ShareThis

.

.

29 September 2008

STEVENSON URGES BANFF & BUCHAN RESIDENTS TO TAKE UP FREE FLU JABS

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson is urging high-risk groups of society to take up the free flu jabs offered on the NHS, and ensure they are protected for a year. This week marks this start of the Scottish Government’s annual flu and pneumcoccal immunisation campaign running over the winter months, but the SNP MSP is greatly concerned that many people are unaware that they are eligible for a free jab.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“Last year only around 40% of eligible people under the age of 65 came forward for their jab. This is mainly because they do not know that they qualify.

“It’s a common misconception that only older people are eligible. In actual fact, many others are considered ‘at risk’ – including healthcare workers and carers, and people with certain conditions. If these people do not get vaccinated, they are leaving themselves vulnerable to the effects of the virus.

“It only takes a minute to get a jab, but it will keep you protected for 12 months, and could potentially save your life. I would urge all eligible people throughout Banff & Buchan to make an appointment with their GP for their free vaccination.”

26 September 2008

STEVENSON WELCOMES SUMMIT TO TACKLE DISCARDED FISH

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the fishing discards summit hosted in Edinburgh by the Scottish Government to try and tackle the problem of perfectly good fish being caught and discarded to comply with European fishing regulations.

Every year, around 100, 000 tonnes of fish are dumped back at sea when they could have made around £40 million if they had been sold instead. The summit marks the beginning of a campaign by the Scottish Government to bring about changes to European fishing rules so that this hideous waste is brought to an end.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“Discarding so many perfectly good fish is not something that either the fishing industry or the decision makers in Brussels wants to happen. The current rules are responsible for causing this terrible practice, so clearly the rules have to be rewritten to find a better way for the fishing fleet to operate.

“Skippers in Banff & Buchan don’t want to waste perfectly good fish by being forced to throw them back overboard. The practice runs completely counter to the aim of conserving fish stocks and making the industry sustainable.

“The Scottish Government is calling for new European rules whereby the fleet catches less fish overall but is able to land the marketable fish it is currently having to discard. In this way, fishing stocks will be preserved while at the same time the wasteful practice of discards will become unnecessary.

“Obviously there is a lot of negotiating to do if we are to have any chance of successfully changing European rules, but I am confident that every effort will be put into bringing these needed changes about”.

23 September 2008

Major boost for Midlothian communities as Dalkeith bypass opens

Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson visited Midlothian today to mark the opening of the multi-million pound Dalkeith Northern Bypass which will ease congestion and bring real benefits to local communities along the route.

The £30 million bypass, delivered by infrastructure services company Morgan Est on Transport Scotland’s behalf, involved the design and construction of a 3.5 mile (5.4 kilometre) single carriageway road.

The road combines a new junction on the A720 Edinburgh City bypass east of Sheriffhall with the A68 to the south of Dalkeith.

Mr Stevenson said:

"This vital bypass will ease congestion for residents in the heart of Dalkeith. I’m delighted to also be able to announce today the next stage for improvements on the A68 with the publication of the Road Orders for the Soutra – Oxton road widening scheme later this week.

"Combined with our third project along this route, Pathhead to Tynehead, we are investing £40 million in the A68 to bring economic and safety benefits to Midlothian communities."

With around 1.35 million vehicles and 180,000 heavy goods vehicles currently travelling through the centre of Dalkeith each year, the new bypass is crucial to the community of Dalkeith - cutting the heavy traffic through the town by more than half.

Preparations for the bypass also involved the recently completed £2.2 million package of improvements to the A720 Sheriffhall Roundabout while environmental mitigation measures to minimise the impact of the road has included the planting of 20,000 trees and shrubs as well as careful landscaping.

Jag Paddam, Morgan Est managing director of Infrastructure Projects said:

"It’s fantastic to see the bypass open today and we’ve enjoyed working with Transport Scotland on such an important project for local people. The bypass will benefit those living and working in Dalkeith hugely by not only dramatically reducing congestion in the town but also improving travel links to and from Dalkeith.

"This contract builds on our expertise in the construction, management and delivery of infrastructure schemes in Scotland."

The Soutra to Oxton scheme involves providing almost two miles of road widening to improve overtaking opportunities along this section of the A68.

The consultation period for this scheme starts on 25 September, finishing on 17 October for the Compulsory Purchase orders and 7 November for the draft road order. Subject to there being no objections, the statutory process is expected to be complete by January 2009 with construction starting Winter 2009/2010

For further information on these projects see links below:

22 September 2008

Minister celebrates 25 years of ScotRail network by announcing major boost to east coast services

Train services delivering an extra 1,200 seats and cutting journey times between Edinburgh, Fife and Aberdeen were announced today by Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson.

The Minister made the announcement as part of an event to mark the 25th anniversary of the ‘ScotRail’ identity for rail services in Scotland.

The event at Glasgow Queen Street Station also marked the unveiling of the new livery for all ScotRail trains and stations with the arrival into service of the first rebranded train – a Class 170 – to operate on the Edinburgh Glasgow line.

Stewart Stevenson said:

"ScotRail, currently operated by FirstGroup, runs over 2,000 passenger services throughout Scotland every day . The investment in Edinburgh-Fife-Aberdeen services will mean even more people will have the opportunity to make the switch to public transport, building economic connections across the country.

"The name has been at the heart of Scottish life for a quarter of a century, from its pioneering time as the identity for British Rail in Scotland to today, and is recognised as one of the most impressive performers among the UK’s rail franchise operators.

"I am delighted to formally unveil the new unified ScotRail livery which emphasises that connection with the people of Scotland. It gives Scotland’s railways a strong, dynamic identity, and over time will save taxpayers money.

"The rail network in Scotland makes a significant contribution to our economic and social health, which is why we are investing record levels in public transport to promote the sustainable growth of our national economy."

Due to commence in December, the package of improvements for rail passengers on Edinburgh-Fife-Dundee-Aberdeen services will see:
  • Reduced journey times between Edinburgh and Aberdeen by around 10 minutes.
  • An additional Edinburgh-Dundee service stopping at the intermediate stations in Fife.
  • An hourly fast Edinburgh-Perth service via Fife.
  • A regular half hourly Dundee-Aberdeen service pattern.
  • Additional trains from Fife to Edinburgh in the early morning to help ease congestion on the Forth Road Bridge.
  • Additional seats on existing heavily loaded trains from Fife and Stirling to Edinburgh, and on existing heavily loaded trains into Glasgow from Cumbernauld and Stirling when Bishopbriggs platform is extended in spring 2009.
  • An hourly Aberdeen-Inverurie service throughout the day with more frequent services in the morning and evening peaks.
  • Allows trains to serve the new Laurencekirk station when it opens in Spring 2009.
Mary Grant, Managing Director of First ScotRail, said:

"I welcome these widespread enhancements. Demand for our services continues to accelerate, and these improvements will bring many benefits to our growing number of customers.

"We are committed to support Transport Scotland in the roll out of a new consistent brand for Scotland’s railways and to working together to deliver the best service for Scotland every day."

Representatives from ScotRail throughout the past 25 years were among the guests attending the event at Queen Street Station to see the Minister unveil a plaque marking the anniversary and the launch of the new brand.

The new ScotRail branding incorporates Scotland’s flag, the Saltire, and means Scotland’s trains will have a uniform look for the first time.

It will be extended across all First ScotRail managed stations and trains during routine maintenance cycles to ensure it is carried out at no additional cost to taxpayers.

It is intended the new brand will deliver savings to taxpayers by providing a consistent brand which will not change with a new franchise operator.

Images of the new ScotRail livery are available via the Transport Scotland website. Please follow link: http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/ScotRail-25th-anniversary.

19 September 2008

STEVENSON MEETS WITH SEAFISH INDUSTRY AUTHORITY TO DISCUSS FUTURE OF INDUSTRY

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has met with representatives of SeaFish, the seafood industry’s authority to discuss plans to boost the value and reputation of Scottish seafood. SeaFish is pumping £1 million into Seafood Scotland, the joint delivery partner for this project, which will be supplemented by £300, 000 from the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government’s funding forms part of the £29 million package of measures previously announced to help the fishing industry undertake a range of measures to cope with the current high running costs.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“The fishing industry is vital to Banff & Buchan’s economy and I am pleased to have been able to meet with representatives of the industry to discuss what can be done to overcome the current strains being faced by everyone linked to the industry.

“Ensuring that the brand of Scotland’s fish is recognised as being of superior quality is a vital part in helping the industry, and this money will help to secure that reputation.

“The SNP Government is determined to do everything it can to help support such a vital industry. Banff & Buchan’s fishing industry has faced many challenges, but I am convinced that they can be overcome to ensure we have a sustainable and profitable local fishing industry.”

16 September 2008


A special reception at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh was held recently to celebrate the important role canals play in Scottish communities.

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Stewart Stevenson
addressed the reception, which was well attended by MSPs, partners, canal users, and environmental and transport organisations.

He said: “Canals are playing an increasingly important role in Scotland’s economy, community and heritage. It’s worth highlighting the tremendous success of the Millennium Link and The Falkirk Wheel, one of the most successful Millennium projects in Britain under British Waterway’s stewardship with the Scottish Government, local authorities and other partners working closely together.

British Waterways has a very strong commitment to working with partners to identify opportunities and turn shared plans into successful projects delivered on the ground. ”

BWSG Chairman Jon Hargreaves welcomed the Ministers comments, replying that: “Since joining British Waterways Board earlier this year and having taken over as Chairman of the British Waterways Scotland Group I have been impressed by the range of remarkable engineering achievements and new and innovative regeneration initiatives being actively pursued by British Waterways in Scotland. The wealth of opportunities - across numerous policy areas - which are being pursued on our inland waterways north of the border will make a valuable contribution towards creating a more successful Scotland. The theme of partnership working features strongly in all that British Waterways does and is key to the continued and successful development of our waterways across the UK.”

Jamie Hepburn MSP, who opened and hosted the reception on behalf of British Waterways Scotland, said: “As the regional MSP representing Central Scotland I have witnessed the fantastic impact on communities across the central belt of the Millennium Link canal restoration. The Falkirk Wheel has developed into one of the country’s leading visitor attractions and become an icon for Scotland.

Within my region the new Auchinstarry marina has transformed a previously degraded site into an attractive, thriving rural destination and I am pleased to hear that British Waterways Scotland working in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council is now looking to improve the access and surroundings of the Monkland Canal for the benefit of local communities.”

STEVENSON APPLAUDS START OF EUROPEAN FISHERIES FUND

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the opening of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) to applications from members of the Scottish fishing industry. The fund will support investment in sustainable fisheries for the next six years in Scotland through £43 million worth of investment of European funding between now and 2013 which will be open to fisheries business, including vessel owners, aquaculture business, port operators and processors in Scotland to allow them to invest in their businesses.

Guidance on how to apply to the new scheme has been published by the Scottish Government and is available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Fisheries/grants-subsidies .

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“The fishing industry is vital to the economic wellbeing of Banff & Buchan, and this new fund will help to keep the industry competitive amid rising operating costs and support the communities that rely on the fishing industry.

“The UK government has allowed to price of marine fuel to an almost unviable level in recent years and although this money is not only about helping to alleviate the cost of fuel, it will go a long way towards helping the fishing industry cope.

“£19 million of the fund has been allocated to helping Scotland’s fishing fleet to adapt to high fuel prices through greater modernisation and efficiency, and I hope that everyone in Banff & Buchan’s fishing industry who is eligible will apply for this funding”


Notes:

1. Link to three-year fuel plan:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Fisheries/fuel-plan

2. The European Fisheries Fund (EFF) is a new fund for EU fisheries grants operating until December 2013, replacing the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) programme. The EU and Scottish Government will use the EFF to provide co-funding for projects in partnership with the fisheries industry and communities that have an interest in fisheries.

11 September 2008

STEVENSON CONDEMNS GORDON BROWN’S GREEN ENERGY HYPOCRISY

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has reacted angrily to the latest example of the Prime Minister’s shameless hypocrisy in calling for the creation of 1 million ‘green collar’ jobs by 2028.

The UK government torpedoed plans to create a pioneering carbon capture and storage project in Peterhead that would have brought jobs and investment to Banff & Buchan. Instead, the project is now being built in Abu Dhabi.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“The UK Government’s failure to support green energy initiatives in the past makes Gordon Brown’s current rhetoric on growing the sector all the more contemptible. He may now be trying to talk up his green credentials, but when it comes to action he is nowhere to be seen.

“He had the opportunity to help Scotland lead the world in developing this technology but thanks to his characteristic dithering and lack of commitment, Peterhead lost out.

“Instead of building the first power station of its type anywhere in the world, Scotland instead lost out thanks to Westminster. Their failure on this issue stands in stark contrast to the action taken by the Scottish Government, which means that it is now on course to surpass its challenging target of generating 31% of Scotland’s energy from renewable sources by 2011.

“Since May 2007, the Scottish Government has approved 13 new renewable projects, in contrast to just 17 that were approved in the previous four years. Clearly, where others only talk, we are committed to delivering on our ambitious green energy targets for Scotland.”

1 September 2008

STEVENSON WELCOMES PUBLIC INPUT INTO SENTENCING GUIDELINES

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the announcement that members of the public are to be given the opportunity to provide their input into the sentencing guidelines issued to members of the judiciary.

While it is vital to the criminal justice system that judges retain their freedom to pass sentence in individual cases as they see fit, the guidelines provide an important and transparent framework that the judiciary can base its sentences on.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“This consultation will provide an opportunity for members of the public and interested groups to have their say on the sentencing guidelines that are being drawn up.

“By making sure ordinary people have a voice in drawing up these guidelines, members of the public will be able to take greater confidence in the robustness of the Scottish legal system. The SNP committed to providing this mechanism in our manifesto, and I am delighted that we are able to fulfil that promise.

“I would like to encourage as many interested people as possible to take part in this consultation and help to build a justice system that is right for modern Scotland and continues to be admired around the world.”

STEVENSON APPEALS FOR MORE CHILDREN’S PANEL VOLUNTEERS

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has echoed the Scottish Government’s call for more adults to volunteer for Children’s Panels and help turn around the lives of vulnerable kids.

By giving children in difficult situations a voice, Children’s Panels help to provide a positive change in direction and allow children to fulfil their potential.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“Children’s Panels can make a massive difference in the lives of local children who have been neglected, abused, or broken the law.

“By providing a support framework for these kids, the volunteers that make up Children’s Panels can have an incalculable role in helping them through the difficult situations in which they find themselves. Those volunteers who are already involved in Children’s Panels are doing a fantastic job, but we need more people to step up if every child in Banff & Buchan that finds themselves in difficulty is going to receive the support they need.


“You don’t need any special qualifications; you just need to be over 18 and able to spare some time to help make a difference to children’s lives. Just call 0845 601 2770 or text Panel3 to 61611 or go to www.infoscotland.com/childrenspanel."
Name:
  required
Address:
  required
Email:
  required
Tel No.
  optional
Message:
  required

Stewart Stevenson
does not gather, use or
retain any cookie data.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP