay’s experience underlines what the statistics tell us: cold homes are associated with both mental and physical illness. Long-term exposure to the cold increases the risk of respiratory and circulatory illnesses, as well as exacerbating the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Issues of damp and mould, common in poorly insulated and cold homes, are associated with asthma and respiratory infections, especially in children. The death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak due to breathing difficulties in a mouldy Rochdale flat, which inspired much soul-searching in England after the 2022 coroner’s inquest, occurred on the winter solstice in 2020.

“Physiologically,” Dr Raquel Nunes, an assistant professor of public health at Warwick University, told me, “the body will try to compensate for the cold. What happens is that the blood becomes thicker, and that can cause clots.” The clots can then cause heart attacks or strokes. “Cold also affects the ability of the body to fight infection. That increases the probability of common colds, flu, and other diseases.”

Unheated houses also have insidious effects on mental health. The fear of being unable to keep your family warm is a major source of anxiety. Those in fuel poverty often limit socialising — either because they stop inviting people to their homes, or simply go to bed early to keep warm under the blankets.

This rings true to Miranda, a woman in her early thirties who lives with a dog and a cat in a row of old farm workers cottages near the Dornoch Firth, in the northeast Highlands. She lives with complex health problems and as a result has been “medically retired” for some time and must rely on disability benefits. This has left her in dire financial straits. Hers is an old stone cottage, “only a small two-bedroom”, but though well-built it’s not good for retaining warmth. “It costs £15 a day to heat. I can’t afford that.” The cold, and the aches and anxiety that come with it, is “definitely having an effect on my head,” she says. Her depression, she says, is “horrific”. She just cannot see how she’s going to get through the next year.

As winter set in last year, new research confirmed that when people’s homes become cold, the danger of severe mental distress significantly increases. Data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study reveals that the risk doubles among those who have not previously suffered mental health problems; it triples for those who have previously suffered even minor symptoms. Those with underlying psychiatric disorders are also more likely to die or be admitted to hospital during periods of extreme cold.

Miranda’s problems are, unfortunately, increasingly common. Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that nearly a third of low-income households — more than 3 million of them — were already unable to adequately heat their homes in early 2022, before the impact of the energy price crisis were fully felt.

If the problems are distinctly intense in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, its people are also turning to one distinctive solution. Recent reports point to residents in the Western Isles, Caithness and Orkney reverting to traditional methods, cutting and drying more peat to use as fuel over winter; neat stacks of drying peat bricks line up along the road-sides all through Lewis and Harris. In January 2023, Press and Journal, the newspaper of the Highlands, carried an interview with Uist crofter Anne MacLellan, who had “got peat on the fire just now” as she talked, despite having “never heated her home with peat” in the past. She felt a “massive conflict” in light of the grim environmental consequences of disturbing and burning this carbon sink. But the quarter of Anne’s wage that was disappearing in energy bills each month was simply too much to bear.

Those in urban areas have different tactics — spending more time on public transport and other public spaces where they are not on the hook for keeping warm. All over the country, churches and community centres have opted to open their doors to those in need of a warm place to go. The Warm Welcome campaign maintains online listings of “warm banks” across the UK. There are more than 4,000 such hubs now open to the public — including synagogues, Salvation Army halls, pubs, and arts centres — their proliferation attesting not only to a remarkable generosity of spirit across civil society, but also to the extent of the crisis we now face.

Even those in full-time work are not exempt. Liam is a joiner and part-time gamekeeper who lives with his partner Rochelle and her teenage daughter in Dingwall, a market town around 30 minutes’ drive from Inverness. After finally managing to get together a deposit after years of saving, they bought a house — which when we spoke they were on the cusp of moving into — just as the cost-of-living crisis came to bite.

He gets a good wage, he says. And Rochelle works too, in an outdoors shop, albeit on a zero-hours contract. But even so — he runs the figures in his head as we talk — almost a quarter of his salary goes on energy, which works out at around £350 a month. Until recently, in their rented house, they were able to avoid turning the heating by burning offcuts he brought home from work in a wood-burning stove. In the new house they won’t have that option: “We’ll grudge pushing that button.”

They feel fortunate, relatively speaking. But the couple are not immune from the pressures. It’s visible all around them, etched into the faces of their Highland neighbours. “There’s no spirit,” Liam says, “everything has gone. It’s bleak. Very bleak. No one wants to enjoy themselves — there’s no going down the pub for a couple of pints, or having drinks with the girls. People think: that’s three days’ heating.”

He and Rochelle are made of stoic stuff. They’ve been through hell and back, he says — both are previously divorced, and lost family members in upsetting circumstances. Money worries are nothing new. They talk about it, figure out a plan. Such is the picture in homes across the UK: couples sitting down to crisis talks; single parents checking their balance, turning down the heat. The black dog at the door. For many people, it is all too much to bear. 

***

This piece was from a longer essay in Broke: Fixing Britain’s poverty crisis (Biteback Publishing), edited by Tom Clark. Additional reporting by Laura Beveridge.


Cal Flyn is an award-winning writer from the Highlands of Scotland. Her latest book is Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape.

calflyn

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David B
David B
1 year ago

Whilst I am sympathetic to the plight of the examples in this essay, there is no mention of any societal structures between the individuals themselves and the highest level of the State (Holyrood or Westminster).

Such a hollowed out Rousseau-esque situation is symptomatic of the ever-upwards consolidation of powers. Where are the churches, families, local organisations, community and voluntary associations, etc .? These elements of civic society have been progressively (pun intended) dismantled over recent decades (maybe longer), such that all the suffering people are dependent supplicants to an all-powerful, faceless, unaccountable and remote group of unreactive people.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  David B

This. Time we stopped kidding ourselves that we live in a democracy.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Parliamentary Democracy, the antithesis of Direct Democracy.*

(* As practiced by the land of William Tell.)

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

De Toqueville had a lot to answer for. A couple of weeks ago I got involved in a discussion about your point. My antagonist said that if we had proper democracy we would just decide one day to bomb Russia.
Two extreme positions. Either we have proper democracy and disaster or parliamentary democracy and disaster.
I think there must be a middle road. Like in Switzerland, as you say.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Great idea – let’s put every single governmental decision to a plebiscite. We could all be hooked up together via our smart phones voting several times a day – what could possibly go wrong?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Oddly the Swiss don’t quite do it like that, but perhaps you are unaware of that very simple fact?

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Of course – but who decides what goes to a vote? And how many is that? I suspect very few so hardly direct democracy so much as representative democracy with a bit of plebisciting (great new word!) thrown in so that the plebs can think that they are in direct control.

Ralph Hanke
Ralph Hanke
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

How about anything that gets voted on in parliament? That might be a start, wouldn’t it?

Ralph Hanke
Ralph Hanke
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

How about anything that gets voted on in parliament? That might be a start, wouldn’t it?

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Of course – but who decides what goes to a vote? And how many is that? I suspect very few so hardly direct democracy so much as representative democracy with a bit of plebisciting (great new word!) thrown in so that the plebs can think that they are in direct control.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Oddly the Swiss don’t quite do it like that, but perhaps you are unaware of that very simple fact?

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Yes, and I’d like to see him shoot an apple off Michael Gove’s plug-ugly head with his crossbow… after drinking half-a pint of cherry brandy.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

You mean get the Herr Gessler treatment?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

You mean get the Herr Gessler treatment?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

De Toqueville had a lot to answer for. A couple of weeks ago I got involved in a discussion about your point. My antagonist said that if we had proper democracy we would just decide one day to bomb Russia.
Two extreme positions. Either we have proper democracy and disaster or parliamentary democracy and disaster.
I think there must be a middle road. Like in Switzerland, as you say.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Great idea – let’s put every single governmental decision to a plebiscite. We could all be hooked up together via our smart phones voting several times a day – what could possibly go wrong?

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Yes, and I’d like to see him shoot an apple off Michael Gove’s plug-ugly head with his crossbow… after drinking half-a pint of cherry brandy.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Parliamentary Democracy, the antithesis of Direct Democracy.*

(* As practiced by the land of William Tell.)

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  David B

A big difference between rural and urban. Everything is easy if you live in town. Imagine the extra cost of sending letters to Orkney; or taking electricity to Orkney. Do we need a policy to depopulate all rural areas and build new high-rise flats in the towns?

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

St Kilda was abandoned in 1930 and it population shipped to the mainland.

Perhaps we should do the same with Orkney?

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

It wasn’t done by force, though. Unlike the British Indian Ocean Territory…

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Good old RAF Gan?

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

Not the same place at all, Charles. Gan is in the Maldives, BIOT is otherwise known as the Chagos Archipelago, including Diego Garcia.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

My mistake, nostalgia got the better of me!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

My mistake, nostalgia got the better of me!

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

Not the same place at all, Charles. Gan is in the Maldives, BIOT is otherwise known as the Chagos Archipelago, including Diego Garcia.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Good old RAF Gan?

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

But how is it when I read an article like this everyone on Orkney (or other places) is poor and suffering but if I see Orkney on say Countryfile or something,all the population are Artists from London boroughs who live it there and seem prosperous enough and can sell stuff they knock up from pebbles and driftwood on the beach for a few K quid a time. Are there two parallel populations. There probably are. From my own experience of rural places,there are usually two “communities” in that idyllic looking place who barely intermingle at all.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

Yes exactly, Cornwall probably being the classic example.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

Yes exactly, Cornwall probably being the classic example.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
1 year ago

And the Shetland Isles, the Outer Hebrides and the Inner Hebrides and then maybe do the Highland Clearances again and take everyone from the Highlands and dump them in the Central Belt or better take them to Englandshire…

Maybe if government wasn’t London… or Edinburgh… centric and those who govern the country knew something about the rest of the land under their care, Inc civil servants, we would be in a better place. Scotland is much colder and wetter than Englandshire in the winter. It is also darker. Maybe a better understanding of that would mean a fairer system when it comes to UC and other national benefits, and when it comes to caps on power prices.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

It wasn’t done by force, though. Unlike the British Indian Ocean Territory…

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

But how is it when I read an article like this everyone on Orkney (or other places) is poor and suffering but if I see Orkney on say Countryfile or something,all the population are Artists from London boroughs who live it there and seem prosperous enough and can sell stuff they knock up from pebbles and driftwood on the beach for a few K quid a time. Are there two parallel populations. There probably are. From my own experience of rural places,there are usually two “communities” in that idyllic looking place who barely intermingle at all.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
1 year ago

And the Shetland Isles, the Outer Hebrides and the Inner Hebrides and then maybe do the Highland Clearances again and take everyone from the Highlands and dump them in the Central Belt or better take them to Englandshire…

Maybe if government wasn’t London… or Edinburgh… centric and those who govern the country knew something about the rest of the land under their care, Inc civil servants, we would be in a better place. Scotland is much colder and wetter than Englandshire in the winter. It is also darker. Maybe a better understanding of that would mean a fairer system when it comes to UC and other national benefits, and when it comes to caps on power prices.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

The real question should be: Do we ship pods to Orkney for them to live in – or do we ship Orkadians to the Pod cities down South to live.

My guess is this will be the next Tory question after covid/Ukrain blows over. They can ‘Fallow the Social Science’.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Letters and Post Office parcels cost the same throughout the UK. Unfortunately electricity is more expensive in the Northern Isles, despite the fact that it is the oil produced here which generates much of the UK’s electricity.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

Afaik, there isn’t a refinery in either the Orkneys or Shetlands, so all the domestic fuel has to be shipped in. Perhaps the Scottish Government ought to build one, so that the islanders can have homegrown oil and gas.
Although, given the SG’s record with aluminium smelters, that might be a recipe for financial disaster.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

I thought all those islands now had community wind farms and were coining it.

Max Beran
Max Beran
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

Great gulf between what you have to pay for energy from the grid and the pump and what other people who run the grid and the pump will pay you for your homebrew stuff. We label them both “energy” but they aren’t the same as the “high entropy” variety you generate for yourself has much lower utility than the switch on – switch off variety that matches demand and keeps society running.

Max Beran
Max Beran
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

Great gulf between what you have to pay for energy from the grid and the pump and what other people who run the grid and the pump will pay you for your homebrew stuff. We label them both “energy” but they aren’t the same as the “high entropy” variety you generate for yourself has much lower utility than the switch on – switch off variety that matches demand and keeps society running.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

I thought all those islands now had community wind farms and were coining it.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

The price is the same, not the cost.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

Afaik, there isn’t a refinery in either the Orkneys or Shetlands, so all the domestic fuel has to be shipped in. Perhaps the Scottish Government ought to build one, so that the islanders can have homegrown oil and gas.
Although, given the SG’s record with aluminium smelters, that might be a recipe for financial disaster.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

The price is the same, not the cost.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

St Kilda was abandoned in 1930 and it population shipped to the mainland.

Perhaps we should do the same with Orkney?

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

The real question should be: Do we ship pods to Orkney for them to live in – or do we ship Orkadians to the Pod cities down South to live.

My guess is this will be the next Tory question after covid/Ukrain blows over. They can ‘Fallow the Social Science’.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Letters and Post Office parcels cost the same throughout the UK. Unfortunately electricity is more expensive in the Northern Isles, despite the fact that it is the oil produced here which generates much of the UK’s electricity.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  David B

And they are people who don’t appear to care about other people. Whether it is their own citizens – or the downstream citizens of the third world – much of the climate policy these days seems indifferent to human flourishing or suffering.

David B
David B
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Political Ponerology by Lobacewski goes some way to explaining how governments become populated at the top by the socio- and psycho-pathic. Worth a read (new edition out last year after many years of being impossible to source).

David B
David B
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Political Ponerology by Lobacewski goes some way to explaining how governments become populated at the top by the socio- and psycho-pathic. Worth a read (new edition out last year after many years of being impossible to source).

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  David B

This. Time we stopped kidding ourselves that we live in a democracy.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  David B

A big difference between rural and urban. Everything is easy if you live in town. Imagine the extra cost of sending letters to Orkney; or taking electricity to Orkney. Do we need a policy to depopulate all rural areas and build new high-rise flats in the towns?

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  David B

And they are people who don’t appear to care about other people. Whether it is their own citizens – or the downstream citizens of the third world – much of the climate policy these days seems indifferent to human flourishing or suffering.

David B
David B
1 year ago

Whilst I am sympathetic to the plight of the examples in this essay, there is no mention of any societal structures between the individuals themselves and the highest level of the State (Holyrood or Westminster).

Such a hollowed out Rousseau-esque situation is symptomatic of the ever-upwards consolidation of powers. Where are the churches, families, local organisations, community and voluntary associations, etc .? These elements of civic society have been progressively (pun intended) dismantled over recent decades (maybe longer), such that all the suffering people are dependent supplicants to an all-powerful, faceless, unaccountable and remote group of unreactive people.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago

Having visited the north of Scotland and talked to people there they felt forgotten by central government – with more reason than your average person. No help from Westminster and no help from Edinburgh. Once again (as with yesterday’s Kingsnorth article) the writer has a bit of a rose-tinted view of the past. The outer regions of Scotland have always been cold, wet and generally inhospitable. Back in the day there would have been multi-generational houses with lots of children running around. Now all the young people (and any children they have) are migrating to the towns or cities for opportunity. T’was ever thus but if you have 7 kids and 5 of them move away you still have someone to look after you. It makes me ask where is Miranda’s husband or boyfriend? It isn’t a dig at a marriagable age woman, I would ask the same of a chap in the same situation. Inhospitable regions are not meant for single people – if I had some pieces of advice for Miranda it would be get rid of your cat, find a partner and if you can’t stomach that then move away, it isn’t going to be better next year or the year after.

Shame green policies and the indifference of the devolved government were only gently probed by the author but a worthy article. Good work Unherd.

Last edited 1 year ago by Milton Gibbon
Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

No different to the South West, where rural poverty is widespread, and government investment the opposite. Our taxes go to nonsense like HS2 and the O2 and schemes that benefit the Home Counties.
That the main trunk road from the Home Counties to the South West is still half single lane, tells that tale loud and true.

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton

HS2 is of no benefit to the Home Counties, and at least the SW is not having its environment destroyed for the wretched vanity project.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton

A303? But you still have the M4/5 don’t you?

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Stop ruining his comment with the facts! Anyway, you can’t see Stonehenge from the M4 so it doesn’t count.

Lucy Browne
Lucy Browne
1 year ago

The A30, I’d have thought, since that’s the main road to the south west.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Lucy Browne

Then ‘they’ have two trunk roads and a Motorway, so what is the problem?

Additionally the GWR mainline from Plymouth to Penzance is prohibitively expensive to maintain, given its plethora of viaducts, and should be closed forthwith.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Lucy Browne

Then ‘they’ have two trunk roads and a Motorway, so what is the problem?

Additionally the GWR mainline from Plymouth to Penzance is prohibitively expensive to maintain, given its plethora of viaducts, and should be closed forthwith.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

M5 ends at Exeter, although the A38 is dual carriageway to Plymouth. That doesn’t help N Devon and Cornwall though.
Mind you, imagine the protests if the Government proposed extending the M5 to Land’s End.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Stop ruining his comment with the facts! Anyway, you can’t see Stonehenge from the M4 so it doesn’t count.

Lucy Browne
Lucy Browne
1 year ago

The A30, I’d have thought, since that’s the main road to the south west.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

M5 ends at Exeter, although the A38 is dual carriageway to Plymouth. That doesn’t help N Devon and Cornwall though.
Mind you, imagine the protests if the Government proposed extending the M5 to Land’s End.

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton

HS2 is of no benefit to the Home Counties, and at least the SW is not having its environment destroyed for the wretched vanity project.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton

A303? But you still have the M4/5 don’t you?

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Why the hell should she get rid of her cat and tolerate a man? She should pull herself together and get a job.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago

@JP At least the SW has the weather. I don’t think it’s a fair comparison to the winter in the Highlands.

@NF The SW has had its landscape blighted in other ways. From when I went as a child the villages on the Lizard are almost unrecognisable.

@CW That was a bit mean on my part (being a dog man myself) but the fact remains that a cat is only out for itself and doesn’t love you more than someone else who will feed it – unlike a dog. My point wasn’t that she needs a man but someone to support her. Two people living under the same roof pay less in bills and if they sleep in the same bed that drops even further. Not a huge number of jobs for the physically unfit on Orkney.

Last edited 1 year ago by Milton Gibbon
Lucy Browne
Lucy Browne
1 year ago

Christ almighty, I hope if you’re ever in need of empathy and compassion from anyone, you get exactly as much as you’ve shown here.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

I find your Patriarchy tendencies off-putting Caroline,

Why doesn’t she get a wife, and her cat too?

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago

@JP At least the SW has the weather. I don’t think it’s a fair comparison to the winter in the Highlands.

@NF The SW has had its landscape blighted in other ways. From when I went as a child the villages on the Lizard are almost unrecognisable.

@CW That was a bit mean on my part (being a dog man myself) but the fact remains that a cat is only out for itself and doesn’t love you more than someone else who will feed it – unlike a dog. My point wasn’t that she needs a man but someone to support her. Two people living under the same roof pay less in bills and if they sleep in the same bed that drops even further. Not a huge number of jobs for the physically unfit on Orkney.

Last edited 1 year ago by Milton Gibbon
Lucy Browne
Lucy Browne
1 year ago

Christ almighty, I hope if you’re ever in need of empathy and compassion from anyone, you get exactly as much as you’ve shown here.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

I find your Patriarchy tendencies off-putting Caroline,

Why doesn’t she get a wife, and her cat too?

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

No different to the South West, where rural poverty is widespread, and government investment the opposite. Our taxes go to nonsense like HS2 and the O2 and schemes that benefit the Home Counties.
That the main trunk road from the Home Counties to the South West is still half single lane, tells that tale loud and true.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Why the hell should she get rid of her cat and tolerate a man? She should pull herself together and get a job.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago

Having visited the north of Scotland and talked to people there they felt forgotten by central government – with more reason than your average person. No help from Westminster and no help from Edinburgh. Once again (as with yesterday’s Kingsnorth article) the writer has a bit of a rose-tinted view of the past. The outer regions of Scotland have always been cold, wet and generally inhospitable. Back in the day there would have been multi-generational houses with lots of children running around. Now all the young people (and any children they have) are migrating to the towns or cities for opportunity. T’was ever thus but if you have 7 kids and 5 of them move away you still have someone to look after you. It makes me ask where is Miranda’s husband or boyfriend? It isn’t a dig at a marriagable age woman, I would ask the same of a chap in the same situation. Inhospitable regions are not meant for single people – if I had some pieces of advice for Miranda it would be get rid of your cat, find a partner and if you can’t stomach that then move away, it isn’t going to be better next year or the year after.

Shame green policies and the indifference of the devolved government were only gently probed by the author but a worthy article. Good work Unherd.

Last edited 1 year ago by Milton Gibbon
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

It’s cold and damp. Very cold. Very damp. Cold enough that she can’t sleep. Damp enough that the clothes in her wardrobe turn green with mould.

ï»żThis global warming that I keep reading about is a b****r!

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Having lived in the Far North a good deal, even in Orkney, oddly enough, I am surprised the writer does not explain the problem.

The Highland and Island stone houses were built for fireplaces. The fireplace sends out radiant heat which heats the room air allowing it to absorb a much greater amount of moisture than the outside cold air. This is then vented up the chimney with the smoke. The fireplace is a water pump extracting water from inside making it dry and passing the water up the chimney, and warmth next to the fire.

Cold stone walls of the house heated by radiators and closed windows condense the water on them. A human produces huge amounts of water by metabolic processes, breath and evaporation from skin. Then cooking and washing, then the wet outside air and wet clothing from the endless mist. These pump water into the air which condense on the walls and everything not warmer than room ail – like her bedding and in her closet. The house is a water Trap.

A heat pump with dehumidifier function – One NOT like the stupid heat pumps the British use – but like the ones everyone around the world use – which use forced air from a wall mounted air handler, so would give a localized warmth so the person could sit near it, like a fireplace so there was a place to be warm – And with dehumidifier function could help dry at night.

The WRONG HEATING SYSTEM for that land and house is used as the stupid people are trying to use conventional systems where innovative is needed. look at normal A/C Heat pumps – using Air handlers/ heat exchanges mounted on the wall – blowing out hot air. Why the British have to use the radiators is crazy for small place retrofits in cold lands – Does not work right.
Here – typical units, called mini splits – compressor outside, wall mount heat exchange inside, and so CHEAP and fast to install. I can put one in a day.

Her high cost and misery is unnecessary.

https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=mini+split&iax=images&ia=images

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

P.S. I put these in all my places – they run one way for Air Condition cooling, and the same machine runs in reverse to heat. Those 18,000 BTU units come complete with everything but an outlet. Can be installed my me alone in a day, and cost maybe ÂŁ1000.

They charge a lot to install them – and she would ideally have a small one for her bedroom, say 9000 BTU, for ÂŁ 500 too (always get 2 units instead of one which does 2 air-handlers. The cost is the same, and if one dies the other one keeps working with 2 separate units.)

Then one can run on de-humidify wile the other one heats.

Total cost, ÂŁ 1500, ÂŁ3000 installed. Done – (for 2 units)

Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Elliot you are a genius. Thanks for explaining the non-obvious causes of the lady’s problems and then giving a clear achievable and intriguing solution. You would imagine the local authority in that area might share your knowledge and practicality, but apparently not.
I think if you were prime minister/president (not certain if you are UK based) a lot of problems might get solved in the world.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stevie K
Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Elliot you are a genius. Thanks for explaining the non-obvious causes of the lady’s problems and then giving a clear achievable and intriguing solution. You would imagine the local authority in that area might share your knowledge and practicality, but apparently not.
I think if you were prime minister/president (not certain if you are UK based) a lot of problems might get solved in the world.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stevie K
Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

To call upon your expertise Elliot
Are these Mini-Split systems the same type of heat pump currently being championed as a solution to Net Zero etc?What are the running costs compared to gas boiler with radiatorsAre there any downsides to consider such as efficiency during very cold weather?

Last edited 1 year ago by Stevie K
Paul M
Paul M
1 year ago
Reply to  Stevie K

Yes, sort of. They’re championing the large-sized and expensive (whole house) units as a solution to Net Zero. What Elliott is talking about is the same tech, just smaller, significantly cheaper, designed for one to two room area. I’m not sure why all of a sudden people have jumped on the heat-pump bandwagon as an energy saviour, when large parts of the world (including here in SE US) have been running heat-pumps for AC/heating for 30+ years. Running costs? Well, as always, the devil’s in the details. I run a heat pump (not a mini-split), hooked up to central ducting/blower that cools/heats the whole house (or at least it tries to). AC functions here in the hot area of the US are very expensive, roughly 5KW@240V of power draw. Heating is roughly 3.5-4KW@240V, but I rarely ever heat with it, as I burn wood (does a much better job and it is free). It performs poorly in extreme cold, but my heat pump is 20 years old, I’m told the new and expensive units do a good job even down to 30F or so. Hard to compare costs to gas boiler, as gas in my area is dirt cheap. I would guess, on the average, much cheaper to run on electricity than on gas, but then again, how low do your temps drop?

Paul M
Paul M
1 year ago
Reply to  Stevie K

Yes, sort of. They’re championing the large-sized and expensive (whole house) units as a solution to Net Zero. What Elliott is talking about is the same tech, just smaller, significantly cheaper, designed for one to two room area. I’m not sure why all of a sudden people have jumped on the heat-pump bandwagon as an energy saviour, when large parts of the world (including here in SE US) have been running heat-pumps for AC/heating for 30+ years. Running costs? Well, as always, the devil’s in the details. I run a heat pump (not a mini-split), hooked up to central ducting/blower that cools/heats the whole house (or at least it tries to). AC functions here in the hot area of the US are very expensive, roughly 5KW@240V of power draw. Heating is roughly 3.5-4KW@240V, but I rarely ever heat with it, as I burn wood (does a much better job and it is free). It performs poorly in extreme cold, but my heat pump is 20 years old, I’m told the new and expensive units do a good job even down to 30F or so. Hard to compare costs to gas boiler, as gas in my area is dirt cheap. I would guess, on the average, much cheaper to run on electricity than on gas, but then again, how low do your temps drop?

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

P.S. I put these in all my places – they run one way for Air Condition cooling, and the same machine runs in reverse to heat. Those 18,000 BTU units come complete with everything but an outlet. Can be installed my me alone in a day, and cost maybe ÂŁ1000.

They charge a lot to install them – and she would ideally have a small one for her bedroom, say 9000 BTU, for ÂŁ 500 too (always get 2 units instead of one which does 2 air-handlers. The cost is the same, and if one dies the other one keeps working with 2 separate units.)

Then one can run on de-humidify wile the other one heats.

Total cost, ÂŁ 1500, ÂŁ3000 installed. Done – (for 2 units)

Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

To call upon your expertise Elliot
Are these Mini-Split systems the same type of heat pump currently being championed as a solution to Net Zero etc?What are the running costs compared to gas boiler with radiatorsAre there any downsides to consider such as efficiency during very cold weather?

Last edited 1 year ago by Stevie K
Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

It’s not that simple as I’m sure you know.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Having lived in the Far North a good deal, even in Orkney, oddly enough, I am surprised the writer does not explain the problem.

The Highland and Island stone houses were built for fireplaces. The fireplace sends out radiant heat which heats the room air allowing it to absorb a much greater amount of moisture than the outside cold air. This is then vented up the chimney with the smoke. The fireplace is a water pump extracting water from inside making it dry and passing the water up the chimney, and warmth next to the fire.

Cold stone walls of the house heated by radiators and closed windows condense the water on them. A human produces huge amounts of water by metabolic processes, breath and evaporation from skin. Then cooking and washing, then the wet outside air and wet clothing from the endless mist. These pump water into the air which condense on the walls and everything not warmer than room ail – like her bedding and in her closet. The house is a water Trap.

A heat pump with dehumidifier function – One NOT like the stupid heat pumps the British use – but like the ones everyone around the world use – which use forced air from a wall mounted air handler, so would give a localized warmth so the person could sit near it, like a fireplace so there was a place to be warm – And with dehumidifier function could help dry at night.

The WRONG HEATING SYSTEM for that land and house is used as the stupid people are trying to use conventional systems where innovative is needed. look at normal A/C Heat pumps – using Air handlers/ heat exchanges mounted on the wall – blowing out hot air. Why the British have to use the radiators is crazy for small place retrofits in cold lands – Does not work right.
Here – typical units, called mini splits – compressor outside, wall mount heat exchange inside, and so CHEAP and fast to install. I can put one in a day.

Her high cost and misery is unnecessary.

https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=mini+split&iax=images&ia=images

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

It’s not that simple as I’m sure you know.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

It’s cold and damp. Very cold. Very damp. Cold enough that she can’t sleep. Damp enough that the clothes in her wardrobe turn green with mould.

ï»żThis global warming that I keep reading about is a b****r!

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

We have to stimulate a public conversation about the idiocy of the so-called Green movement.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Indeed, how ridiculous it would be to generate electricity in the Scottish islands from local wind power and, no doubt soon enough, tidal power – much better to ship fossil fuels from around the world there to do that eh!

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

As I say above, wind power is great as long as you can’t see the turbines. As I also say today, all of you people should volunteer to lead the way – cut off gas, walk everywhere, give up your passports, etc, to show people like me how stupid they are. How about a million Earthers gathering together and burning their passports!!
Instead of talking, lead by example.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I have no objection to seeing the turbines. To use the phrase ‘you people’ really does say more about you than me. If caring about the environment and the prospects for my grandchildren makes me an ‘Earther’ in your eyes, then I am proud to be one. What is more idiotic, concern about the environment or not having such concern?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

We are all concerned about the environment. The issue is whether we truly need a massive restructuring of society in order to save the planet from what the planet has done for over a billion years, with or without automobiles and nitrogen fertilizer. It’s a complete rouse.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Or peak oil.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Or peak oil.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Believe it or not, I have a very great concern because I have great-grandchilren. But, windpower is not the answer. Nuclear power ticks all the boxes but people are frightened of it.
Last week I talked about the nuclear power station in Anglesey. It has been shut down (natural end of life) but not quite decommissioned. It means good jobs and a long term source of electricity if it is recommissioned. But nobody will have it. Instead there are ideas about wind turbines. Everybody wants to hug a wind turbine but not if it spoils the view from their kitchen window.
I have worked on the corrosion protection of wind turbines. In the sea you have no chance – very short lifetimes, poor efficiency.
A nuclear power station went on line fairly recently – Hinckley Point C. But it took years and years to fight all the legal cases and other protests.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Wind-power is pretty darn good these days. I suggest you look at https://gridwatch.co.uk/ to see how much it can contribute. There is plenty of space for offshore wind-farms and some for onshore too (which are cheaper). Using off-peak power to store energy via pumped water is the way to go. Nuclear is so expensive to build, the reactors only last 20 to 40 years, and are a devil to decommission.

JR Hartley
JR Hartley
1 year ago

Try looking at gridwatch in the Winter. Then we get many days with little wind, so only a few hundred megawatts. Gas, nuclear and coal then has to bridge the gap.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Hartley

Yes, of course the wind doesn’t blow all the time, and the sun doesn’t shine at night, or appear for long in the winter, etc etc. But the point is that about 25% of the UKs electricity annually is now derived from wind-power, and there is room for more.

There are no easy options here: burn gas whose price fluctuates wildly on a global market (I trade commodities: we don’t call it Gas Vegas for nothing) sold to us by despots; spend a lot of money on nuclear power stations and kick the can of decommissioning down the road (not to mention the planning objections and potential disasters). Pragmatically, we do need some nuclear for the base-load, but we also need to focus on energy-saving and research into better storage too.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Hartley

Yes, of course the wind doesn’t blow all the time, and the sun doesn’t shine at night, or appear for long in the winter, etc etc. But the point is that about 25% of the UKs electricity annually is now derived from wind-power, and there is room for more.

There are no easy options here: burn gas whose price fluctuates wildly on a global market (I trade commodities: we don’t call it Gas Vegas for nothing) sold to us by despots; spend a lot of money on nuclear power stations and kick the can of decommissioning down the road (not to mention the planning objections and potential disasters). Pragmatically, we do need some nuclear for the base-load, but we also need to focus on energy-saving and research into better storage too.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Off-peak power, as in Dinorwic, does not save electricity. It is a costing exercise only. It is also limited in its adaptability. We don’t have batteries good enough for storage and I would say that we never will – because of the Third Law of Thermodynamics.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I’m referring to this scheme: https://www.sse.com/news-and-views/2023/03/britain-s-largest-pumped-hydro-scheme-in-40-years-gets-100m-investment-boost/

A much better investment in infrastructure and the future than the God-awful HS2.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

OK, so I’ve read it. It doesn’t change my comment. The Dinorwic scheme (much smaller) does the same. It pumps water up a hill at night and allows it to fall by gravity during the day. It uses off-peak power as does the Highland scheme.
Firstly, there isn’t enough wind power to do this by about a factor of 10, or more. The Dinorwic scheme uses regular available power.
Secondly, where will the wind turbines be situated? I would bet you that if Scotland was filled with wind turbines, people would say that it would spoil the environment (meaning the appearance of the place).
Thirdly, everyone thinks that wind turbines belong in the sea. As a professional Corrosion Engineer, I can tell you that this just won’t happen. At the moment, the existing turbines are struggling after, say, 10 years. Nobody can maintain them fast enough.
Fourthly, the idea is good. We need more good ideas and you are correct in this. But each area needs an individually-tailored idea. Who is doing this?
I am 100% in favour of wind power but only if the generator is close to the user because of the ease of maintenance. I look out of my kitchen window and see 34 wind turbines in the distance. Some days they don’t turn all day. Most days at least 7 are inoperative. The further away they are from people, the more difficult they are to maintain. The further away they are from people the more energy is consumed in the transmission of the electricity to the user.
Therefore, if you want to save the Environment (capital ‘E’), you will have to change the environment, small ‘e’.
More people should point out these things as you have done. You are making an effort. Sometimes I get angry at those who say, ‘Save the Planet’, and then do nothing.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Well, I imagine corrosion is a problem for many types of energy generation equipment. It can be a particularly vexatious problem in nuclear power stations, with all the obvious consequent dangers. The French have been experiencing corrosion in their nuclear plants recently which drove up electricity prices there (and also for others who take supply from them via interconnectors).

Seeing some idle wind-turbines out of your window is hardly a representative sample size now, is it? And just because the wind isn’t blowing round your way, doesn’t mean it isn’t howling a gale elsewhere in the UK. But fair point that there are completely wind free days all over the UK.

As for locality of consumption and generation, isn’t that what high-tension cables are for? I must be several hundred miles from my nearest nuclear power plant, but so what?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

As you pass electricity through a cable it generates heat, effectively turning the electrical energy into heat energy. The further you push it through the overhead lines, the more electricity is lost. If you are hundreds of miles from a generator I would suggest that they have to generate 120 units to get 100 units to you. 20% wasted.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Thanks, I will add transmission loss to my off-duty research list (I’m not being sarcastic).

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Thanks, I will add transmission loss to my off-duty research list (I’m not being sarcastic).

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

As you pass electricity through a cable it generates heat, effectively turning the electrical energy into heat energy. The further you push it through the overhead lines, the more electricity is lost. If you are hundreds of miles from a generator I would suggest that they have to generate 120 units to get 100 units to you. 20% wasted.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Well, I imagine corrosion is a problem for many types of energy generation equipment. It can be a particularly vexatious problem in nuclear power stations, with all the obvious consequent dangers. The French have been experiencing corrosion in their nuclear plants recently which drove up electricity prices there (and also for others who take supply from them via interconnectors).

Seeing some idle wind-turbines out of your window is hardly a representative sample size now, is it? And just because the wind isn’t blowing round your way, doesn’t mean it isn’t howling a gale elsewhere in the UK. But fair point that there are completely wind free days all over the UK.

As for locality of consumption and generation, isn’t that what high-tension cables are for? I must be several hundred miles from my nearest nuclear power plant, but so what?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

OK, so I’ve read it. It doesn’t change my comment. The Dinorwic scheme (much smaller) does the same. It pumps water up a hill at night and allows it to fall by gravity during the day. It uses off-peak power as does the Highland scheme.
Firstly, there isn’t enough wind power to do this by about a factor of 10, or more. The Dinorwic scheme uses regular available power.
Secondly, where will the wind turbines be situated? I would bet you that if Scotland was filled with wind turbines, people would say that it would spoil the environment (meaning the appearance of the place).
Thirdly, everyone thinks that wind turbines belong in the sea. As a professional Corrosion Engineer, I can tell you that this just won’t happen. At the moment, the existing turbines are struggling after, say, 10 years. Nobody can maintain them fast enough.
Fourthly, the idea is good. We need more good ideas and you are correct in this. But each area needs an individually-tailored idea. Who is doing this?
I am 100% in favour of wind power but only if the generator is close to the user because of the ease of maintenance. I look out of my kitchen window and see 34 wind turbines in the distance. Some days they don’t turn all day. Most days at least 7 are inoperative. The further away they are from people, the more difficult they are to maintain. The further away they are from people the more energy is consumed in the transmission of the electricity to the user.
Therefore, if you want to save the Environment (capital ‘E’), you will have to change the environment, small ‘e’.
More people should point out these things as you have done. You are making an effort. Sometimes I get angry at those who say, ‘Save the Planet’, and then do nothing.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I’m referring to this scheme: https://www.sse.com/news-and-views/2023/03/britain-s-largest-pumped-hydro-scheme-in-40-years-gets-100m-investment-boost/

A much better investment in infrastructure and the future than the God-awful HS2.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
JR Hartley
JR Hartley
1 year ago

Try looking at gridwatch in the Winter. Then we get many days with little wind, so only a few hundred megawatts. Gas, nuclear and coal then has to bridge the gap.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Off-peak power, as in Dinorwic, does not save electricity. It is a costing exercise only. It is also limited in its adaptability. We don’t have batteries good enough for storage and I would say that we never will – because of the Third Law of Thermodynamics.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Wind-power is pretty darn good these days. I suggest you look at https://gridwatch.co.uk/ to see how much it can contribute. There is plenty of space for offshore wind-farms and some for onshore too (which are cheaper). Using off-peak power to store energy via pumped water is the way to go. Nuclear is so expensive to build, the reactors only last 20 to 40 years, and are a devil to decommission.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

We are all concerned about the environment. The issue is whether we truly need a massive restructuring of society in order to save the planet from what the planet has done for over a billion years, with or without automobiles and nitrogen fertilizer. It’s a complete rouse.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Believe it or not, I have a very great concern because I have great-grandchilren. But, windpower is not the answer. Nuclear power ticks all the boxes but people are frightened of it.
Last week I talked about the nuclear power station in Anglesey. It has been shut down (natural end of life) but not quite decommissioned. It means good jobs and a long term source of electricity if it is recommissioned. But nobody will have it. Instead there are ideas about wind turbines. Everybody wants to hug a wind turbine but not if it spoils the view from their kitchen window.
I have worked on the corrosion protection of wind turbines. In the sea you have no chance – very short lifetimes, poor efficiency.
A nuclear power station went on line fairly recently – Hinckley Point C. But it took years and years to fight all the legal cases and other protests.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I have no objection to seeing the turbines. To use the phrase ‘you people’ really does say more about you than me. If caring about the environment and the prospects for my grandchildren makes me an ‘Earther’ in your eyes, then I am proud to be one. What is more idiotic, concern about the environment or not having such concern?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

As I say above, wind power is great as long as you can’t see the turbines. As I also say today, all of you people should volunteer to lead the way – cut off gas, walk everywhere, give up your passports, etc, to show people like me how stupid they are. How about a million Earthers gathering together and burning their passports!!
Instead of talking, lead by example.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Indeed, how ridiculous it would be to generate electricity in the Scottish islands from local wind power and, no doubt soon enough, tidal power – much better to ship fossil fuels from around the world there to do that eh!

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

We have to stimulate a public conversation about the idiocy of the so-called Green movement.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Humza Yousaf won’t care about these people. They’re far too white.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Humza Yousaf won’t care about these people. They’re far too white.

Peter Kwasi-Modo
Peter Kwasi-Modo
1 year ago

Many thanks to Cal Flyn for this piece. I am interested that there is no mention of of the traditional energy source for the Highlands and Islands, peat. In bygone years, cutting peat took up a huge proportion of crofters’ time.
Yes, I know that this is the bĂȘte noire of the environmentalists. But if there is no alternative, sod them (pun intended). Just bear in mind that the German’s burn brown coal so that they can make BMWs and the Chinese burn brown coal to power their computers that search for bitcoin magic numbers. So burning peat to keep warm, until someone comes up with a viable alternative, is justified.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
1 year ago

You seem to have missed this paragraph:

Recent reports point to residents in the Western Isles, Caithness and Orkney reverting to traditional methods, cutting and drying more peat to use as fuel over winter; neat stacks of drying peat bricks line up along the road-sides all through Lewis and Harris. In January 2023, Press and Journal, the newspaper of the Highlands, carried an interview with Uist crofter Anne MacLellan, who had “got peat on the fire just now” as she talked, despite having “never heated her home with peat” in the past. She felt a “massive conflict” in light of the grim environmental consequences of disturbing and burning this carbon sink. But the quarter of Anne’s wage that was disappearing in energy bills each month was simply too much to bear.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark Goodhand
tim richardson
tim richardson
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

What is the carbon footprint of peat compared to similar energetic output for coal?

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  tim richardson

But peat’s a RENEWABLE, isn’t it?
They’re only burning BIOMASS: just like the heavily-subsidised ‘green’ furnaces that run on, er, trees.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

And are shipped from Portland, Oregon to DRAX, a journey of about 14,700 nautical miles*

(* Going via The Horn.)

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Really, who knew that going eco could evoke the twin spectres of Derek & Clive?

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

Most of the biomass wood pellets come from Mississippi, and just cross the Gulf and Atlantic.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago

Indeed, BIOMASS is BS.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

Yes, and that’s simply to satisfy a shortsighted government mandate to burn “biomass”. The Japanese have a much more sensible use for Oregon wood chips, which are basically ground-up inferior logs: feedstock for their paper mills.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Really, who knew that going eco could evoke the twin spectres of Derek & Clive?

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

Most of the biomass wood pellets come from Mississippi, and just cross the Gulf and Atlantic.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago

Indeed, BIOMASS is BS.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

Yes, and that’s simply to satisfy a shortsighted government mandate to burn “biomass”. The Japanese have a much more sensible use for Oregon wood chips, which are basically ground-up inferior logs: feedstock for their paper mills.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

And are shipped from Portland, Oregon to DRAX, a journey of about 14,700 nautical miles*

(* Going via The Horn.)

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  tim richardson

But peat’s a RENEWABLE, isn’t it?
They’re only burning BIOMASS: just like the heavily-subsidised ‘green’ furnaces that run on, er, trees.

tim richardson
tim richardson
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

What is the carbon footprint of peat compared to similar energetic output for coal?

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Those pesky environmentalists eh – sod the environment, we’ll be dead soon enough so who cares.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

So lead on. Environmentalists are good at bullying people. Take out your heating, scrap your car.

Ragnar Lothbrok
Ragnar Lothbrok
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

It is the environmentalist rhetoric from acid rain to the forthcoming ice age, or is that global warming, that is alarmist and misplaced. Please do take the lead and let us know on here how you find your heat pump run off solar panels, with no car and absolutely no air travel. Sensible environmental polices are fine, its just the manic mantra of Greta and her uninformed acolytes the average person rails against.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ragnar Lothbrok
jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

Whatever happened to acid rain. Im glad it’s not about anymore. Also the hole in the ozone layer has healed up. I actually read a piece on this written by two Australian scientists who said there was no hole in the ozone layer now because we,the public took the action advised and changed our fridges and stopped using hair spray. So these environmental issues can be solved. Tinkerbelle does not have to die.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

I think that it was more that governments actually took notice for once and banned CFCs (or whatever they were) rather than people not using them voluntarily, which let’s face it would be unlikely – you aren’t going to change your fridge just for that are you? However I think I read recently that massive surreptitious releases of whatever is bad for the ozone layer have been identified in China.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

CFCs again I think and you are correct about the release. But it hasn’t attracted much attention, has it.
Can I just say that I am a massive fan of preserving the Environment for the future. What I can’t accept, and I guess this is what UnHerd is all about, is that our governments are lying and cheating and pretending to do things, instead of doing real things. If you are interested I can point you to a great TV series, run by young environmentalists, which is showing the sheer evil of it all. The various meetings and protocols are shown to be shams.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

CFCs again I think and you are correct about the release. But it hasn’t attracted much attention, has it.
Can I just say that I am a massive fan of preserving the Environment for the future. What I can’t accept, and I guess this is what UnHerd is all about, is that our governments are lying and cheating and pretending to do things, instead of doing real things. If you are interested I can point you to a great TV series, run by young environmentalists, which is showing the sheer evil of it all. The various meetings and protocols are shown to be shams.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

I think that it was more that governments actually took notice for once and banned CFCs (or whatever they were) rather than people not using them voluntarily, which let’s face it would be unlikely – you aren’t going to change your fridge just for that are you? However I think I read recently that massive surreptitious releases of whatever is bad for the ozone layer have been identified in China.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

Whatever happened to acid rain. Im glad it’s not about anymore. Also the hole in the ozone layer has healed up. I actually read a piece on this written by two Australian scientists who said there was no hole in the ozone layer now because we,the public took the action advised and changed our fridges and stopped using hair spray. So these environmental issues can be solved. Tinkerbelle does not have to die.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

So lead on. Environmentalists are good at bullying people. Take out your heating, scrap your car.

Ragnar Lothbrok
Ragnar Lothbrok
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

It is the environmentalist rhetoric from acid rain to the forthcoming ice age, or is that global warming, that is alarmist and misplaced. Please do take the lead and let us know on here how you find your heat pump run off solar panels, with no car and absolutely no air travel. Sensible environmental polices are fine, its just the manic mantra of Greta and her uninformed acolytes the average person rails against.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ragnar Lothbrok
Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
1 year ago

You seem to have missed this paragraph:

Recent reports point to residents in the Western Isles, Caithness and Orkney reverting to traditional methods, cutting and drying more peat to use as fuel over winter; neat stacks of drying peat bricks line up along the road-sides all through Lewis and Harris. In January 2023, Press and Journal, the newspaper of the Highlands, carried an interview with Uist crofter Anne MacLellan, who had “got peat on the fire just now” as she talked, despite having “never heated her home with peat” in the past. She felt a “massive conflict” in light of the grim environmental consequences of disturbing and burning this carbon sink. But the quarter of Anne’s wage that was disappearing in energy bills each month was simply too much to bear.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark Goodhand
Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Those pesky environmentalists eh – sod the environment, we’ll be dead soon enough so who cares.

Peter Kwasi-Modo
Peter Kwasi-Modo
1 year ago

Many thanks to Cal Flyn for this piece. I am interested that there is no mention of of the traditional energy source for the Highlands and Islands, peat. In bygone years, cutting peat took up a huge proportion of crofters’ time.
Yes, I know that this is the bĂȘte noire of the environmentalists. But if there is no alternative, sod them (pun intended). Just bear in mind that the German’s burn brown coal so that they can make BMWs and the Chinese burn brown coal to power their computers that search for bitcoin magic numbers. So burning peat to keep warm, until someone comes up with a viable alternative, is justified.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

What about all this astronomically subsidised ‘Green Energy’ we are always being harangued about?
Granted the sun never shines in Orkney but what about the incessant wind?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

People only want wind power where they can’t see the turbines. We could start with wind turbines in Hyde Park.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Not enough wind, but Hampstead Heath, the epicentre of Quislington* would be ideal.

(* Thank you FB.)

Sue Whorton
Sue Whorton
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Apparently some of the windmills in Scotland run on back up diesel generators

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Sue Whorton

Very good.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Sue Whorton

Very good.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Not enough wind, but Hampstead Heath, the epicentre of Quislington* would be ideal.

(* Thank you FB.)

Sue Whorton
Sue Whorton
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Apparently some of the windmills in Scotland run on back up diesel generators

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Could you explain how you consider ‘green energy’ in the UK to be heavily, indeed ‘astronomically’, subsidised. As I understand it although there were subsidies available in the early days of solar and wind power, not unreasonable to kick start take-up and encourage technological development (you may disagree), there is no longer anything substantial on the subsidy front. I am no expert so may well be wrong, so I am genuinely interested in your answer.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price
Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

On nuclear, perhaps you’re right. But if oil is so, er, ‘massively subsidised;, how come HMG manages to tax it so heavily, in Corporation Tax, in ‘NI’ and Income Tax on the wages of those who extract and supply it, and in Fuel Duty and VAT at the pump?

Colin MacDonald
Colin MacDonald
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Two countries, Norway and Denmark. The first has blown billions on expensive offshore oil while the second is covered in inexpensive wind turbines, subsidy free according to the Graun. But which country has the trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund? Must be Denmark…

Colin MacDonald
Colin MacDonald
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Two countries, Norway and Denmark. The first has blown billions on expensive offshore oil while the second is covered in inexpensive wind turbines, subsidy free according to the Graun. But which country has the trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund? Must be Denmark…

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

On nuclear, perhaps you’re right. But if oil is so, er, ‘massively subsidised;, how come HMG manages to tax it so heavily, in Corporation Tax, in ‘NI’ and Income Tax on the wages of those who extract and supply it, and in Fuel Duty and VAT at the pump?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

You answered your question in your first two sentences.

As to your claim that:-“there is no longer anything substantial on the subsidy front” I’m not sure about that, having spent a fruitless hour trying to cut my way through all the toxic propaganda that surrounds this subject. Even HMG’s website is predictably next to worthless.

Thus while I assume that annual subsidies have decreased as you claim, they are still substantial by most measures.
Perhaps there is an UnHerd ‘expert’ out there who can settle this matter?

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

I made no such ‘claim’, just said that is what I understood but await help from someone more knowledgeable. How can you say so decisively that subsidies are ‘still substantial’ if you have absolutely no idea what they are, or are not? Do you still think that they are likely to be ‘astronomical’?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

I can’t answer this. But I do know that power losses from the point of generation to the point of use are unbelievable. For Scottish islands, I would guess at 15%. Even more if you generate the electricity in Scotland and send it to London. As the cost per unit (for comparison purposes, not for consumers) is measured at the point of generation, this is effectively a very large subsidy.
I have worked for years as a supplier and then consultant to the National Grid. In all schemes for the future, the point of generation is very important. So the idea of putting turbines somewhere in the distance, in the sea perhaps, will rarely add up.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

There is also the massive environmental and financial cost of sourcing and constructing heavy-duty power lines to try to minimise the % of transmission loss.
These big lines are best run overhead via pylons through wild areas (not a good environmental look!) to eliminate the complications and exponential costs of cooling and maintaining underground lines.
The fact remains that nothing has yet replaced the energy-density, dispatchability and portability (so that generation can be placed most efficiently) of hydrocarbons. Only nuclear comes close, unless you happen to live in a city close to a high-altitude hydro dam, like much of Norway or Iceland.

Last edited 1 year ago by nadnadnerb
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Yes, power lines don’t look good. But they are not bad for the environment – depending on your definition of environment.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Yes, power lines don’t look good. But they are not bad for the environment – depending on your definition of environment.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

There is also the massive environmental and financial cost of sourcing and constructing heavy-duty power lines to try to minimise the % of transmission loss.
These big lines are best run overhead via pylons through wild areas (not a good environmental look!) to eliminate the complications and exponential costs of cooling and maintaining underground lines.
The fact remains that nothing has yet replaced the energy-density, dispatchability and portability (so that generation can be placed most efficiently) of hydrocarbons. Only nuclear comes close, unless you happen to live in a city close to a high-altitude hydro dam, like much of Norway or Iceland.

Last edited 1 year ago by nadnadnerb
Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

I made no such ‘claim’, just said that is what I understood but await help from someone more knowledgeable. How can you say so decisively that subsidies are ‘still substantial’ if you have absolutely no idea what they are, or are not? Do you still think that they are likely to be ‘astronomical’?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

I can’t answer this. But I do know that power losses from the point of generation to the point of use are unbelievable. For Scottish islands, I would guess at 15%. Even more if you generate the electricity in Scotland and send it to London. As the cost per unit (for comparison purposes, not for consumers) is measured at the point of generation, this is effectively a very large subsidy.
I have worked for years as a supplier and then consultant to the National Grid. In all schemes for the future, the point of generation is very important. So the idea of putting turbines somewhere in the distance, in the sea perhaps, will rarely add up.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

The subsidies are in the form of legal requirements to prioritise wind power over other sources, and the massive taxes on oil and gas in attempts to make wind and solar look competitive.
The desperate smokescreens put up by the guardian et al, wherein they claim anything less than 100% tax is a subsidy, are all for the purpose of disguising this, and fooling the public, some of whom are more willingly fooled than others.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

This explains the true cost of renewables very well.
https://watt-logic.com/2022/04/11/cost-of-renewables/

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

You answered your question in your first two sentences.

As to your claim that:-“there is no longer anything substantial on the subsidy front” I’m not sure about that, having spent a fruitless hour trying to cut my way through all the toxic propaganda that surrounds this subject. Even HMG’s website is predictably next to worthless.

Thus while I assume that annual subsidies have decreased as you claim, they are still substantial by most measures.
Perhaps there is an UnHerd ‘expert’ out there who can settle this matter?

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

The subsidies are in the form of legal requirements to prioritise wind power over other sources, and the massive taxes on oil and gas in attempts to make wind and solar look competitive.
The desperate smokescreens put up by the guardian et al, wherein they claim anything less than 100% tax is a subsidy, are all for the purpose of disguising this, and fooling the public, some of whom are more willingly fooled than others.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

This explains the true cost of renewables very well.
https://watt-logic.com/2022/04/11/cost-of-renewables/

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

I thought all those Scottish islands had community wind farms and free power for locals.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

In Orkney, yhey have subsidised flights and ferries and are connected to the UK mainland grid . Official figures will tell you that they export electricity to the mainland so we’re paying for that too.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brendan O'Leary
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Now that The Grand Fleet has left Scapa Flow they should be abandoned, or perhaps used as a migrant detention centre.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Now that The Grand Fleet has left Scapa Flow they should be abandoned, or perhaps used as a migrant detention centre.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

In Orkney, yhey have subsidised flights and ferries and are connected to the UK mainland grid . Official figures will tell you that they export electricity to the mainland so we’re paying for that too.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brendan O'Leary
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

People only want wind power where they can’t see the turbines. We could start with wind turbines in Hyde Park.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Could you explain how you consider ‘green energy’ in the UK to be heavily, indeed ‘astronomically’, subsidised. As I understand it although there were subsidies available in the early days of solar and wind power, not unreasonable to kick start take-up and encourage technological development (you may disagree), there is no longer anything substantial on the subsidy front. I am no expert so may well be wrong, so I am genuinely interested in your answer.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

I thought all those Scottish islands had community wind farms and free power for locals.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

What about all this astronomically subsidised ‘Green Energy’ we are always being harangued about?
Granted the sun never shines in Orkney but what about the incessant wind?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
tim richardson
tim richardson
1 year ago

“Physiologically,” Dr Raquel Nunes, an assistant professor of public health at Warwick University, told me, “the body will try to compensate for the cold. What happens is that the blood becomes thicker, and that can cause clots.” The clots can then cause heart attacks or strokes.

This is not an accurate description of how the body responds to cold, or maintains homeostasis of the blood.

This appears to be a layman’s understanding of the physiology of the body.

The quote is attributed to an individual with a masters’ degree in public health, which is an administrative degree for a bureaucratic job, not a medical degree to be a physician.

The Aleut and the Eskimo people of Alaska and Canada, as a population, have an extremely low rate of cardiovascular disease. During the colder months, their diet consists almost entirely of animal proteins including seal fats and caribou. They have a very low supply of fibrous or green vegetables in their diet.

The cold does not seem to lead to thickening of their blood, blood clots, or an increase in strokes as this article suggests.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 year ago
Reply to  tim richardson

Dont they have genetic difference somewhere? I remember reading yonks ago that the Sami didnt have it.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 year ago
Reply to  tim richardson

Dont they have genetic difference somewhere? I remember reading yonks ago that the Sami didnt have it.

tim richardson
tim richardson
1 year ago

“Physiologically,” Dr Raquel Nunes, an assistant professor of public health at Warwick University, told me, “the body will try to compensate for the cold. What happens is that the blood becomes thicker, and that can cause clots.” The clots can then cause heart attacks or strokes.

This is not an accurate description of how the body responds to cold, or maintains homeostasis of the blood.

This appears to be a layman’s understanding of the physiology of the body.

The quote is attributed to an individual with a masters’ degree in public health, which is an administrative degree for a bureaucratic job, not a medical degree to be a physician.

The Aleut and the Eskimo people of Alaska and Canada, as a population, have an extremely low rate of cardiovascular disease. During the colder months, their diet consists almost entirely of animal proteins including seal fats and caribou. They have a very low supply of fibrous or green vegetables in their diet.

The cold does not seem to lead to thickening of their blood, blood clots, or an increase in strokes as this article suggests.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Ugh. I feel for these people.Just awful circumstances to deal with. Unfortunately, I don’t see the situation improving.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Veenbaas
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Perhaps some global warming would help them?

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I do not believe the people cited in this article are real people. They are made up. When I see these places on tv no one is like that.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

Right. You believe the TV


Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

Right. You believe the TV


Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Perhaps some global warming would help them?

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I do not believe the people cited in this article are real people. They are made up. When I see these places on tv no one is like that.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Ugh. I feel for these people.Just awful circumstances to deal with. Unfortunately, I don’t see the situation improving.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Veenbaas
Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago

I didn’t particularly like this essay. We were given some examples of people living in dire conditions, but I am sure you can find them anywhere.
The author bemoans that the price cap is cap on the units, not on the amounts being spent. What was he expecting, a “consume as much as you like” kind of scenario?
The article would benefit from fewer examples and more statistics on the housing stock. As it is I didn’t learn much.

Sonny Varioni
Sonny Varioni
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

“B minus. A good attempt but lacking in statistics and too much focus on real people. Please redraft and present your work in our next tutorial.”

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  Sonny Varioni

“Single examples do not great policy make”. Discuss

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  Sonny Varioni

“Single examples do not great policy make”. Discuss

Fiona Lassen
Fiona Lassen
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Yes, you can find examples like this all over the UK. What he doesn’t mention is that our daily standing charge for electricity in the Western Isles is currently 51.07p going up to 58.97p on 1 April (last time I looked Londoners had the cheapest standing charges in the country). That compares to the gas daily standing charge of 28.48 p that goes up to 29.11 on Saturday. I live in the Western Isles in an all electric house. We received a £200 payment to compensate us for being dependent on sources of heating other than piped gas. Plus pensioners over 80 received a £500 heating allowance this year (usually £200 a year) and other pensioners received £300. People on pension credits also received an additional payment. A few people might be cutting and using peat but it’s very hard work. The roads up here definitely aren’t lined with cut peats!

Mint Julip
Mint Julip
1 year ago
Reply to  Fiona Lassen

Presumably you were also in receipt of the ÂŁ66/ÂŁ67 per month x 6 paid to all domestic electricity accounts?
That and the government picking up the slack on over-cap energy prices has been enormously helpful. It’s still too little in SOME properties in SOME areas, but better than nothing. In my area wood stoves and fireplaces have bridged the gap between just about managing to prevent being cold and damp, and feeling comfortable. Unfortunately, it looks as though the puritans will be coming soon to stamp out these disgusting symbols of individual independence. Over my (very cold) dead body!

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Mint Julip

Where is all the wood – if we all change to wood? Presumably, we will import it from Sweden.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Mint Julip

Where is all the wood – if we all change to wood? Presumably, we will import it from Sweden.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Fiona Lassen

Are you an artist from a London borough. Do you sell sculptures made from driftwood to Americans at several K a time. I live in a UK SW city and my standing charge is 50p per day.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago
Reply to  Fiona Lassen

I don’t know if it is comparable, but I pay about 30+24p in standing charge.
I know that where I live, central belt, there are 3 villages that for some reason are without gas. I don’t know whether their standing charge differs, though.

Mint Julip
Mint Julip
1 year ago
Reply to  Fiona Lassen

Presumably you were also in receipt of the ÂŁ66/ÂŁ67 per month x 6 paid to all domestic electricity accounts?
That and the government picking up the slack on over-cap energy prices has been enormously helpful. It’s still too little in SOME properties in SOME areas, but better than nothing. In my area wood stoves and fireplaces have bridged the gap between just about managing to prevent being cold and damp, and feeling comfortable. Unfortunately, it looks as though the puritans will be coming soon to stamp out these disgusting symbols of individual independence. Over my (very cold) dead body!

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Fiona Lassen

Are you an artist from a London borough. Do you sell sculptures made from driftwood to Americans at several K a time. I live in a UK SW city and my standing charge is 50p per day.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago
Reply to  Fiona Lassen

I don’t know if it is comparable, but I pay about 30+24p in standing charge.
I know that where I live, central belt, there are 3 villages that for some reason are without gas. I don’t know whether their standing charge differs, though.

Colin MacDonald
Colin MacDonald
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Maybe we should green light more North Sea gas? I know it’s a bit “out there” as an idea and the BBC says it’s controversial. But subsidising consumption won’t increase production so we ‘ll still freeze. A bit like a price cap of two Kopek for a loaf of bread, people still couldn’t get enough bread.

Sonny Varioni
Sonny Varioni
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

“B minus. A good attempt but lacking in statistics and too much focus on real people. Please redraft and present your work in our next tutorial.”