Readers’ letters - November 13

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Air guns should be licensed to protect our animals

In addition to the terrible human deaths and casualties that have been inflicted by indiscriminate use of air weapons, many pets have also been the unfortunate victims of air weapons.

Cats Protection’s air gun licensing petition has already received over 76,000 signatures and we would like to thank all of those who 
have signed the petition.

Cats receive life-changing injuries from air guns such as limb amputation or loss of an eye.

A 2016 Cats Protection survey of vets found that 46 per cent of reported incidents result in fatalities.

We welcome the Government’s intention to review the regulation of 
air weapons licensing.

We are asking the Government to license air guns in England and Wales, bringing us in line with Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Our monitoring shows nearly four cats a week are reported as killed or injured by an air gun in the UK – the actual figure is higher as many remain unreported.

We would like to encourage those who haven’t signed up to show their support by going to our website: www.cats.org.uk/airgunspetition

Jacqui Cuff

Advocacy and government relations manager
Cats Protection

Renewables

are dirty too

Opponents of shale gas extraction argue that we should be investing in ‘clean’ energy forms such as wind, wave and solar instead.

But the reality is there’s no such thing as clean when it comes to producing large amounts of energy, reliably, for a population of our size and with an advanced industrial economy.

For example, making solar panels requires the mining of silica sand which is then chemically processed at high temperatures to produce the silicone wafers that are needed to convert the sun’s energy into electricity.

Cleaning the reactor vessels in between batches uses sulphur hexafluoride – the most potent of all greenhouse gases, and 25,000 times more climate-damaging than CO2.

Chinese rivers and fields have been polluted with manufacturing waste, including the highly toxic silicon tetrachloride and hydrofluoric acid after inadequate treatment.

According to Greenpeace and the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, some two-thirds of the country’s solar-manufacturing firms were failing to meet national standards for environmental protection and energy consumption in 2014.

That’s just solar. Wind has similar issues, including the use of magnets made from rare earth metals; large-scale hydroelectric dams releasing methane into the atmosphere; anaerobic digestion plants that produce biogas having to be constantly fed with food and farm waste which necessitates the creation of lots of HGV journeys; and wood-burning biomass plants producing harmful particulates just like coal.

I’m not suggesting for a minute that we should abandon our pursuit of these and other energy technologies – I believe they have an important role to play – but we do need to be more honest about their unwanted side-effects, including those we don’t see in this country but that are absolutely occurring elsewhere in the world.

All energy is dirty, destructive and disruptive to someone, somewhere. Regrettably, that includes renewables.

At least with Lancashire shale gas, it’s happening in a country with high standards of environmental protection and workplace safety.

Lee Petts

Remsol

Managing director