David Stewart MSP

Archive for December 2008

Stewart supports saving of Grant Street Park Stand

19 December 2008

David Stewart, Highlands and Islands MSP, is calling for the support of Highland Council to save the 60 year old Clachnacuddin covered stand.

Following the article in the ‘Inverness Courier’ last week, football fan David Stewart has written to Highland Council and Stewart Maxwell the Scottish Government Sports minister to seek funding for the repairs to the covered terrace on the south side of the ground.

“It is important that we support the Highland League and I hope the Council will look at how this threatened stand can be saved.

“Clach has a long history and a dedicated group of supporters.

“It is fitting that Inverness should be represented in the Highland League and if football is to flourish and develop in the Highlands we need good facilities for teams from schoolboy league right up to the Premier League.”

Written by davidstewart

December 19, 2008 at 9:28 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Inverness congestion to go on without the ‘missing link’

18 December 2008

Calls from Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart for Government intervention in funding the ‘missing link’ trunk road for Inverness went unheeded today.

Mr Stewart, during Questions in Parliament, called on the Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson to give the area a Christmas boost and finance the crucial link between the A82 and the A9.

“Mr Stevenson does not seem to grasp the economic importance to the development of the city of Inverness of this link.

“He has stated in the review that it represents ‘poor value for money’.

“The Council has stated quite clearly that they will not be able to fund this route themselves and are concerned there may now be no action until 2020.

“Everyone travelling around the Highland capital knows that the only way to allow expansion in the city is to relieve congestion.

“While I welcome his words of commitment to dual the A96 from Nairn to Inverness, the problems in the City will only grow, unless a safe route is created from the A82 to the A9.

“The minister has said that he will continue to talk with the Council and Hitrans to look at what should be done as any economic case develops.

“I would hope this will include key issues involving the long promised Elgin bypass, the A9 north of Inverness and the Inverness Trunk link road.”

Written by davidstewart

December 18, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Meeting on transport problems to Inverness Gaelic School

11 December 2008

David Stewart, Highlands and Islands regional Labour MSP, is to meet with the Education boss at Highland Council to discuss transport problems to Inverness’ Gaelic School.

Following parent concern after reported incidents of children being left at bus stops on the school run from Culloden to Bunsgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis, and concerns over who was responsible for the safety of children, Mr Stewart will seek assurances from the Council that all parents have been given clear guidelines on the service.

“Following a number of meetings and letters to the Council it has acknowledged that there have been a number of operational difficulties with the route, which is operated by Stagecoach.

” The Council says it has applied penalty charges to the operator in relation to breaches.

“However, my concern is that since August there have been a number of issues surrounding the children’s safety and it is important that the Council, who are ultimately responsible for the transport contract, must address parent concerns.

“It is important parents and the bus contractor are clear about exactly where the bus route is and of any health and safety implications of primary age children travelling unaccompanied if the bus is open to public passengers.

“The issue has also raised broader questions in terms of the health and safety of young children travelling unaccompanied.

“I will be asking a general question to the Education Minister about who is responsible for young children eligible for travel on school buses open to the public.”

Written by davidstewart

December 11, 2008 at 4:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Initial reaction from David Stewart, Highlands and Islands Labour regional MSP on the statement by Stewart Stevenson on the Strategic Transport Projects Review:

10 December 2008

“Concerns were expressed in Parliament today as to whether the announcements made by the SNP Government formed a programme or merely a wishlist.

“The statement certainly fails to deliver any costed and timed projects but there are improvements, if they ever go ahead, which I would welcome, although even they are modest compared to what has been promised.

“The promise to dual the A9 in the Highlands has been pushed to some time in the future, and the commitment to tackle the Perthshire section to Blair Atholl by 2015 does not address the accident statistics, as the priority should be the most dangerous part of the road in the Highlands at Badenoch and Strathspey.

“The A82 is to be given general upgrades.

“I would welcome widening measures for Corran and Fort William, however, there has been no timescale given for these improvements.

“There is little comfort for those North of Inverness, who are keen to see the infrastructure improve for their economic survival.

“Likewise the brakes have been put on commitments to dual the A96 to Aberdeen, with only a small section being dualled.

“No timescale has been given for the Nairn bypass.

“While I welcome the proposals to improve access to the airport on the east of the A9, other than a new junction, there seems to be no mention of the Inverness trunk route.

“This will be a disappointment for the people of Inverness who had been presented with grand plans to alleviate congestion in the city by the previous Highland Council SNP administration with a money is no object aqueduct link from the A82 to the A9.

“The announcement is designed to leave the responsibility for the crossing to the council and it is likely to be 2020 before we see any further progress.

“Despite being two years in the planning this ‘blueprint for a national strategy’ fails to bring any certainty to people in the Highlands that the improvements promised by the SNP will ever be anything more than a pipedream.”

Written by davidstewart

December 10, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Snaring guidelines fly in the face of public opinion

04 December 2008

Highlands and Islands Regional Labour MSP David Stewart is renewing his call for the Scottish Government to support a full ban on snaring. His call follows the recent publication of a leaflet which supports the practice continuing.

The leaflet, ‘Snaring in Scotland – a Practitioners’ Guide’ issued by various countryside groups claims ‘to provide advice on using snaring methods which are humane, legal and carried out in accordance with best practice and with respect for other countryside users.’

Mr Stewart commented: “I am still receiving communications from constituents campaigning to end snaring.

“This follows the government failing to take the opportunity to ban this practice earlier this year in the Scottish Parliament.

“The Rural Affairs and Environment Minister, writing in the guide describes it as ‘a significant step along the way to eliminating improper use of snares’.

“He goes on to say that ‘snaring is a legitimate form of pest control.’

“The concern my constituents have is that it is cruel and barbaric and there are alternative pest control methods.

“The body of opinion against snaring continues to grow and only last month, a public opinion poll, showed that support on a ban has now grown to 79%.

“The practitioner’s guide contains a legal summary highlighting requirements associated with setting snares.

“This includes the need to inspect, or cause to be inspected, snares at least once a day at intervals of no more than 24 hours.

“This requirement of the Wildlife and Countryside Act could hardly be more difficult to police and will mask significant failures to obey the law going undetected.

“The difficulties in terms of bringing a prosecution and the enforcement issues are obvious.

“The guide also advises practitioners to avoid setting snares where the tracks of ‘non-target species’ are found.

“How can this be policed?

“Even if these are seen it does not mean such an animal will not get caught in a snare.

“The indiscriminate nature of snaring and the lingering death a trapped animal suffers is what concerns people and, having recently received graphic photos from a concerned individual of animals caught in snares, the concerns people have are legitimate.

“I have lodged parliamentary questions asking how many people have been convicted of failing to inspect snares within the statutory period during each of the past five years; how many people the government understand to have set snares after having seen the tracks of protected species; how they are monitoring whether people who see tracks of protected species then do not set a trap; how many incidents of protected species having been trapped have been reported to them.

“A further parliamentary question asks when the government will acknowledge the overwhelming views of the wider public on snaring.

“I await the responses with interest.”

Written by davidstewart

December 4, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Champagne for Caley top goal scorer in Scottish Cup

01 December 2008

On the day of the fourth round draw, Labour MSP and stalwart Inverness Caledonian Thistle fan David Stewart has the champagne on ice for the team’s top goal scorer in the Homecoming Scottish Cup.

David, who is a trustee at the Club, is offering a bottle of Scottish Parliament bubbly to whoever scores the most goals for Caley in the competition, and in addition he’ll donate £10 for each of those goals to Highland Hospice.

“The Scottish Cup always gets the pulses racing for players and supporters.

“Who can forget the Supercaley/Celtic incident?

“While League survival is the priority for the team it would be tremendous to have a great cup run this season and it’s also a good opportunity to donate money to the Highland Hospice which does such great work across the area.”

Written by davidstewart

December 1, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized