19 October 2018

MSP Backs Guide Dogs Scotland Call for Increased Pavement Parking Awareness

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has called for more awareness about the challenges pavement parked cars create for partially sighted and blind people.

It comes after a survey by Guide Dogs Scotland showed that 97% of blind or partially sighted people encounter problems with street obstructions and 90% of those had experienced trouble with a pavement parked car.

Mr Stevenson was told about the difficulties that local authorities face earlier this month, at the SNP’s Autumn Conference, in trying to tackle the issue with their current powers, and why Guide Dogs is calling for a clear law on pavement parking.

Guide Dogs Scotland is supporting proposals in the Transport (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament that would prohibit pavement parking, except in areas which need a legitimate exemption.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I was grateful representatives from Guide Dogs Scotland met with me to explain some of the challenges partially sighted and blind people face in their day-to-day lives whilst out and about.

“It is easy to forget some of the things we take for granted can cause injury or distress and we must be more mindful.

“I look forward to hearing more from Guide Dogs Scotland and the important work they do.”

Niall Foley, Engagement Manager at Guide Dogs Scotland, commented:

“Cars blocking pavements are a nuisance for everyone, but can be a real danger for people for people with sight loss, potentially forcing them out into the roads to get by.

"The powers that councils and police have at the moment aren’t sufficient to tackle the problem, and that’s why we are supporting the Scottish Government’s proposals in the Transport (Scotland) Bill for a clear law where drivers cannot park on the pavement unless they’re in a specifically designated area.”

Local MSP Calls for Mundell to Back Scottish Farmers in Funding Review

Westminster Continues to Withhold EU Millions from Scotland

David Mundell must choose whether to “back or betray” Scottish farmers, the SNP has said, by demanding that they receive £160m in funding to which they are entitled.
UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove this week unveiled a much-delayed review into funding for farmers post-Brexit, under pressure from the Scottish Government, who have repeatedly criticised Westminster's decision to withhold £160m in convergence payments from Scottish farmers. The UK only qualified for the uplift of EU CAP payments because Scotland’s euro per hectare rate fell below average.

The remit of the review appears to have been significantly watered down – but the SNP has challenged Mr Mundell to back Scotland’s farmers by making clear his unequivocal support for this funding coming to Scotland – and threaten to resign if necessary.

Previously the Scottish Secretary came under fire for supporting a £1bn supply-and-confidence deal for Northern Ireland in exchange for DUP votes, despite claiming "I’m not going to agree to anything that could be construed as backdoor funding to Northern Ireland.”

This week, he threatened to resign if the devolved nations were offered a special Brexit deal that could protect Scotland’s economy by remaining in the customs union or single market after Brexit.

Commenting, local MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The way in which the UK Tory Government has withheld £160m in funding rightfully due to Scotland’s farmers is absolutely outrageous. It is solely because of Scotland that the UK, as the Member State, qualified for this funding.

“The UK Government only agreed to review this funding under pressure from the SNP and the Scottish Government. It is incredibly disappointing that they have announced it before responding to the Scottish Government’s concerns – not least because the remit of the review appears to have been significantly watered down from their previous commitments.

“It is therefore more important than ever that David Mundell, as the Scottish Secretary, adds his voice to calls for Scotland’s farmers to receive what they are entitled to.

“Last year Mr Mundell said he would refuse to support any backdoor deal with the DUP that would see money going to Northern Ireland but not Scotland – but then did exactly that.

"And as recently as this week, he reportedly threatened to resign if the devolved UK nations that voted to remain in the EU were offered a special deal that could protect Scotland from the economic shock of a hard Brexit.

"He should make clear – by threatening to resign if necessary – that he will not accept his Tory colleagues continuing to short-change Scotland.

“Put bluntly – Mr Mundell needs to decide whether he will back Scotland’s farmers, or betray them.”

MSP Demands Tories Reinstate Carbon Capture & Storage Funding for Peterhead

Ahead of the UK Budget, Stewart Stevenson MSP has demanded that the UK government reinstates the pledged £1 billion funding for a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) scheme in Peterhead.
Tory Chancellor George Osborne axed £1billion of promised funding for CCS technology in 2015, costing jobs and investment in Peterhead power station, which had been earmarked as a potential CCS site.

This demand comes in light of warnings from world leading scientists in this week’s UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that we have only 12 years to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5C or risk extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty for hundreds of millions of people across the globe.

SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast Stewart Stevenson said:

“Peterhead lost out when the Tories axed £1bn for Carbon Capture and Storage at the eleventh hour in 2015 – a betrayal of the North East of Scotland and of the fight against climate change.

“The Tory government cannot continue to ignore the facts that without a CCS strategy, the UK will be much less likely to meet its climate change targets and it will be twice as expensive to do so.

“The Tories need to take action now and stop starving the North East of vital investment in carbon capture technologies before it’s too late. This is an economic opportunity to create hundreds of jobs and build knowledge for the future in a cutting edge field, but it is also a moral imperative.

“We’ve had enough stalling – the UK Government must now get on with delivering clean industries for the future, starting by reinstating investment in Carbon Capture and Storage in Peterhead.”

Stewart Stevenson
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