The vaccine roll-out is too slow. Let’s increase vaccine supply with new production facilities.

The governments should greatly accelerate the production and supply of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine (which seems to be the best of the 2 from the Public Health Scotland supported research into vaccine performance in Scotland) under license by investing in new facilities, including one here in Scotland to make say +250,000 doses/day for Scots initially then for export.

Please support my call for a new 250,000 doses/day vaccine production facility in Scotland – with further doses to be exported after all Scots have been fully vaccinated.

Then, whenever any new variant virus threatens, Scotland will be well prepared to roll out the booster vaccine very quickly and avoid lockdown!

“as supply allows”

I’ve just fired off another email about this.

Call for a new 250,000 doses/day vaccine production facility in Scotland

I write to complain about the poor quality reply from the Scottish Government’s civil servant Charles Willis, Reference: 202100164087, 28 February 2021 … because it suggests that neither Mr Willis nor anyone else in the Scottish government have yet competently considered the content of my email to you all, ….

“as supply allows” writes Mr Willis, as if the Scottish Government can have no agency whatsoever with a view to increasing its own supply of vaccine doses, as if the vaccine is handed down from on high, courtesy of the UK. “Take what you get. Never question how much or why. Just be grateful.”

How pathetic. How disgusting.

Mr Willis may be a helpless civil servant but it is unacceptable to this proud Scot to suffer the Scottish government to be represented in such a pitiful and beggarly fashion.

Who reading my emails can respond intelligently to my suggestion that the Scottish government should plan to increase its supply of vaccines from its present limited supply, seemingly varying from 10,000 to 60,000 but averaging perhaps 20,000 doses/day?

Who reading this can respond to my suggestion that the Scottish government should invest in a new vaccine production facility in Scotland, in partnership with AstraZeneca, that can produce 250,000 doses/day?

The Scottish government have, so far, vaccinated only 1/4 of the population of Scotland and 3/4 of the population are still waiting, still dying of Covid, some of us, because we’ve not been vaccinated yet when we should have been.

Please support my call for a new 250,000 doses/day vaccine production facility in Scotland – with further doses to be exported after all Scots have been fully vaccinated.

With such a newly built vaccine production facility here in Scotland then whenever any new variant virus threatens, Scotland will be well prepared to roll out the booster vaccine very quickly and avoid lockdown!

Scotland needs a faster supply of vaccine doses. The world needs a faster supply of vaccine doses. Scotland can produce a great supply of vaccine doses if the Scottish government gets its act together and stops being content to be a by-stander while others outside Scotland arrange for a very limited supply of vaccine doses for us on Scotland’s behalf.

Do not dare to stand idly by while others supply us with the vaccines we need. Scotland must become a supplier of vaccine doses, for ourselves, to export for others.

Do not dare to think “we can’t”.

We are Scots.

Yes we can!

That’s got them telt! 😎

Valneva Livingston

28th January 2021. GOV.UK Large-scale coronavirus vaccine manufacturing begins in Scotland

“Speciality vaccine company Valneva has started commercial manufacturing of its promising COVID-19 vaccine candidate in Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland. …

If the vaccine proves successful and receives regulatory approval following a rigorous assessment of available data, the Livingston facility will have the capacity to produce up to 250 million doses annually for shipment across the UK and around the world.”

If approved that would be up to 685,000 doses per day supplied from Valneva Livingston. Shared among the UK population equally that would be 56,000 doses per day for Scots.

56k/day is good, it would be a most welcome supplement to the existing limited vaccine supply stream in Scotland but I must ask if that would that be enough to allow for the fastest possible roll-out of a booster vaccine should the need arise?

It should be possible to vaccinate 250,000 Scots per day and to administer one dose to every Scot in about 3 weeks, ready to offer 2nd doses as required.

So my opinion is that the gold standard supply for Scotland would be met by 250,000 doses/day and that’s why I have called for a new 250,000 doses/day vaccine production facility in Scotland, set up in partnership with AstraZeneca and funded by the Scottish Government so that the entire output could be prioritised for Scots if required.

“Vaccine nationalism?” Well maybe but that soon becomes vaccine internationalism after Scots have been vaccinated because all that additional vaccine production can then be dedicated for export.

By the same argument, the gold standard supply for the whole UK would be 3 million doses/day – 3 times more than the 1 million doses/day that the UK Government seems to have satisfied itself with.

This is not the time to rest on our vaccine laurels.

Vaccine Rollout Performance Standards for Scotland & the UK

Scotland: Vaccinations per day

Gold Standard

Scotland – 246,000/day, UK – 3,000,000/day or more

Silver Standard

Scotland – 164,000/day, UK – 2,000,000/day or more

Bronze Standard

Scotland – 82,000/day, UK – 1,000,000/day or more

D Grade

Scotland – 400,000/week, UK – 700,000/day or more


BBC: Covid: Under-30s offered alternative to AstraZeneca jab

Recent developments require me to review the assumption I made in February, that the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine “seems to be the best of the 2 from the Public Health Scotland supported research into vaccine performance in Scotland”.

It is reasonable to take a fresh look at the other candidate vaccines if investing in a new vaccine production facility here in Scotland.

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Epidemiologist says it’s NOT safe for Scottish pupils to go back to school

VIDEO: Sunday, 21st February 2021. BBC Scotland. Sunday Show presented by Martin Geissler. Professor Linda Bauld, from Edinburgh University, a public health expert, says we must maintain the public health measures we’ve been living with. Dr Deepti Gurdasani, an epidemiologist (MPhil University of Cambridge) explains that it is not yet safe for Scottish pupils to go back to school until additional internationally accepted mitigation methods are in place.

I agree with the points made by Dr Deepti Gurdasani, obviously.

The Scottish Government’s so-called “National Clinical Director for Scotland” Jason Leitch is indeed wrong, again and remains out of his depth, as I have explained in an earlier blog post. Children are just as likely to get or pass on the virus – just more often asymptomatically than adults to whom they pass the virus on. Kids can get infected at school and then go home to infect their older family members who then suffer symptoms etc.

Blame the Scottish Government minister John “the Swindler” Swinney – whose complacent remarks to Martin Geissler were not worth repeating here – and blame too his boss Nicola “Killer Krankie” Sturgeon for the Scottish Government’s poorly prepared and premature school re-opening which will cost lives and threaten to resurge the pandemic in Scotland.

Mitigation methods

Mitigation methods suggested by Dr Gurdasani.

  • Mask use for primary school children
  • Ventilation
  • Air filtration / purification devices
  • Carbon dioxide monitors
  • Smaller class and bubble sizes
  • Teachers mustn’t move between bubbles

Mitigation method suggested by Peter Dow

  • Indoor ultra violet lights to help inactivate airborne viruses
  • UV protective wear – sunglasses, sunscreen lotion, hats etc.

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The Queensferry Crossing Accounts – the missing £ millions

Suspiciously, I haven’t found the itemised accounts for all £1.34 billion of the total project cost in Audit Scotland’s Main Report PDF – “Forth Replacement Crossing”.

There appears to be £460 million in unaccounted-for spending!

What has happened to the missing £ millions?
The public do have a right to know!

The Queensferry Crossing Accounts

Email reply received from Transport Scotland, 19th January 2021.

Transport Scotland Queensferry Crossing Yearly Accounts

So many of the missing £ millions are VAT but that still leaves £219 million + VAT on Employer’s Direct Costs. Seems rather a lot of money to pay Transport Scotland civil servants to answer emails. 🙄

Email reply received from Transport Scotland, 15th February 2021.

Transport Scotland Queensferry Crossing Employer Costs

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COVID-19 Recovery Taxes

The more an activity risks spreading COVID-19, the more that activity should be taxed.


Air Passenger Duty should be massively increased considering that air travel was the way that COVID-19 was initially spread from China and air-travel can reintroduce COVID-19 to an area defeating all previous lockdown measures to eradicate the virus locally. A Scottish Air Passenger Duty should be charged for all flights into Scotland, including from the rest of the UK.


End rates relief, furlough payments for any company involved with the international travel industry – airports, airlines, cruise and passenger shipping, travel agents, bus and train services to England.

Cease government funding for Visit Scotland unless it changes its name to “DON’T Visit Scotland” and campaigns to keep tourists out for the duration of the pandemic. End any subsidy and support for all international festivals – such as the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe.

If this drives companies out of business then that is a price worth paying to discourage international travel to Scotland for the duration of the pandemic.


A Local Road Passenger Duty would encourage people to change their behaviour to stay local and not spread COVID-19 around because they would be taxed more the further they travel around in Scotland.

A Local Road Passenger Duty should be payable by vehicle owners, calculated as a base charge (£10 for example but the actual amount would be set in the Scottish budget) multiplied in proportion to the number of passenger seats (not including the driver’s seat) in the vehicle multiplied by the number of Scottish council areas the vehicle is taxed to drive in.

Local councils would collect the Local Road Passenger Duty, issue tax-paid display stickers and be responsible for detecting that the vehicles using their local roads had paid the Local Road Passenger Duty to use their local roads.

Example 1.

An owner of a car with 3 passenger seats lives in one council area, drives to work in a neighbouring council area and occasionally visits family by travelling through 2 additional council areas.

The Local Road Passenger Duty Tax is payable in proportion to 3 passenger seats x 4 council areas = 3 x 4 = 12 times the base charge of £10 = £120.

Example 2.

An owner of a car with 3 passenger seats which is only driven locally within the one council area.

The Local Road Passenger Duty is payable in proportion to 3 passenger seats x 1 council area = 3 x 1 = 3 times the base charge of £10 = £30.

Example 3.

An owner of a bus with 40 passenger seats runs a passenger service between 4 council areas.

The Local Road Passenger Duty is payable in proportion to 40 passenger seats x 4 council areas = 40 x 4 = 160 times the base charge of £10 so the bus owner is taxed £1,600.

The high tax for this bus service is appropriate for the danger it represents of spreading COVID-19 around.

Example 4.

A delivery van has one passenger seat and could be delivering to any of 20 council areas.

The Local Road Passenger Duty is payable in proportion to 1 passenger seat x 20 council areas = 1 x 20 = 20 times the base charge of £10 so the delivery van owner is taxed £200.

Example 5.

A taxi driver/owner has a taxi with 5 passenger seats and offers a taxi service to 6 council areas.

The Local Road Passenger Duty is payable in proportion to 5 passenger seats x 6 council areas = 5 x 6 = 30 times the base charge of £10 so the taxi owner is taxed £300.

Example 6.

A sports-fans’ mini-bus has 8 passengers seats and needs to travel through 12 local council areas to get to fixtures.

The Local Road Passenger Duty is payable in proportion to 8 passenger seats x 12 council areas = 8 x 12 = 96 times the base charge of £10 so the mini bus owner is taxed 96 x £10 = £960.

Example 7.

A motorcycle has one pillion passenger seat and travels to 7 council areas.

The Local Road Passenger Duty is payable in proportion to 1 passenger seat x 7 council areas = 1 x 7 = 7 times the base charge of £10 so the motorcycle owner is taxed 7 x £10 = £70.

Example 8.

A moped has no passenger seat and so the owner is exempted from paying any Local Road Passenger Duty on the moped.


Rail passengers can spread COVID-19 around so train owners should be taxed Rail Passenger Duty for their trains too, according to the number of passenger seats times the number of council areas the train stops in.


Same.  Tax ferry owners Ferry Passenger Duty according to the number of ferry passenger seats times the number of council areas the ferry stops in. The ferry owner is not responsible for paying any Ferry Passenger Duty for the passenger seats in any cars transported by the ferry.

Why tax passenger seats not actual passengers

It is a lot easier for the tax collector to count the number of passenger seats in a vehicle than the number of passengers.


I have published “Quarantine for Scotland” detailing the organisation of new managed facilities for compulsory quarantine for all travellers to Scotland. Charges to pay for all that should be levied on those who have to use those new quarantine facilities because they are choosing to travel to Scotland, deliver to Scotland, or leave then return to Scotland etc.


Scotland should win the power to tax, fine or get legal compensation from the UK for the economic damage done by its mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic and historically.

For decades, from Ravenscraig to Longannet, the UK has pursued the deindustrialisation of Scotland and left Scots with a reliance on tourism which has made Scotland’s economy particularly vulnerable to a pandemic.

Perhaps compensation of £100s billions to be paid to Scotland by the UK could be agreed but if not then the Scottish Parliament must win the powers to impose taxes on all UK officials who visit or live in Scotland so as to collect the compensation owed to Scotland from UK officials individually.

By “UK officials” I mean people like the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William, Princess Anne, the UK Prime Minister and Cabinet members, Members of the Queen’s Privy Council, BBC senior management, Police Chiefs, UK Supreme Court Judges, Generals, members of the House of Lords etc.

Any of those UK officials who will not or cannot pay compensation damages taxes imposed should be excluded from Scotland for non-payment of their tax debts.


The Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government have insufficient fiscal powers, specifically  government borrowing powers, to invest to re-purpose the Scottish economy to cope with any significant economic challenge such as this Covid-19 emergency.

The Scottish government should be granted the power to borrow interest-free from the Bank of England / UK Treasury, with no repayments and no total debt limits, up to 8% of Scottish GDP.

This new Scottish government borrowing power should be permanent so that it could be used either to cope with an emergency like this pandemic or in normal times used to invest for economic growth.

If the UK refuses such new £ Sterling borrowing powers to the Scottish government then the Scottish Parliament should pass legislation to establish a new Scottish currency and Scottish central bank to manage our new currency, thereby enabling the Scottish government the normal borrowing powers of a government to borrow its own currency as required.

I might suggest that the name of a new Scottish currency should be


The Scottish government should never again do as it did in 2016 and ever since, namely so foolishly to agree with the UK to such a bad deal £ fiscal framework which imposed such derisory limits to the Scottish government’s borrowing powers.

The 2016 Fiscal Framework Agreement was an act of self-harm by the Scottish government and Scottish parliament and so this terrible mistake must never be repeated or allowed again.

The rule should be –

Anticipating that the UK will break that rule, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government should expect to proceed to establish a new Scottish currency forthwith.


This blog post is by way of reply to the Scottish Government consultation –

Budget 2021/22: Supporting the COVID-19 Recovery

My actual response to that consultation can be downloaded as a PDF from this link.

Peter Dow’s response to ScotGov’s consultation – Budget 2021-22 Supporting the COVID-19 Recovery

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Quarantine for Scotland

EVERYONE entering Scotland will have to be tested and quarantined, especially those with a legal reason to enter Scotland – such as Scots returning from visiting friends, relatives or business associates in England.

That means adding road blocks with diversions to managed quarantine facilities all along the border.

Quarantine For Scotland. M6 J45 B7076 Traffic Management. A74(M) Border Road-block. Quarantine at Gretna facilities.

For example, the A74(M) would have to be closed at Gretna, most likely northbound traffic road-blocked on the border itself, asking Cumbria police to divert traffic northbound for Scotland to turn off the M6 at the last junction (45) and those wishing to quarantine take the B7076 for quarantine facilities just across the border in Scotland, in the area in and around the Greens at Gretna Hotel and the Gretna Gateway South Car Park – with additional caravan camp type facilities added to cope with the expected number of people to be quarantined.

Quarantine for Scotland would mean closing all the road border-crossings into Scotland; only southbound traffic on the A74(M) and the A1 could be safely left “open”. So the only roadways into Scotland from England would be through the quarantine zones – one at Gretna, as illustrated above, where extensions to the quarantine zone would be constrained by the border and the town of Gretna and the other, most likely, on the A1 at Lamberton, where there are fewer constraints on development so the quarantine zone could be extended in any of the directions indicated in the plan.

Quarantine for Scotland. A1 Road-block Traffic Management. Quarantine at Lamberton facilities.

There would probably have to be enabling legislation through the Scottish Parliament to allow the Scottish government to make compulsory purchases of buildings and land in those “quarantine zone” areas required to be used for managed quarantine facilities.

All that work should have been done years ago as part of pandemic preparedness, but of course wasn’t done because the United Kingdom is totally clueless.

Quarantine for Scotland would mean that all supply lorries from England to Scotland would have to stop in a quarantine zone, either –

  • to swap drivers (after disinfecting the cab) or
  • to hitch the trailer to a Scottish cab or
  • to deliver to a depot in the quarantine zone or
  • to return to England or
  • to continue on to Scotland with the same driver after 14-days in quarantine.

Realistically, this would increase the costs of delivering to Scotland from England.


Quarantine for Scotland would mean that all northbound cross-border passenger train services will be suspended.

Whilst it is simplest just to ban all cross-border passenger trains, it is possible, if complicated, to allow southbound passenger services to continue.

Southbound trains could continue service with the understanding that drivers, guards and passengers who cross into England will be expected when returning to Scotland to serve quarantine before being free to enter Scotland again.

Northbound empty (no passengers, just driver and guard only) passenger trains and all freight trains can be permitted to cross the border into Scotland in which case the northbound drivers and guards of all trains (passenger and freight) should get out (and be replaced by Scotland-based drivers and guards) at the first stop in Scotland and the cross-border drivers and guards should normally return to England on the next southbound train, most usefully as drivers and guards of that southbound train, replacing the Scotland-based drivers and guards who could get out at the last stop in Scotland before the train crosses the border into England; alternatively, northbound cross-border drivers and guards who do not intend to return to England but who wish to enter Scotland freely should serve 14-days quarantine preferably in a facility local to that first-stop station in Scotland provided by their employer.

Northbound west-coast railway-line train passengers can take the train as far as Carlisle then get a bus or taxi to the Quarantine at Gretna facilities. After serving 14-days quarantine, they can take a bus or a taxi to Annan railway station.

Northbound east-coast railway-line train passengers can take the train as far as Berwick-upon-Tweed then get a bus or a taxi to the Quarantine at Lamberton facilities. After serving 14-days quarantine, they can take a bus or a taxi to Dunbar railway station.

Trunk roads and council roads

Quarantine for Scotland would mean that the Scottish Government would have the responsibility to order the closure of only the 4 or 5 trunk roads which cross the border with England (see above map) and the local roads through the Quarantine Zones.

Other local roads should be blocked at the border crossings by the 2 councils on the border – the Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Scottish Borders Council.

Quarantine for Scotland would leave the power with the councils to decide if they want to block their own local roads at the border and to decide what help to ask from the Scottish government to close the border crossings successfully. Although how hard can it be to place a few skips to block the road at the border with England?

Of course if unauthorised persons were trying to clear the roads that the councils had ordered closed then the councils could ask for help from the police and the Scottish government to keep their roads blocked at the border.

B roads are the responsibility of the councils so if the 2 border councils don’t want to close their own B and local roads at the border with England then fair enough. In which case it may fall to other councils to close their local roads – likes of the various Ayrshire and Lothian councils – at the border between their councils and the border councils if they choose to do so.

If the border councils refuse to close their roads at the border with England then Quarantine for Scotland could be easily circumvented by travellers from England crossing using council roads.

However, that wouldn’t stop the police from arresting those who had travelled from England by circumventing the quarantine facilities – if the police could catch them, if not at the border then somewhere else in Scotland.

So Quarantine for Scotland, even if it closed the trunk roads, the railways, the airports, the sea ports for passenger entry to Scotland, would only be 100% effective if the border councils agreed with the idea of stopping getting re-infected from England and helped by closing their own roads at the border too.

The Scottish government could attempt to persuade border councils to close their roads at the border – plenty of carrots but no stick. Also the use of public health messages on TV could explain how the lack of co-operation from border councils on closing the border was a bad idea and voters should contact their councillor to ask them to get the council to close the roads at the border, etc.

Please don’t become a stranger. 😥

Coronavirus in Scotland: SNP MP Angus MacNeil calls for police to patrol Scottish border if lockdown is eased down south

I wish to repudiate Jacob Rees-Mogg claims Nicola Sturgeon wants to ‘build a wall like Trump’ in Scottish border row.

The more appropriate comparison is Sturgeon with El Chapo, the Mexican Drug Lord, whose crimes include smuggling drugs across the USA-Mexico border and 1,000 murders and likewise Nicola “La Chapo” Sturgeon is responsible for the crimes of quarantine busting across the England – Scotland border, spreading the COVID-19 infection from England to Scotland, thereby causing 2,480+ deaths.

  • El Chapo trafficked drugs over the border and killed people.
  • Sturgeon traffics infected people over the border and kills people.

Sturgeon has built no wall, guarded no border, imposed no quarantine on travellers from England. Comparing her with Trump is perverse.

Margaret Ferrier SNP MP

BBC: Margaret Ferrier’s covid breach is embarrassing for Nicola Sturgeon

The intelligence bar for travelling by train or any public transport is not set particularly high. Travel companies have gone to great lengths to make travelling possible for those who have difficulty following rules. More rules doesn’t deal with the Ferrier-class of great ape.

Making an example of Margaret Ferrier alone will not stop other infected covidiots crossing the open Scotland-England border to travel far and wide to spread the virus.

Only closing the border will work and the responsibility for not doing so rests with the head of state, the Queen and her ministers such as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Only making an example of the Queen and/or her failing ministers and changing the policy to close the border and impose Quarantine for Scotland as described here will work to stop the spread of infection into Scotland.


Scotland has the power to quarantine entrants but the SNP refused to impose compulsory quarantine in managed facilities for all legal entrants to Scotland, to suit SNP MPs returning to constituencies every weekend, so 1000s of Scots died.


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Take vitamin D supplements to survive the coronavirus pandemic

Buy vitamin D supplements and start taking them yourself and giving them to members of your household as if your chances of surviving the coronavirus pandemic depend on it because they probably do.

Alternatively, you may be able to boost your vitamin D levels if you are lucky enough to have a private back-garden, balcony or your own sun-bed to sunbathe in, from or with.

Sunbathing in a public space or in a tanning salon would not be such a “great plan” because you might catch coronavirus from someone else who is there at the same time, so that’s why the police are moving sunbathers on in public parks and that’s why tanning salon businesses are locked-down.

Obviously, don’t overdose on vitamin D because that will make you very sleepy after a meal or you might get migraines, like I do, or other unpleasant or dangerous symptoms. It is possible to have too much of a good thing so just be cautious, read the label, consult your doctor or your pharmacist, by telephone if you can.

Don’t buy and hoard more vitamin D than you will ever need because that’s anti-social considering that there might very well be a shortage in the shops when the public start to panic-buy vitamin D as they likely will sooner or later, with far more reason than they had to panic-buy toilet roll.

It would be reckless of any government of every country outside of the equatorial belt, where sunshine is on plentiful supply year-round, to neglect public health education to alert people to be sure that everyone’s vitamin D levels are nicely topped up to give us all the best fighting chance of surviving the coronavirus pandemic, in case any of us are unfortunate or careless enough to catch Covid-19, despite our best efforts at social distancing, hand-washing etc.

Those who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency and who are therefore at higher risk of death if they are unlucky enough to catch coronavirus are

  • the always housebound or the newly locked-down, especially in homes without sunbeds or somewhere to sunbathe from (behind glass is no use because the ultraviolet rays needed are absorbed by glass)
  • those who cover up their skin when they are out, who can’t or won’t sunbathe as nature intended
  • those whose skin is darker than the lighter-skinned indigenous population
  • those who don’t eat vitamin-D-rich foods regularly, such as salmon or other oily fish
  • the fat, because vitamin D is fat soluble and so lots of body fat hogs your intake of vitamin D

Here are some references to check out if you are any doubt about this particular wisdom which is soon to become public knowledge.

The Telegraph: Could vitamin D help protect you from coronavirus symptoms?

Heart: This Morning doctor urges UK public to take Vitamin D to help fight coronavirus

Nutra Ingredients: Could vitamin D play a role in coronavirus resistance? Research thinks so

Guardian: Role of vitamin D deficiency in BAME medic deaths

Admittedly, sunny countries like Italy and Spain where vitamin D is easy to get have nevertheless had bad Covid-19 outbreaks and death tolls so vitamin D isn’t going to guarantee to save everyone at risk but the scientific evidence is stacking up that enhancing your vitamin D levels is now the smart move and especially in countries like Scotland where low vitamin D levels are endemic it would be advisable to take vitamin D supplements at least for the duration of this coronavirus pandemic crisis.


The BMJ: COVID-19 ’ICU’ risk – 20-fold greater in the Vitamin D Deficient. BAME, African Americans, the Older, Institutionalised and Obese, are at greatest risk. Sun and ‘D’-supplementation – Game-changers? Research urgently required.

The Telegraph: It is time to take seriously the link between Vitamin D deficiency and more serious Covid-19 symptoms

The National: Study links deficiency in vitamin D to coronavirus deaths

Express: Coronavirus crisis: How summer could stop spread of killer virus in Britain

The Financial Times: Vitamin D promoted as potential defence against coronavirus

The Daily Record: Vitamin D ‘urged for Covid treatment in hospitals’ over claims it reduces deaths by 60 per cent

Click to access FLCCC_Alliance-MATHplus_Protocol_v6-2020-11-12-ENGLISH.pdf

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Coronavirus: new treatments, trials and NHS best practice in Scotland

I have written an open letter to the Scottish Government, which I have quoted below, edited for clarity and additional reference links.

Which of you are aware and which of you are unaware of the following coronavirus pandemic reports?

In the medical news,
COVID-19: Could a clot-busting drug help save the lives of patients on ventilators?

in medical science journals,
Is There a Role for Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) as a Novel Treatment for Refractory COVID-19 Associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)?: Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery  – See also attached PDF

Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) Treatment for COVID-19 Associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS): A Case Series: Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis  – See also attached PDF

and on American TV News?

Deathly Ill Coronavirus Patients Could Be Saved By Heart Attack And Stroke Drug

I seek information about whether these recent reports have been acted upon in a timely way by yourselves in the Scottish Government and by NHS Scotland?

I wish to know if the NHS has instituted blood-clotting (coagulation) tests for coronavirus patients admitted to NHS hospitals, to monitor intensively whether patients’ blood clotting response has been seriously harmed by the coronavirus disease and by how much and whether this requires specific targeted treatment to normalise the patient’s blood clotting response?

Secondly, I wish to know for those patients whose blood clotting response is found to be abnormal, either generally or in specific organs, such as lungs, kidneys and heart, affecting organ function, whether appropriate blood-clot busting drugs, such as Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) are being administered, on a trial basis or generally, to treat blood-clotting problems whether in the manner suggested in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery paper linked to and appended namely,

“we believe an initial approach might be to administer 25mg of tPA over 2 hours followed by a 25mg tPA infusion administered over the subsequent 22 hours, with a dose not to exceed 0.9 mg/kg. The same exclusion criteria currently in place for stroke and MI treatment could be used, with responders maintained for some period of time on a heparin infusion after completion of the tPA treatment.”

or otherwise?

Can Members of Parliaments (MSPs & MPs), the Press and the People assume that your lack of a speedy reply to me and your lack of full disclosure and informative answers to my questions by publishing the answers to them reflects badly on your performance as ministers and officials and is illustrative of your failure of leadership?

Can we therefore assume that your ability starts and finishes at mismanaging the NHS Scotland as a devolved identical copy of NHS UK so that, to be sure, if and when the UK NHS run from Westminster and Whitehall, London, England approves trials and approves a new treatment for coronavirus disease only then will you finally direct the NHS in Scotland to follow UK NHS practice, parrot fashion, but that meantime under your devolved misgovernment, no Scottish government ordered clinical trials of new treatments for coronavirus will be entertained in Scotland, because that would be to show real initiative, uncharacteristic of plodding puppets of the UK who have no initiative and leadership ability to speak of?

Finally, Jason Leitch seems to be performing in the role of Scottish government public health education spokesman so then who is doing the job he is allegedly paid for – “National Clinical Director” or “Clinical Director, Healthcare Quality and Strategy”?

Who is directing the NHS in Scotland to adopt best practice in the clinical treatment of hospitalised patients suffering coronavirus disease? Who is directing clinical trials of new treatments in Scotland?

If Jason is busy parading himself around the media studios to speak to the common people, telling us, for example, how, where and when to exercise then why is his job title not accurately descriptive of the role he is actually doing and clearly prefers to do?

If one is truly a “National Clinical Director” then surely one’s job is to direct the nation’s clinics in a medically scientific fashion, so as to defeat this coronavirus pandemic?

But Jason seems to be far too busy with media appearances coaching the people in our behaviour to find any time to direct the nation’s clinics other than in a hand-waving way, leaving the clinics to their own devices or to detailed direction from the UK government in London.

If one speaks to the public about health matters on behalf of the government then one’s job description is accurately described as a “Scottish Government Public Health Spokesperson”, is it not?

Is the Scottish government actually employing anyone who is directing the NHS hospital clinics in Scotland, directing the quality and strategy of health care so as to fight this pandemic successfully, saving most lives and if so, who is employed in that role? What is their name and what directions is he or she issuing to the Scottish NHS clinics as regards the best international medical practice and clinical trials?

Where should we look, when I or any member of the public, want to look through the list of directions issued to the clinics of the NHS in Scotland, to see if blood-clotting issues are being treated appropriately or whether that’s a neglected issue in Scotland because the orders from London say nothing about “blood-clotting” so far so that’s not yet on the Scottish government’s radar, being more of a poodle of the UK than an actual “government”?

Yours sincerely,


16th April 2020, Stat: Blood clots in severe Covid-19 patients leave clinicians with clues about the illness — but no proven treatments

21st April 2020, NBC I-Team: Blood Clots Closely Associated with COVID-19 Deaths, Research Says

22nd April 2020, Washington Post:  A mysterious blood-clotting complication is killing coronavirus patients

CNN: Doctors try to untangle why they’re seeing ‘unprecedented’ blood clotting among Covid-19 patients

23rd April 2020, Daily Mail: Coronavirus is causing blood clots and sudden strokes in otherwise healthy patients in their 30s and 40s, doctors report

2nd May 2020, The Guardian: ‘Happy hypoxia’: unusual coronavirus effect baffles doctors

16th May 2020, Telegraph: Blood-thinning drugs can help save Covid-19 patients’ lives

5th June 2020, ITV News: ‘Lifesaving’ device trialled for potential coronavirus patients without key symptoms

16th June 2020, BBC: Coronavirus: Dexamethasone proves first life-saving drug

3rd July 2020, POZ: “No one needs to die from Covid any more.”

MATH+ Hospital Treatment Protocol for Covid-19 – V8 2021-1-12

MATH+ Protocol – Downloads & Translations

Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance

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Coronation virus

The United Kingdom is institutionally incompetent when dealing with new global challenges such as the coronavirus.

Scientists warned them.

President George W. Bush warned them.

The film “Contagion” warned them.

Bill Gates warned them.

Did they listen? Did they prepare? Did they react promptly? Did they adopt best practice from countries which did react promptly, like South Korea?

UK anti-science

Or did they continue the UK’s fascist habits of a lifetime and continue to pervert the course of justice, recklessly to obstruct medical scientists in the course of our duty to save lives, even threatening to take scientists as political prisoners to stop us blowing the whistle on wrong-doing and mismanagement?

So then did the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, his health secretary Matt Hancock and the next in line for coronation, Prince Charles, catch the very pandemic virus they were warned about?

We need to disinfect this world against the coronavirus and against the coronation virus, by never again rolling out the red carpet for any fool who thinks the UK royal family is an appropriate institution or that a constitutional monarchy is any way to run a country in this day and age.

We need to elect republicans who don’t pander to incompetent and fascist kingdoms.

See also Coronavirus – do not clap unethical medical practice that suffocates patients

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Coronavirus – do not clap unethical medical practice that suffocates patients

Dangers for staff and patients from skimping on PPE

“with Covid-19, medical staff were looking to avoid non-invasive methods because patients would still cough and splutter, increasing the risk of the virus being transferred to medical staff”
The Guardian – “How ventilators work and why they are so important in saving people with coronavirus”

Sorry but I cannot clap that selfish attitude. First do no harm. Suffocating sedated patients with their own phlegm is unethical and is akin to murder.

Those patients who can thrive, albeit coughing and spluttering, with non-invasive ventilation and/or oxygen therapy should never be compulsory sedated, intubated on a ventilator, prevented from coughing and spluttering in order to clear their airway, thereby slowly suffocated by their own phlegm and perhaps consequently killed for the sole convenience of fearful medical staff.

The ethical way to reduce the risk of the virus being transferred to medical staff is by the government investing in the National Health Service to improve the personal protective equipment (PPE) of medical staff to the highest standard and engineering of isolation wards so as to completely isolate medical staff from the virus hazard, as demonstrated in these videos, from South Korea –

and Naples, Italy.

Patients should only be put on sedated, invasive ventilation for the good of their own health, not merely in order to reduce virus risk to insufficiently protected medical staff because misgovernment has left the NHS with insufficient funds to invest in protecting medical staff to the highest standard.

Health ministers of governments should never be allowed politically to leave NHS managers short of funds to invest in appropriate PPE and therefore in the invidious position of mismanaging health care by allowing medical staff to unnecessarily sedate patients and force them to drown in their own phlegm – just because that’s the cheapest option to reduce risk to medical staff.

Governments who refuse to invest in what is required to save lives in the coronavirus pandemic, who allow unethical practices to save money, should be removed from office by parliaments and by the people.

See also Coronation virus

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Electrically de-icing the Queensferry Crossing cable-stayed bridge.

BBC: “Falling ice causes first Queensferry Crossing closure”

Keeping such bridges open, even in icing conditions, is really not rocket science. What, to me anyway, is the obvious solution – to pass an electrical heating current through the bridge’s support cables –  doesn’t seem to be “obvious” to other research scientists and engineers whose “Thermal Systems” for melting the ice are reviewed here.

I suggested this simple solution, outlined the calculations required and warned of some dangers in an email to the Queensferry Crossing bridge authorities and contractors in March 2019, but as usual, the authorities ignore solutions until there is a political price to be paid for continuing to ignore solutions in a pig-headed, in-denial kind of way that politicians like to get away with, if they possibly can.

There follows a link to a PDF of the email I sent the bridge authorities last year – hopefully you can click the link and open and / or download the PDF so you can read it.

Queensferry falling ice hazard solution – electrically-heated cable stays

Deicing power for 70km of cables

@ 100W/m = 7MW = household electricity within a 3 mile radius of the bridge.
@ 250W/m = 17.5MW = household electricity within a 5 mile radius of the bridge.

Cable strands

Some strands in the cable are better situated for heating the cable than other strands, depending on their position in the cable as I have labelled them alphabetically, beginning with the label “A” for the centre strand (which is the worst strand for heating the outside of the cable, where the ice would be) and labelling the outer strands last in alphabetical order, which are best for heating the outside of the cable.

The cable strands are by convention named here using the format – “(Number of strands in the cable)-(Letter)”. Thus the centre strand in the 55-strand cable is named as “55-A”, the 6 strands immediately surrounding the sole 55-A are all named of type “55-B”.

For each strand in the cable we can assign a factor of heating capacity, calculated approximately in proportion to the maximum geometric angle in the cross-section plane between 2 radial rays centred on the strand and tangential to the surface of 2 other strands while all of the intermediate radial rays (centred on the strand which cross an arc which subtends the angle) may not pass through any other strand, where a factor of heating capacity of 1 equals an angle of 1/6th of a revolution or 60°.

Colloquially, this factor of heating capacity may be said to be a measure of the angle of “the field of view” of the stay pipe as seen by an observer from the centre of a strand imagining that strand to be transparent while the other strands are opaque.

For the 55-strand cable, the total heating capacity factor assigned is 50.4.

For the 55-strand cable, there are a total of 24 strands which have utility for heating the cable – 6 of the 55-F type name strands, 6 x 55-Gs and 12 x 55-Hs. The 31 other strands (the 55-A to 55-Es) are not needed for heating per se, though could carry electrical currents whether by design or otherwise.

We can tabulate for each strand label, the heating power fraction and percentage, according to each strand’s heating capacity factor as a fraction of the cable’s total heating capacity factor.

Strands-label Heating power fraction Heating power %
55-F 1/50.4 2.0%
55-G 2/50.4 4.0%
55-H 2.7/50.4 5.4%

VSL SSI 2000 Stay Cable System

The stay cable system for the Queensferry Crossing was provided by a company called “VSL” and their brochures identify certain “main dimensions” and numbers of strands which correspond to the number of strand attachment shafts in each of VSL’s range of stay cable anchor heads.

As I did above for the 55 strands case, I detail below similar strand heating capacity calculations for each of the other “main dimension” number of strands used in the Queensferry Crossing – 61, 73, 85, 91 and 109 strands, but not for 43 or 127 strands which size of anchor heads weren’t used.

61-Strand Cable

For the 61-strand cable, the total heating capacity factor assigned is 54.

For the 61-strand cable, there are a total of 24 strands which have utility for heating the cable – 6 x 61-Gs, 12 x 61-Hs and 6 x 61-Is. There are 37 other strands – the 61-A to 61-Fs.

Strands-label Heating power fraction Heating power %
61-G 2/54 3.7%
61-H 2/54 3.7%
61-I 3/54 5.6%


For the 73-strand cable, the total heating capacity factor assigned is 58.8.

For the 73-strand cable, there are a total of 30 strands which have utility for heating the cable – 12 x 73-Hs, 6 x 73-Is and 12 x 73-Js. There are 43 other strands – the 73-A to 73-Gs.

Strands-label Heating power fraction Heating power %
73-H 1/58.8 1.7%
73-I 2.4/58.8 4.1%
73-J 2.7/58.8 4.6%


For the 85-strand cable, the total heating capacity factor is 62.4.

For the 85-strand cable, there are a total of 30 strands which have utility for heating the cable – 6 x 85-Is, 12 x 85-Js and 12 x 85-Ks. There are 55 other strands – the 85-A to 85-Hs.

Strands-label Heating power fraction Heating power %
85-I 1/62.4 1.6%
85-J 2/62.4 3.2%
85-K 2.7/62.4 4.3%


For the 91-strand cable, the total heating capacity factor is 66.

For the 91-strand cable, there are a total of 30 strands which have utility for heating the cable – 12 x 91-Js, 12 x 91-Ks and 6 x 91-Ls. There are 61 other strands – the 91-A to 91-Is.

Strands-label Heating power fraction Heating power %
91-J 2/66 3%
91-K 2/66 3%
91-L 3/66 4.5%


For the 109-strand cable, the total heating capacity factor is 70.8.

For the 109-strand cable, there are a total of 36 strands which have utility for heating the cable – 12 x 109-Ks, 6 x 109-Ls, 6 x 109-Ms and 12 x 109-Ns. There are 73 other strands – the 109-A to 109-Js.

Strands-label Heating power fraction Heating power %
109-K 1/70.8 1.4%
109-L 2.4/70.8 3.4%
109-M 2/70.8 2.8%
109-N 2.7/70.8 3.8%

109-strand cable anchor

For now, I am assuming for simplicity that the nominal maximum heating power in Watts/metre of cable length is the same as the stay pipe diameter in mm.

Number of strands
in the cable
Stay Pipe Diameter
Heating power
55 200 200
61 225 225
73 250 250
85 250 250
91 280 280
109 315 315


This is not far off the maximum heat radiation from the sun on such a stay pipe, square on to the sun, at midday, midsummer, on a cloudless day – or more than enough heat to melt any ice in short order!

At this maximum heating power and after the cable cores warm up, they will emit 1000÷π = 318 Watts of heat energy per metre-squared of stay pipe surface area.

Strands Power, Current and Voltage per Metre

It is now possible to tabulate for each “main dimension” cable-label strand, the maximum heating power per metre and assuming a strand resistance of 0.001137 ohms per metre, what the maximum strand current and voltage potential per metre would be.

Strands-label Maximum strand power (Watts/metre) Maximum strand current (Amps) Maximum strand voltage (milliVolts/metre)
55-F 4.0 59 67
55-G 7.9 84 95
55-H 10.7 97 110
61-G 8.3 86 97
61-H 8.3 86 97
61-I 12.5 105 119
73-H 4.3 61 70
73-I 10.2 95 108
73-J 11.5 100 114
Strands-label Maximum strand power (Watts/metre) Maximum strand current (Amps) Maximum strand voltage (milliVolts/metre)
85-I 4 59 67
85-J 8 84 95
85-K 10.8 98 111
91-J 8.5 86 98
91-K 8.5 86 98
91-L 12.7 106 120
109-K 4.4 63 71
109-L 10.7 97 110
109-M 8.9 88 101
109-N 12.0 103 117

Cable voltages and power

To calculate the cable voltages and power and to calculate the total maximum power to heat all the cables of the Queensferry Crossing accurately, I needed to know how many of each size of cable and their lengths.


In April 2021, Transport Scotland finally released to me the details of the lengths, the number of strands and the stay pipe details for each stay cable of the Queensferry Crossing. To handle all the electrical-heating calculations for all this data, I wrote a spreadsheet – the details and download for which can be found in my new blog post:

Bridge Stay Cable Electrical-Heating Strand Calculator

Anchor head vacant strand shafts

The released cable data revealed that the Queensferry Crossing designers have freely used intermediate numbers of strands in the stay cables, leaving some of the anchor heads’ strand attachment shafts vacant.

Number of strand shaft vacancies in anchor head Number of cables with such anchor heads
0 30
1 28
2 or more 230

Vacant strand shafts may be considered for use to occupy with additional signal-only strands for the cable, or alternate heating-only strands if those vacant strand shafts are located on the periphery of the cable, near to the stay pipe.

(“-only” in this context meaning “not load bearing” so such additional strands could be thinner or made of optical fibre for signals, copper to maximise the current-carrying capacity through the shafts and/or aluminium to reduce the weight of the strand but anodised aluminium to increase emissivity and/or some other alloy for its electrical heating properties.)

I’ve used this data and supplementary cable geometric data to construct a 3D model of the cables and animate it.


HDPE Sheathed Stay Cable Strands

Other than at the anchorages where it is stripped off so the wedges can grip onto the wires, the strands are protected by an HDPE sheath with good electrical insulator properties – more than enough to insulate the cable heating voltages required – a maximum of about 100V for the longest cables.

No Cathodic Hydrogen Charging

The integrity of the HDPE sheath prevents a corrosion process whereby moisture from the outside air could in theory penetrate any wear-and-tear gaps in the strand’s HDPE sheath to react slowly with the zinc galvanic coating to liberate hydrogen atoms from the water which could threaten to embrittle the steel wires over time with the potential eventually to lead to broken wires.

Likewise, the same integrity of the HDPE sheath would also prevent any possibility of the establishment of a cathodic hydrogen charging circuit through non-existing electrolyte-infiltrated gaps in the sheath. So in normal operation, the heating voltages and currents would be unable to emit hydrogen within the sheath – for the same reason that domestic electrical power cables do not emit hydrogen within their insulating sheaths either.

However, should there ever be a failure of the HDPE sheath integrity and consequential ingress of damp, salty air (or any other electrolyte) which establishes a new fault or leakage circuit then the heating system’s fault or leakage current detection circuits must be able to detect the fault condition, immediately cut the power to avoid any risk of exacerbating mechanisms of hydrogen emission and embrittlement and report the fault condition so as to prompt remedial maintenance, of course. (See “DC Circuit Diagrams”)

Temperature of the cable strands when heating

I’ve calculated the expected temperature of the heating strand’s HDPE sheaths as a function of the heating power in Watts per square metre of stay pipe surface.

The void between the outer heating strands and the inner face of the stay pipe requires the strands to cool by radiation, which may be calculated using the Stefan–Boltzmann law. The smaller void with the compact arrangement of strands cools the strands and heats the stay pipe a bit better. The conduction of heat energy from the inner face to the outer face of the stay pipe is relatively efficient and therefore relatively insignificant to the strand sheath temperature but may be calculated simultaneously using Fourier’s Law of thermal conduction.

HDPE copes with boiling temperatures quite well so the strand sheaths ought to cope very well with a temperature of under 70°C at the assumed maximum heating power of 318 W/m². Cognisance of the commensurate sheath temperature would inform design selection of a system’s actual maximum heating power.

Should the strand temperature rise sufficiently to melt the wax coating then the melted wax would still be constrained to flow within the HDPE sheath and so flow rates may be negligible.

The above calculation of temperature assumes that the stay pipe surface is being cooled to 0°C, by melting snow or ice or by sleet. Temperature sensors must inform the heating system’s computer control to reduce the heating power appropriately when the temperature of the stay pipe surface rises above 0°C.

Forced Convection

Other bridges subjected to much icier weather may require more powerful heating so strand overheating may be a greater risk and then in order to enhance the heat transfer from strands to stay pipe, one could force convection in the air space between the strands and stay pipe, by oscillating an air flow up and down the cable and creating air turbulence within the pipe.

I don’t propose to spend any time soon researching exactly how forced convection could be engineered because the Queensferry Crossing strands won’t overheat according to my calculations.

Direct Current Heating

Those theoretical differences between strand situations only matter for direct current heating if it is possible electrically to isolate strands from each other. The strands are attached via steel wedges to a steel anchor head, which, for now, incidentally connects all the strands together electrically.

55-strand cable anchor

Please note, however, that when introducing a design requirement to conduct large electrical currents between strand pairs at the tower anchor heads (see DC Circuit Diagrams) the incidental electrical connection at the wedges may be of insufficiently or unreliably low resistance and should be supplemented with an ultra-low resistance connector between the strand ends, to avoid faults developing from excessive resistance heating at the wedges.

Electrically isolating heating and signal strands

Cable anchorages

Teflon/PTFE-coated glass fibre fabric sheaths to electrically isolate the strands from the anchor head. The outer strands are for heating. The inner strands are for signals.

It should be possible to insert Teflon/PTFE-coated glass fibre fabric sheaths between the wedges which grip the strands we wish to insulate and to isolate from the anchor head and from each other, unless and until they are connected to electrical heating or signal circuits.

One option is to make a solid, Glass-fibre Reinforced Plastic (GRP) sheath or sleeve, using the fabric sleeve as the preform. Epoxy resin would perform satisfactorily no doubt but for this application, a cyanate ester resin would offer superior electrical insulation properties or epoxies with a low co-efficient of thermal expansion may be better suited for the purpose.

The signal circuits could be used to report to the power supply control electronics at one end of the cable, the voltage on the heating circuit or the output of heating current sensors at the other end of the cable, to help to detect current leakage faults in the cable strands’ insulation or anomalous resistance imbalances between the heating strands, to implement a residual current device, to trigger safety power-cut-outs or circuit-breakers, most notably.

Teflon is a good insulator and is used for thread seal tape illustrating the properties of lubrication of the wedge to its housing cone required. The glass fibre fabric should provide strength under compression and a superior dimensional stability versus creep under load that a pure Teflon sheath may suffer from.

Clearly the sheath would have to remain thick enough to insulate against the highest voltage difference which might appear between the heating strands and the anchor head.

Such sheaths would likely not be available as an off-the-shelf product in the required dimensions, though general purpose PTFE-coated fibre glass cloth is commonly available and this expandable E-glass sleeving, expands from a relaxed internal bore of 15mm to a maximum bore of 38mm and insulates to 500V when not expanded, which is a useful size while relaxed to accommodate the strand and while expanded to accommodate the wedges.

The insulation should cope with the highest DC voltage of about 100 Volts, used to power the longest and highest heating capacity factor strands, albeit that this sleeving is inappropriately resin-coated and would therefore likely require to be custom adapted, the resin cleaned off and the inner surface re-coated with PTFE, tested and proved in the laboratory. The terms “sheath” and “sleeve” are here used interchangeably.

Assembly of insulating sheaths / sleeves

(This is merely a preliminary and incomplete description of suggested procedures, methods and tools which are for now provisional, subject to revision and must anyway first be trialled and perfected in the laboratory before being approved for training purposes and for installation on the bridge.)

Start with the longest cable and then do the next longest cable, then the next longest etc. until you finish with the shortest cable.

Match the 288 cables in pairs on opposite sides of the same tower. For each of the 8,640 or so heating (and assuming only +1 signal strand per cable for the cable’s tower anchor head earth voltage, see DC Circuit Diagrams) strands that require to be insulated at the deck anchorage, pair that strand with an equivalent strand in the paired cable and so far as is possible have two teams in telephone or radio or computer network contact doing the equivalent strand operations simultaneously in both cables so as to keep the forces as balanced as is practical.

Simultaneously de-stress the old strand pair, remove them and put them aside for reuse in shorter cables later.

Why all the re-stranding?
Re-stranding may inconveniently be necessary and turns the insulation of the strands into a significant bridge re-stranding operation because when the strands were cut for capping off, they became too short to manipulate loose in situ to facilitate inserting the insulating sleeves.

Stay cable strands stresses and strains

The above figure by Bekaert, the stay cable strand supplier, which I have annotated to illustrate typical strand stresses and strains, suggests that the strands in the shortest cable of 95m while under the least strain (0.27%) would be 26cm shorter when loose. The strands in the longest cable of 421m while under the most strain (0.42%) would be 176 cm shorter when loose. So strands that have been cut off to fit in the cable end cap, once let loose will then be too short to feed back through the anchor head to be gripped by the puller for re-stressing. 

If it were only a practical option to splice on, in situ, a length of strand to restore the original, at-installation length and similar tensile strength of the strand at the join, with the same diameter so that the strand could pass through its shaft in the anchor head, then the time-consuming and expensive bridge re-stranding operation could be avoided, but is that splicing a practical option, in this case? I don’t think so but then I am no expert in splicing.

Exercising due diligence, it may be dutiful to consult specialists in the wire rope splicing field but the first difficulty is that there is only the very short stub of strand protruding from the anchor head to work with in the extremely confined space. I suppose one could release the strand from its deck anchorage, remove the lowest section of the cable’s stay pipe, pull the end of the strand up on deck to give the splicer a lot more length of the end of the loose strand to work with and a lot more room to work in. I’m not sufficiently experienced in the art of wire rope splicing to know if this can be done successfully in situ in the case of a 15.7 mm diameter 7-wire stay cable strand, but it may be worth consulting the splicing experts I suppose. A spliced strand would require to be as strong as the original strand and I think you’d always be concerned that the performance of the spliced strand was never going to be quite as good as the original so what performance and safety reassurance could there be using spliced strands? Meanwhile I shall continue below as if splicing the strands isn’t practical here and therefore a significant re-stranding of the bridge is required. If splicing turns out to be a practical option then one can read “replaced strand” below alternatively as “spliced strand”.

Replace the removed strands with a longer pair of strands, cut to the originally specified installation length, when possible reusing strands previously removed from a longer cable.

The strands to be insulated in the top and longest 12 cables will need to be replaced with new longer strands. The strands to be insulated in the other 276 cables can often be replaced with an old longer strand that had been replaced from a longer cable.

I estimate that the bridge re-stranding operation could be timetabled for completion in 48 stages of the working time it takes the cable teams each to remove, to insulate and to replace 1 strand, assuming that up to 288 cable teams and the required tools were available to work on all cables simultaneously.

Restranding Timetable – UPDATE

Transport Scotland’s April 2021 release to me 😀 of the details of the number of strands in each stay cable of the Queensferry Crossing allows me now to update my “Restranding Timetable”

The number of strands in the bridge 21,186    100%
To be replaced with a new longer strand 440 2%
Replace with an old strand from a longer cable 7,764 37%
To be left as now 12,982 61%

Insulating Timetable South Tower Stay Cables

Click for high resolution

Insulating Timetable Centre Tower Stay Cables

Click for high resolution

Insulating Timetable North Tower Stay Cables

Click for high resolution

Strands are gripped by wedges pulled tightly into the cable anchor block

Before inserting the replacement strands, we can take advantage of the empty strand shafts and wedge-receiving conical housings in the deck anchor heads to secure the insulating sleeves in place, with epoxy glue applied to the outside of the sleeves, held in place firmly against the anchor head shafts until the glue sets by appropriately-shaped non-stick moulds.

Only the inner surface of the sleeves would benefit from a PTFE-coating; the outside surface of the sleeves would best be uncoated, to more effectively bond with the glue. The steel inner surface of the anchor head shaft could be pre-roughened with a fine abrasive to more effectively bond to the glue and to the sleeve. Once the glue had set and the sleeve was secure in position, the applicator moulds could be removed and the new strands inserted.

Attach low resistance measuring instruments to confirm that the strands are insulated from the deck anchor heads.

This arrangement offers the best prospect for the insulating sleeves remaining fixed in the desired locations as the strands strain as they are stressed during the installation procedure, moving under tension through the anchor head shafts, rubbing on the PTFE-coated inner surface of the sleeves, whatever reduced friction trying to drag the sleeves along with the strands but being strongly resisted by the glue holding the sleeves in place.

The strand pairs would then be stressed to specification to be secured with wedges and I understand that pairs of hydraulic pullers / mono-strand jacks can be operated remotely so that they pull together from opposite sides of a tower, which would be ideal.

Assuming that the pullers are successfully de-stressed while the wedges prove to hold the strands as expected then we can proceed to remove the pullers. Then test again to ensure that the strands + wedges assemblies are still insulated from the anchor heads in which they are now securely held. If the test is passed we can assume that those strands are now ready to be connected up to the heating electrics.

We won’t be cutting off the long ends of the insulated strands for capping, in case the insulation needs to be renovated in future, because we don’t want to have to go to all the bother of replacing the strands again!

The deck anchor heads will be left uncapped and the long ends of the insulated strands will have additional insulating sleeves added along the whole of the exposed long ends and will be tied up ready for the electricians to rearrange as required for connecting up to the heating power supplies.

DC Power Supplies

Not forgetting DC power supplies and I have noticed a comprehensive range of 3kW to 10kW DC power supplies here that I think will do nicely, an average of about a dozen power supplies per cable (more for the longer cables, fewer for the shorter cables), about 3500 power supplies required to de-ice all 288 cables.

Where to store the cable power supplies?

Let’s examine the option of storing the cable heating power supplies in the towers, racked next to the anchorages of the cables which they will be heating. There might just be enough room to squeeze in another half a tonne of power supplies for the 4 cables per floor (assuming their racks are securely attached to the tower walls), 12 tonnes worth of power supplies for all 24 floors per tower, for all 3 towers!

Even at 94% efficiency for switch mode power supplies, each tower’s cable power supplies could be generating at most about 0.4 MW of waste heat energy. A new massive extractor fan fitted into the roofs of the towers would be required to cool the inside of the towers while the DC power supplies are heating the cables.

Considering how cramped the insides of the towers are already, the daunting cooling problem, not to mention the risk of a tower fire destroying all of a tower’s power supplies at one time, it looks to be much the better option to install the cable power supplies on the deck, next to the deck anchorages to allow them to be supplied with power.

The stay cables penetrate the surface of the deck, as can be clearly seen in this next photograph, taken during construction.

Therefore best access to the anchor heads, to attach the cable heating power supplies, may be from inside the deck, where the power supplies themselves should be stored too.

Store power supplies below deck


Deck Section Stay Cable Anchorage


Deck cable anchor

DC Circuit Diagrams

Locating all the electrics at the deck anchorages, while leaving the strands earthed at the tower anchorages, offers advantages for design, development, installation, commissioning and servicing.

Heating strands pair voltage balance detector

The window detector circuit compares the isolated power supply’s potential with respect to earth to detect the expected balance of resistance and voltage in the heating strands pair. If an imbalance fault develops then the safety switch is used to cut the power.

DC Summary

So isolating the strands for DC heating purposes presents technical challenges. It would be very convenient if the outer strands could be preferentially used for heating purposes without having to isolate the strands electrically etc. but to achieve that we must consider using not direct current but alternating current instead.

Alternating Current Heating

The skin effect observed with alternating current changes matters in that with increasing frequency the heating current will tend to distribute towards strands nearer the surface of a cable. However if too great a frequency is used then the skin effect will increase the resistance of even the most superficial strands so much that inappropriately high and difficult to insulate against voltages would be required to obtain the required heating power.

Assuming that the appropriate AC frequency can be determined for preferentially heating the superficial strands of the Queensferry Crossing stay cables, although there would be no need to isolate the strands from the anchor head, there then presents the challenge of isolating the anchor heads and anchorages so that the current is not dissipated through the bridge instead of heating the cables as required.

Having isolated the cables for heating purposes, one may then wish later to reconnect the cables electrically to the rest of the bridge and disconnect the heating power supplies for lightning protection purposes. Certainly, one would not wish to encourage a lightning strike to find its way to ground via the bridge’s cable deicing power supplies!

Tower ice

To prevent the bridge piers or towers (with non-conducting concrete surfaces) from icing up, they could have been surface fitted with new electrical heating trace cables which are then appropriately electrically-powered for deicing when necessary.

Ideally, such additional heating elements would have been embedded into the surface of the piers at construction time. Too late for that now.

Another option to consider is heating the hollow towers from within. However, considering the considerable mass and thickness of the towers, their surfaces would have to be kept above freezing temperature all winter long. Heating the towers from within, there simply wouldn’t be time to allow the towers to get freezing cold because there was no icing then suddenly heat them from the inside to deice a sudden incidence of icing.

So heating from within bridge towers would use more electricity, though the cost shouldn’t be prohibitive – surplus grid electricity is a common occurrence at times of high wind power generation, so the electricity grid managers should offer a very low price for such electricity (just the grid connection charge) – plus it should be a lot safer upgrade from the point of view of bridge users – far less chance of things falling onto the road during the fitting of the towers’ internal heating elements.

Heating the towers may be as simple as a big electric heater on the ground floor, the warm air rising up the insides of the towers, in between the open stairways and scaffolding.

Laboratory Tests

Scotsman: Lab tests for measures to stop ice falling from Queensferry Crossing
“Technology to prevent ice falling from the Queensferry Crossing is to be tested in a specially-created laboratory that will replicate the climactic conditions required for ice to form on the bridge.”

Transport Scotland is already mismanaging this useful new test lab by refusing to use the cable strands as “heated wires”, as I propose.

The Scottish Government should commission me to de-ice the Queensferry Crossing and to manage this lab, ending Transport Scotland’s mismanagement.

“Cable sheath surface modifications” [WRONG] – mesh offers additional surfaces for ice to form on and fall from

“mechanical vibration / ultrasonic” [WRONG] – limited range so would destroy near plastic stay pipe before dislodging distant ice

“robotics” [WRONG] – unreliable / maintenance issues

Trace heating is a low-maintenance industry standard.

Using the bridge’s own cable strands to carry the trace current is innovative but equally low maintenance.

So Transport Scotland mislead by claiming “significant maintenance challenges” for heated wires.

Cunning Diversion Plan

Transport Scotland’s cunning plan to divert traffic when the Queensferry Crossing has to close for ice


Tel.01224 583906 (landline, goes straight to answering machine)

Email: peterdowaberdeen@gm…….


Filed under Queensferry Crossing