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17 August 2001

Unsafe Aberdeenshire Roads Stymie Walk-In Protest

"This highlights potential risks to casualties who could be forced to travel 50 miles for Accident & Emergency treatment" says Local MSP Stevenson

Following the withholding of permission today [Friday] for a small nunber of protestors to walk from Banff to Aberdeen over four days, Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has spoken out:

"While we must respect police advice that the planned walk by Chalmers Hospital Action Group members from Banff to Aberdeen would be dangerous, it raises important issues.

"A road that is dangerous for a small group of adults to walk in broad daylight must represent a real risk to casualties who might have to travel on a dark winter's night for Accident and Emergency treatment. Withdrawal of facilities at Banff's Chalmers Hospital could turn that risk into tragedy.

"Given that the stated intention of the walkers was to conform in every respect with the Highway Code, the reported suggestion by Aberdeenshire Council that they would charge walkers for the provision of an escort is monstrous.

"I'm sure that this set-back will not deter Chalmers Hospital campaigners. Rather it will stiffen their resolve in the fight to keep the long promised re-build at the top of Grampian Health's priorities."


Linking this refusal to the long-running campaign for the restoration of free school buses for children throughout Aberdeenshire, Stevenson continued;

"Paradoxically the Liberals on Aberdeenshire Council have spent the better part of a year assuring worried parents that their roads are safe for children to walk to school even on dark winter mornings.

"It will be a challenge for the Council's political leaders to explain how their roads are safe for our youngsters but too dangerous for a small group of highly disclipined adult walkers campaigning for a vital community facility."

Stewart Stevenson
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