PROMINENTLY in the news is that ministers believe that batteries will power Britain when there’s insufficient wind or sun. No doubt they haven’t read the progress reports on Leighton Buzzard, Britain’s flagship experimental battery bank, which admit that electricity storage by batteries is not profitable.

What I can’t find in the reports is a figure for Round Trip Efficiency (RTE), the percentage of electricity originally fed into energy storage that is available for re-use later, the lost energy going as heat. It is worse for battery banks than laptops as the buildings housing the former need to be heated in cold weather, cooled in hot weather, and their control systems need energy too. I wrote to the company asking about RTE but the data wasn’t forthcoming.

At a cost of £19 million, Leighton stores a paltry 10 MWh (megawatt hours) whereas most estimates for what Britain would require are between one million and ten million MWh. And lithium batteries last around seven years. Do the maths!

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If this idea were to go global, raw materials would likely soar in price and become scarce. Already cobalt, used in many batteries, has tripled in price in just 18 months.
Geoff Moore
Alness, Highland


What exactly are Fox’s priorities for a Brexit deal?

THE public is given a clear and chilling insight into the mindset of our Tory Brexiteers when Liam Fox described food hygiene as “a detail of the very end stage of one sector of a potential free trade agreement” when it should be the number one priority before even sitting down to discuss a trade deal.

It begs the question as to what else the Brexiteers see as details at “the very end stage of one sector of a potential free trade agreement” in the medicine, health services, finance, agriculture and other sectors where the US and UK governments see a profit to be made by the multinationals.

Brexiteers appear to have no hesitation in prioritising increased profitability for free-market multinationals and supermarkets over freedom of choice for their customers.

Not surprising when you consider this is a government that called a General Election in an attempt to gain an overall majority over its own dissidents, not the opposition parties.
John Jamieson
South Queensferry

I HAVE lost count of the exhortations from politicians, Conservative commentators, letter writers, Uncle Tom Cobley and anyone else in the vicinity to “pull together to make Brexit successful”.

Would someone explain to me exactly what I or anyone outside of Theresa May’s wee clique of Brexit negotiators is supposed to do to “make Brexit successful”?

When the PM decides that even the First Minister of one of the devolved nations in “our precious Union” has no part to play in Brexit then, as an ordinary citizen, what is my part in this process?

Am I expected to organise demos to show solidarity with David Davis? Should I start a petition to give moral support to Liam Fox?

Perhaps a street party to show those dastardly EU bureaucrats that the “blitz spirit” is strong across the country and we will not be beaten by “Johnny Foreigner”?

Or is it, I suspect, to pray morning, noon and night that these incompetents will not sink the country as they belatedly realise that their self-centred political machinations will not deliver the Utopia they carelessly promised?
James Mills

IT was with some bemusement and a little concern that I noticed an open letter from left-wing Brexiters attacking those who had called for a halt to Brexit.

In it, without a sense of irony, they pointed to the EU as thwarting the desire to create a “better, fairer and more equal society”.

As the negative impacts of Brexit become clearer by the day, with falling living standards, rising inflation, slower growth and lower productivity, it is the poor that will be hit hardest by this process – not, dare I say it, the signatories to this letter. This is those very same poor the left are supposedly trying to help.

Don’t just take my word for it, this is a concern noted by anti-poverty campaigners who have warned of the adverse impact of Brexit on families on low incomes.

The claim that to halt the Brexit process is “undemocratic” is even easier to address. The “soft” Brexit Shangri-La that was envisaged by many has now become a pipe dream, replaced by the even colder and harder economic realities of a “hard” Brexit.

The scales are beginning to fall from the eyes of those who, in all good faith, voted for a pain-free Brexit to see £350 million a week delivered for the NHS, and a variety of other falsehoods.

A shift in public opinion has already begun – even without a political lead. If both public and political opinion started to shift towards ending Brexit, the route would be opened up to a second referendum.

The political environment in the UK is both chaotic and unpredictable. If public opinion continues to shift, and more voices speak out, then UK politicians may find themselves pushed towards facing up to the huge damage of Brexit – and finally arguing for the UK to think again and to remain.
Alex Orr

OVER the years I have received electoral registration forms with the term “British” inserted into the nationality column beside the names of my family, and every time we have crossed this out and written the correct nationality, “Scottish”.

Sick of having our national identity suppressed, we have written to the registration office at our council. We point out that they are in breach of Article 15 (1) and (2) of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which states: “(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.”

The electoral office is also in breach of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (1992) Article 1.1, which says: “States shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and shall encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.”

We have made it very clear to them that we are Scottish, and that they do not have the authority, competence or prerogative to seek to alter, remove or suppress our national identity. I would urge fellow Scots who receive electoral registration forms to contact their local council and make an issue of this suppression of our human rights.
Linda Horsburgh