Letter: Bad decisions on the 'Braer'

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The Independent Online
Sir: While everyone is horrified by the catastrophe that has befallen the wildlife and people of the Shetlands, we as a nation must bear a large share of the responsibility. It is now 25 years since the Torrey Canyon saga first drew our attention to the dangers of huge ships being wrecked on our shores. Since then, we have watched from the comfort of our armchairs as disaster after disaster has occurred to oil-laden tankers and chemical-carrying vessels all around the world.

We have been happy to benefit from an economy driven, to a large degree, by the use of oil: in our cars, our homes, our food-distribution systems and our public transport. In addition, we have supported the manufacturers of oil-related products by spending significant amounts of our personal wealth on items such as records, video and audio tapes, and plastic products of all kinds.

Yet how much pressure will we, the British public, put on politicians and industry to curtail the ever-mounting toll on the world's wildlife and its habitats? How much will we be prepared to pay for transporting those precious gallons of fuel we so rely upon in conditions of safety?



London, N8

7 January