THE good weather and holiday weekends have seen visitors flock to the county. Not just the additional numbers but the accents disclose that it’s people who have come for a break. That’s a good thing as they boost the local economy, spending cash and creating jobs.

But it also comes at a price as the pressure on facilities and services increases.

Why should those costs all be met by local residents? Often public toilets, litter collection and ranger services on the beaches or elsewhere will be used as much, if not more, by visitors than locals. Surely those visiting should contribute too.

It’s why I support a tourist tax. Of course, it has to be set at a modest, not exorbitant, rate and should be hypothecated to support those services that are needed by visitors but are currently having to be paid for solely by locals. It’s bad enough many locals being unable to buy a home in their own communities without having the added ignominy of paying for those that are staying in them only occasionally. Indeed, a small charge might well be what allows the council to keep some services open.

The suggestion it will see tourists stay away is fanciful. It’s common in many European destinations and in America local sales taxes are levied. I’ve travelled extensively and never once chosen to avoid an area because of such an imposition. It was just a cost factored in when booking a hotel in Naples or when shopping or dining in America. It would be the same here.

Last week, I mentioned how Ireland was outperforming Scotland, including in their funds for communities with offshore wind installations – all indicative of what small nations can achieve with the powers and the will. Now it has been brought to my attention that Denmark is taking a 20 per cent stake in every new offshore wind farm. Meanwhile, we have the absurdity of foreign state energy companies owning ours. The SNP promised one but failed to deliver. They should be ashamed and a public share should be taken.