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26 September 2017

MSP Welcomes Start of Feasibility Work at St Fergus

A feasibility study in to a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project at St Fergus has started, almost two years since £1billion of investment at Peterhead Power Station was pulled by the UK Government.

The move has been welcomed by Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson who said it showed a clear “commitment” by the SNP to the North-East of Scotland.

It comes after his discussion last week with the Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse on the issue.

Plans for a feasibility study had been announced by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during her speech to parliament announcing the Programme for Government earlier this month.

Mr Wheelhouse said the UK Government’s decision to scrap the £1billion CCS programme for Peterhead was a “disgrace” and a “lost opportunity for Scotland”.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“I very much welcome the news that this study will commence and it shows the commitment the SNP has to the North-East of Scotland.

“The UK Tory Government has shown nothing but contempt towards this area by pulling £1 billion from the project in Peterhead putting at a risk an opportunity to benefit the environment, create jobs and boost the economy of the North East.

“Meanwhile, the Scottish Government is doing what it can to mitigate against this and ensure that the North East becomes a world leader in this innovative technology. We cannot afford for this to become another missed opportunity because of a Tory government that doesn’t care about the North East of Scotland.”

19 September 2017

Stevenson Celebrates the Difference at Fraserburgh Event

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson was a guest speaker at the annual Celebrate the Difference event in Fraserburgh on Saturday.

(l to r): Elizabeth Pittendrigh, Stewart Stevenson MSP and Therine Henderson
at the Fraserburgh & District Older People’s stand
The popular event which brings together the varied cultures and people who call Fraserburgh home and provides an afternoon of Music, Entertainment and Food as well as a showcase for the local voluntary and charitable organisations to meet with local residents.

Commenting Mr Stevenson said:

“I am delighted to have taken part in another successful Celebrate the Difference event at Fraserburgh College this weekend.

“It was good to meet people from around the world who chose to live in the Fraserburgh area and to learn a little about their heritage and culture, as well as our own. Events such as this show the fantastic community spirit we have in the North-east and I would like to thank Margaret Gault and all of the organisers who work tirelessly to make this annual event a success.

“As well the food song and dance, Celebrating the Difference provides many local organisations and voluntary groups an opportunity to highlight the important work and services they provide to the local community, after all when we celebrate the difference, we also make a difference.”

15 September 2017

MSP Receives Assurances Over Scottish Lamb in Supermarkets

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has received assurances from two leading supermarkets it will continue to support the Scottish farming industry.

The move was in response to letters from the MSP after recent findings by the National Farmers Union in Scotland (NFUS) had noted low stocks of Scottish lamb in both Asda and Tesco supermarkets.

A report by the NFUS found almost all of the imported meat found amongst the main supermarket chains was on Asda and Tesco shelves.

The percentage was in stark contrast to a previous study conducted the same time last year which found only 3% of fresh lamb on Scottish supermarket shelves was imported at the time.

Mr Stevenson called for more support to be made for Scottish farmers in the wake of the findings.

Now, both Tesco and Asda have said they will do all they can to increase stocks and also work with farmers to understand further improvements can be made.

Tesco’s Head of Devolved Government Affairs Tony McElroy said:

“We were disappointed to see the NFUS press release as we have increased our volume of British lamb over the last 12 months and we do not recognise the findings of the recent Shelf Watch Survey.

“Please be reassured that we are actively working with a small group of Scottish farmers through our Tesco Sustainable Farming Group on Lamb.

“This group are contracted on a cost of production model and the contract length is for 12 months allowing producers to manage cash flow and understand their actual cost of production for lamb.

“We are supporting farmers at a farm level to improve productivity and efficiencies through Technical Workshops via independent consultants.”

Meanwhile Asda said it was a “long-term supporter” of the Scottish red meat sector and had worked hard with suppliers to grow the sector and provide choice to customers.

It said it now planned to increase the volume of lamb sold, including Scotch lamb.

Christopher Brown, Asda’s senior director of Sustainable Business, said:

“Our lamb supplier, Dunbia, has increased the amount of lamb it sources from Scotland, with a rise in volume of over 20% in the past 12 months.

“The National Farmers' Union Scotland report highlighted that we were stocking Australian lamb. This is a small quantity of lamb liver and this supply is being ceased.”

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“It is disappointing that despite the results of the NFUS findings, Tesco has chosen to dismiss the results.

“We must support Scottish farmers and work carried out by the NFUS attempts to highlight the disparities on the level of imports on our supermarket shelves.

“The study was carried out by the NFUS across 46 supermarket stores so this cannot simply be a blip in their recordings.

“The success of farmers relies on the support of retailers to ensure the success of the industry.

“My constituency in particular is one of the key livestock-producing areas and needs the backing of supermarkets like Asda and Tesco in order to continue.

“I look forward to taking Tesco up on its invitation to meet with the select group of farmers it works with to find out more about the work they are doing.”

12 September 2017

MSP Welcomes Economic Boost After Windfarm Contract Win

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed commitment by the UK Government to the Moray Offshore Windfarm off the coast of Fraserburgh.

The project, known as Moray East, is the only Scottish wind project to have been awarded a 15-year Contract for Difference (CfD) from Westminster’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial
Strategy in the current round of licensing.

The move will allow it to provide green energy to the grid.

Moray East will generate enough electricity for around one million homes and will have around 100 240metre tall turbines.

The new agreement will have strike price of £57.50 per megawatt hour.

The price is nearly two thirds less than in 2015 and almost half the price of the deal struck with the new Hinkley C nuclear power station.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“The Scottish Government first approved this windfarm three years ago enabling it to go-ahead.

“The CfD contract is a sizeable achievement and the first of its kind for a project of this type in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government has led the way in renewables and is seen around the world as a crowning example of what can be achieved with alternative energy.

“This project will provide real potential for jobs in the area as well as major economic opportunities for the supply chain.

“The lower cost of the offshore windfarm in providing electricity will also bring much benefit to customers.”

5 September 2017

NHS Grampian Hits Four Hour A&E Target

New figures show that 95.2% of patients in NHS Grampian’s emergency departments were seen, admitted or discharged within four hours – beating the Scottish Government’s 95% target.

Scotland’s Emergency departments met the key waiting times target for two months in a row this summer.

Commenting, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson for Banffshire and Buchan Coast said:

“Scotland has had the best performing emergency departments in the UK for 28 months now, which is testament to the hard work of our NHS and social care workers.

“It is extremely encouraging that Emergency Departments in NHS Grampian are frequently meeting the four hour waiting times target, with the latest figures showing that 95.2% of patients are being seen within four hours.

“We will always value the vital work done by our NHS staff – and we should always celebrate their success and continue to support their efforts.”

MSP Backs Scottish Government CCS Investment for North-East

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has backed the Scottish Government’s investment in a North East CCS (Carbon Capture Storage) project.

Photo: Pale Blue Dot Energy
First Minister Nicole Sturgeon announced the newly proposed Acorn Project has received funding to take forward the feasibility phase of a CCS demonstrator project at St Fergus.

It was revealed as the Programme for Government was announced at the Scottish Parliament.

In 2015, the UK Government pulled more than £1billion of funding for a CCS project at Peterhead Power Station which would have created hundreds of jobs and investment across the region.

The Scottish Government’s Energy Minister said it remained “extremely disappointed” by the UK Government’s withdrawal of the funding in the CCS Commercialisation Programme in which the Peterhead CCS project was the front runner.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“The decision by the UK Government in 2015 to remove funding for CCS was a huge loss to the North-East.

“Scotland has the opportunity to be a world leader in this sector and the investment would have increased the lifespan of Peterhead Power Station and created jobs and investment in the local economy.

“While the new framework for policy on CCS by the UK Government remains unclear, I am delighted that the Scottish Government has pledges this funding which will help to renew investment in this technology.

“Scotland is working towards a low carbon economy and we must support all efforts to ensure we do so.”
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