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31 May 2019

Local MSP & Councillor Pay Tribute to Roger Goodyear

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson and Banff & District councillor Glen Reynolds have paid tribute to Vice Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire and community stalwart Roger Goodyear, who sadly died after a short illness.
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“Roger Goodyear was a stalwart of the community, who was passionate about the local area and showing off all that was great in Banffshire and beyond.

“I was terribly sorry to hear of his passing and I would like to express my deepest condolences to his wife, June, family and friends. I recently nominated Roger to succeed Claire Russell when she retired as Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire. It was a testament to how capable Roger was.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside Roger, who was never afraid to keep me in check. His passing will be a great loss to the community.”

Banff & District councillor Glen Reynolds added:

"Roger leaves behind him a legacy rich in community initiatives and support.

“The boat festival is of course, an enduring testament to his connection with Portsoy and its people. Community participation was core to what made Roger tick and little happened without his input, lovingly offered and greatly appreciated. To state that he and his voluntary work will be missed fails to do justice to the enormity of all he poured himself into for the benefit of others."

29 May 2019

Local MSP "Tries Sailing in May" at Peterhead Sailing Club

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson accepted the challenge from the Royal Yachting Association Scotland (RYA Scotland) to ‘Try Sailing in May’.
The invitation to the SNP MSP was part of the Push The Boat Out initiative, which is all about getting people out on the water locally and giving them the chance to find out how easy it is to get involved in sailing and windsurfing. This popular national event sees hundreds of sailing clubs and training centres up and down the country offering free or low cost ‘have a go’ sailing taster sessions and open days.

Organised by RYA Scotland, the National Governing Body for all forms of recreational, competitive and professional boating, Push The Boat Out 2019 raised the profile of the sport and fostered enthusiasm, ultimately increasing both participation and frequency of boating. The 2019 event runs until 31 May with some 44 Scottish clubs and centres taking part, each hosting fantastic taster sessions and open days.

Commenting after his visit, Stewart Stevenson said:

“Sailing is something I used to take part in back in my younger days so this was an initiative I was very pleased to be able to support.

“I’m very pleased that RYA Scotland have arranged these taster sessions all across the country as it’s a fantastic way to get involved if it’s something you’ve always fancied but never quite known how to get involved.

“It was a pleasure to meet with the members of Peterhead Sailing Club, who are clearly enthusiastic about opening up sailing to wider participation and I hope that initiatives like this lead to more people getting involved.”

Parliamentary Recognition for Banffshire Hotel's Award

Macduff’s Knowes Hotel, winner of the North Region Hotel of the Year, has had its achievement recognised in Parliament.

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson tabled a Motion congratulating owner Wayne Stewart and his team on their success and also their efforts to showcase prime local produce and provide excellent service.
Wayne Stewart and Stewart Stevenson MSP at the Knowes Hotel.
The hotel won the award at the recent Scottish Hospitality Awards and has also gained a ‘Taste Our Best’ badge from VisitScotland.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“I visited Wayne and Linda at the Knowes Hotel last August whilst meeting with several local businesses in Banff and Macduff which were either new starts or takeovers of existing businesses, and they briefed me on their recent extensive refurbishment and extension.

“It’s therefore great to see this investment and hard work being recognised at a national level and I’m pleased to assist with a little bit more recognition for the Knowes in Parliament. This is a tremendous achievement by Wayne, Linda and the team there and I wish them every future success going forward.”

Stevenson Backs Payment for "Valued" Carers from Scot Gov

Carers in the North-East have received a six-figure sum in payments from devolved welfare powers introduced by the Scottish Government.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said financial support for carers helped to show they are “valued and properly supported” in their roles.

The new figures show that in Aberdeenshire, £888,000 was awarded to 2,175 eligible carers last year.

In Aberdeen City, the figures were £674,000 to 1,660 eligible carers.

The Carer’s Allowance Supplement is an extra payment made to carers in Scotland twice a year, in recognition of the important contribution they make.

Carers will now get two supplementary payments totalling £442 per year, equivalent to an extra £8.50 per week, which is a 13% increase on the Carer’s Allowance from the UK Government.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“Carers make an absolutely vital contribution to our society, and it’s only appropriate that they’re duly valued and properly supported.

“These figures show that more than 2,000 people have been supported with the allowance in the last year.

“The SNP Scottish Government is determined to use the powers available to help support the lives of people across Scotland.

“This supplementary payment allows the Scottish Government to get more money into the pockets of carers, as quickly as possible.

“I am delighted that carers in the North-East are being recognised for the important contribution carers make, and the hard work they do in what can often be difficult circumstances.”

24 May 2019

Stevenson Warns PM Resignation Will Cause More "Uncertainty" for NE Businesses

The resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May will do nothing to resolve uncertainty for North-East businesses and exporters.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson warned the change in Tory Prime Minister – the third in three years – will only further hinder the Brexit process.

It comes after the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, warned the UK last month to “not waste this time” given by other European member states for an extension.

Prime Minister Theresa May earlier announced she would resign on June 7th as the leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party to make way for her replacement.

The SNP has renewed calls for a fresh referendum to put the decision back to the people on Brexit.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“Prime Minister Theresa May’s calamitous time in charge of the UK Government has finally come to an end after failing to do anything to resolve the Brexit crisis.

“For businesses in the North-East and in my constituency, this will only extend what has been an increasingly uncertain time over the past three years.

“Businesses and exporters in sectors including farming and fishing want to have assurances and certainty about what is happening not to be bystanders to yet another self-indulgent Tory leadership bid.

“It does nothing to reduce the damage to sectors across the North-East and indeed Scotland who have been completely ignored throughout the Brexit process.”

Stevenson Welcomes Funding for North-East Arts Group

An arts group in the North-East has been awarded a five-figure cash boost by the Big Lottery Fund to work with young people in the community.

The North East Arts Touring Limited has been given £61,000 after applying to Young Start for funding.

The group will work with young people aged between 13-24 to promote a professional theatre and dance performance within their local community.

It also aims to teach transferable skills in events and art management.

During the two-year project, 360 young people will take part, supported by 324 volunteers.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“This funding will help support a new, two-year project aimed at showing young people the benefits of theatre.

“I am pleased the group has been successful in its funding and I look forward to seeing how the project develops over the next two years.

“Funding like this can be a lifeline for community groups and I would urge others to apply for the funding available.”

MSPs Back AWPR Active Travel Donation

North-East MSPs have welcomed funding by the Transport Secretary Michael Matheson for Active Travel in the region.

The Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson has handed over a wealth of nearly new cycling equipment used during the AWPR GoNorthEast Roads Festival last year.

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin and Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson have backed the donation to local organisations, Adventure Aberdeen and Live Life Aberdeenshire.

The equipment includes 13 bikes, 32 children’s-sized helmets and more than 1,000 high-vis jackets.

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP and Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“The completion of the AWPR has already begun to show positive results in terms of travel times and benefit to local businesses.

“The donation of equipment which can be used to support Active Travel in the North-East is extremely welcome.

“Active Travel is incredibly important, and this will help to encourage more people to do. It is also a great way to say thank you to the community who have been so patient during the construction works for the AWPR.”

Rab Dickson, Acting Director, of Nestrans, the regional transport partnership for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire said:

“We have been working with Transport Scotland to help identify a suitable destination for the stock of bikes and equipment they had left over from the Roads Festival.

“We wanted to ensure that as many local people benefit from this equipment and we realised the best way of doing that was to work with the project’s funding partners, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council via their own arms-length bodies, Adventure Aberdeen and Live Life Aberdeenshire.

“Both carry out sterling work on a daily basis across the North East and I know will put all the bikes and equipment to good use, helping promote the importance of a safe, active lifestyle.”

22 May 2019

Stevenson Calls for Immigration Powers to Come to Holyrood

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has called on the Scottish Government to be given more powers over immigration.

It comes after Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development Ben Macpherson warned the proposed changes by the UK Government in their white paper on immigration would be “catastrophic” for Scotland.

Mr Stevenson has urged for changes to attract people to come and live and work in the North-East and for the Scottish Government to be given further powers.

The Confederation of British Industry recently warned of the detrimental impact exiting the European Union will have on employment in key industries.

Mr Stevenson echoed these sentiments and warned of the cost current proposals would have to sectors in his constituency including fishing, farming, hospitality and social care.

The Minister said:

“They would send our working-age population into decline and would have a significantly negative impact on many sectors, including those that have been mentioned by Stewart Stevenson, as well as local care, tourism, construction, financial services and several others.

“In opposing many of the proposals in the UK Government’s white paper on immigration, and considering Scotland’s distinct demographic challenges, we recognise that there is growing support for the Scottish Parliament to obtain additional powers

as part of a UK framework, in order to tailor migration policy to meet Scotland’s needs, so that Scotland remains attractive to migrants and so that we can deliver new solutions.”

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“The UK Government has shown complete disregard for the different needs from immigration in Scotland.

“We rely on migrants to help support the work in a number of industries and the changes proposed in the white paper will, as the Minister said, have a 'catastrophic' impact on industries across Scotland and in the North-East.

“I would urge the UK Government to think again and let the Scottish Government have the right to additional powers so that we can maintain our current workforce.”

21 May 2019

Stevenson Joins FM in North-East as Journey Times Cut after AWPR Opening

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has joined First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and business chiefs in the North-East to celebrate the initial success of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).

It comes after the £745 million infrastructure project was completed earlier this year after investment by Transport Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave a keynote speech at the event which marked the work of the GoNorthEast campaign which promoted the AWPR’s benefit to both communities and businesses.

Ms Sturgeon was also joined by Oil & Gas UK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie as well as other business leaders.

Data revealed by Transport Scotland has shown that travelling between Stonehaven and Dyce previously took around 47 minutes in the morning, and 42 minutes in the evening on the old A90 route. This has now been cut to approximately 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, Charleston to Dyce previously took around 33 minutes in the morning and 32 at night, however has also now shortened to only 16 minutes.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“The AWPR has been transformative for commuters in the North-East who have really benefited from the infrastructure improvements.

“Journey times and congestion have seen a marked change, and this will have huge benefits to both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and make it clear we are open for business.

“The AWPR is expected to generate an extra £6billion in economic benefits and create around 14,000 jobs over the next 30 years.

“I am pleased the First Minister was able to come to the North-East and recognise the early successes of the AWPR of which there will be many more to come."

17 May 2019

Stevenson Hails Infrastructure Investment in North-East

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has hailed figures which show billions of pounds of investment has been awarded to the North-East for transport infrastructure.

It comes after the Scottish Government was asked how much it had invested in transport infrastructure in the region over the last decade.

The figures reveal, in addition to the £745million spent on the AWPR and investment for the Balmedie project and the Inveramsay Bridge improvement, £3billion will be spent on the planned dualling of the A96.

Mr Stevenson welcomed the figures as well as the potential already being realised by the completion of the AWPR.

He cited recent evidence from Aberdein Considine which had shown a substantial increase in the number of views by potential customers of houses to the south of Aberdeen and in Stonehaven to the north.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said feedback on the AWPR had been “overwhelmingly positive” and an example of the economic benefits already being recognised since its completion.

Mr Matheson said:

“The AWPR is a demonstration of the Scottish Government’s determination to ensure that Scotland has a strong and robust economy, including in the north-east.

“We will continue to invest in major infrastructure projects, not just in the north-east but across the country, to support our communities and the Scottish economy.”

Additional figures show £7.8million has been awarded to local authorities in the North-East for cycling, walking and safer streets.

A total of £330million has also been awarded for improvement projects between Aberdeen and Inverness and the central belt, including a new station at Laurencekirk.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“The Scottish Government continues to invest millions of pounds across the North-East in a range of infrastructure projects.

“The completion of the AWPR has already begun to create economic benefits as well as improving journey times for commuters.

“But the Scottish Government is not stopping there and continues to look at how to build on this colossal investment.

“From £745million to build the AWPR to work on the A96 dualling there is a commitment to make North-East residents more connected than ever.”

15 May 2019

Gove Should Rule Out Power Grab at Holyrood Committee

Appearance Gives Opportunity to Withdraw Devolution Threat

Michael Gove should emphatically rule out any attempt by the Tory government to seize control of devolved powers when he appears before Holyrood’s environment committee today [Wednesday],the SNP have said.

The Secretary of State recently threatened interference with the devolution settlement, suggesting that the UK government should be able to legislate and spend in areas such as health and education – which are fully controlled by Holyrood. That comes despite his pledge before the EU referendum that Brexit would see Holyrood given substantially increased powers.

Members of key Scottish Parliament committees wrote to Mr Gove on Saturday, demanding that he keep his hands off Scotland’s powers. Mr Gove failed to respond to requests for comment at the weekend.

The First Minister addressed the Tories’ “grubby” power grab last week – making clear that the people of Scotland and their parliament should make all decisions, and that Brexit must not be a cover for Westminster centralisation.

Environment committee member Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Michael Gove has the perfect opportunity today [Wednesday] to emphatically rule out his threats of a power grab.

“The Tories never wanted a Scottish Parliament in the first place, and now they’re seeking to reverse the hard-fought gains of twenty years of devolution.

“Mr Gove’s comments were deeply troubling. Key powers over health, education and the environment should lie with Holyrood – not with a Westminster government working against Scotland’s interests.

“And his remarks also expose his 2016 claims about Scotland gaining power over immigration after Brexit as the empty rhetoric it always was.

“Scotland’s future should lie in Scotland’s hands– building on the success of devolution, and winning the powers that our parliament still needs so we can thrive as an independent country.

“The Tories can’t be trusted, and we cannot allow them to drag Scotland backwards.”

8 May 2019

Stevenson Backs Reform of Farming to Help Climate Change Challenge

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has backed a new farmer-led initiative to drive low-carbon, environmentally sustainable farming practices in Scotland.

The move has been launched under reforms to the Farming for a Better Climate (FFBC) programme.

The new group has been established to develop ideas on farms which could provide practical, innovative solutions to help climate change mitigation.

Mr Stevenson, a member of both the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee and the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, as welcomed the decision.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“The launch of this group will allow the next generation of farmers and crofters to ensure they have adapted to the changing needs brought on by climate change.

“It will help to ensure a longevity and secure business viability. It is important we have feedback from all farmers to understand how we can help them make these adjustments.

“I look forward to seeing how farms in the North-East can put forward their contributions for how we target the challenges of climate change.”

7 May 2019

Stevenson Urges Community Groups to Apply for £11.5 Million Funding

Community groups in the North-East have been urged to apply for a new £11.5million fund which aims to tackle disadvantage, poverty and inequality.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson is encouraging groups to apply for the funding announced by the Scottish Government.

It encourages community-led development, design and delivery of sustainable solutions addressing local issues, circumstances and aspirations.

This includes supporting out-of-school provision, providing activities and workshops, creating a community and improving job opportunities.

Grants of up to £250,000 are available over three years providing stability and recognising the need for longer term planning in some projects.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“It’s the people that make my Banffshire and Buchan Coast constituency such a great place to live and work.

“This funding would be allocated by listening to the views of residents who know best how to invest in our community where it’s needed most.

“I welcome the Scottish Government’s announcement and commitment to supporting groups and projects which could really benefit from funding and would urge applications.”

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“We know that the best people to decide how to tackle local challenges are the people who live and work in the area.

“The introduction of this flexible, multi-year fund is the result of listening to the views of people in many different communities. It will enable community groups to make sustainable and impactful changes by providing them with the resources they need, when they need them.

“It will empower communities to have more control over of their own affairs and take forward more of the activities they have identified as being vital to their local area.”

2 May 2019

Stevenson: Report Warns CCS is 'Necessity, not an option' in Climate Change Battle

The need for Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) technology in the fight against climate change is a “necessity, not an option”, a new report has warned.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) have released their latest findings which claimed the UK’s contribution to global warming can be ended within three decades by setting ambitious new targets.

And it has urged the UK Government to act soon on ensuring key measures are in place to protect against the impact of climate change.

Now, Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has urged the findings of the report to be listened to and for plans for CCS to the North-East of Scotland to be resumed.

It comes after then Tory Chancellor George Osborne axed £1billion investment plans for the technology in 2015.

Peterhead Power Station had been earmarked as a potential site for the technology and oil major Shell and Scottish Power completing a feasibility study.

Since the plans were put on hold, several reports have called for CCS plans to be resumed.

Last year, St Fergus near Peterhead was highlighted by a Westminster taskforce as a key site to deploy CCS at scale.

In the detailed report from the CCC it said: “Carbon capture and storage (CCS) in industry, with bioenergy (for GHG removal from the atmosphere), and very likely for hydrogen and electricity production. CCS is a necessity not an option.

“The scenarios involve aggregate annual capture and storage of 75-175 MtCO₂ in 2050, which would require a major CO₂ transport and storage infrastructure servicing at least five clusters and with some CO₂ transported by ships or heavy goods vehicles.”


Mr Stevenson said the necessary infrastructure was already in place between Peterhead Power Station and nearby St Fergus.

In November last year the UK Government published a clean action plan after announcing plans for clean energy technology to be rolled out more widely in the 2030s.

But none of the nine points in the strategy which were meant to be completed in 2019 have been achieved yet, leading to fresh concerns over the region being “sold short”.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“Once again we have a report which emphasises the need for CCS technology to be implemented to meet climate change reduction targets.

“These latest findings, which emphasis that CCS is a “necessity and not an option” show the Tories cannot keep dragging their feet on this issue.

“What we need to implement CCS is an already existing infrastructure which can be adapted and what we have known for quite some time is Peterhead Power Station and the surrounding infrastructure connected to St Fergus is capable of doing just that both by land and sea.

“Peterhead was promised £1billion investment and 600 jobs before the plug was pulled in a cynical betrayal.

“Scotland already leads the world on engineering expertise in the energy sector.

“We have huge potential to use those skills and infrastructure to lead the world in carbon capture and storage which could create thousands of jobs, while developing new technology to help meet our climate change obligations as this ground-breaking report from the CCC demonstrates.”

CCS is a process which captures large quantities of carbon emissions and stores them underground, stopping them from being released into the atmosphere.

Oil and gas pipelines could be used to store CO2 in rock formations under the North Sea.

It is estimated region could store 75% of the UK’s CO2 emissions when coupled with carbon capture infrastructure.

Last year, Acorn at St Fergus was awarded the Oil and Gas Authority’s first licence for storing CO2 under the North Sea.

1 May 2019

North-East MSPs Urge Voters to Register for EU Elections

North-East MSPs are urging constituents to register to vote by May 7th for the upcoming European Parliament elections.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson and Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin have warned voting is the only way to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard in Europe.

Research published has revealed that an estimated 600,000 Scots who are eligible to vote in this month’s elections have not yet registered.

And unlike the Brexit referendum, EU citizens living in the UK can vote in European parliamentary elections.

To be able to vote in the European Parliament elections, people must be registered to vote by midnight on May 7th.

The elections will take place on May 23rd.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP and Gillian Martin MSP, said:

“People in Scotland overwhelmingly voted to remain in the European Union - but even many of those who voted to leave have real concerns about the extreme Brexit now being pursued.

“We know that Brexit will harm our economy, cost jobs and hit people's pockets, which is why it’s vital that anyone who has not registered to vote does so as soon as possible.

“Never before have European elections been so important. We need strong SNP voices in Europe to send a clear message that we will not accept a Brexit process which fails to represent Scotland's interests.”

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