David Stewart MSP

Archive for February 2011

David Stewart urges Government rethink on contribution to flood alleviation schemes

26 February 2011

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart has urged the Scottish Government to rethink its funding contribution to flood alleviation schemes, after one in Elgin cost Moray Council much more than had been expected.
Speaking in Parliament, he welcomed the beginning of work on the £86million Elgin Flood Alleviation Scheme, which when completed will remove a flood risk for hundreds of homes and businesses.
However, he also highlighted Moray Council’s concerns that it will have to pick up a larger share of the cost of the £86million flood prevention scheme than had been anticipated.
Mr Stewart also asked Minister Roseanna Cunningham if she would review funding of such schemes in future.
The council was originally to have received 80% of the cost of the scheme, which would have meant it would have been forced to borrow £17.2million.
However it has now emerged that Scottish Government Ministers are intending handing over 64.5%, which is £55.6million, leaving the council to borrow the outstanding £30million.
The cost of financing that borrowing is estimated to be about £2million a year to the council over a 40-year
period, with £1million of that attributable to the shortfall in funding received from central Government.
Mr Stewart said: “While it’s obviously great news that work has started on the scheme I am concerned at the amount Moray Council is having to contribute towards the cost.
“I hope the Minister will look at the funding of future flood alleviation schemes to make sure the burden on local authorities does not become too onerous.”

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Written by davidstewart

February 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized

David Stewart calls for new moves to ease traffic congestion

14 February 2011

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart is again calling on the Scottish Government to consider moves that would alleviate traffic congestion for commuters travelling between Ross-shire and Inverness.

He has argued for some time that an extra lane should be established at the Longman Roundabout for buses and high sided vehicles and for a permanent park and ride facility to be established at North Kessock.

He has also been calling for a passenger ferry service to operate between North and South Kessock while maintenance works are carried out at Kessock Bridge.

However, the Government essentially believes that traffic signalling will solve most of the congestion problems.

In a letter to Mr Stewart, Transport Minister Keith Brown has ruled out the extra lane option although he revealed that methods of providing bus priority at the roundabout were being investigated.

He added that plans for a temporary Park and Ride scheme and for a temporary passenger ferry service were also being considered along with car sharing and additional bus and train services, and Scotland Transerv was in consultation with Highland Council, researching the vialbility of these options.

However, Mr Stewart has heard from a Government sources that the maintenance work on the Kessock bridge is unlikely to start before March 2013, a year later than scheduled.

This allows for more time for consideration on of his proposals before the work begins.

Mr Stewart said: “The Scottish Government’s low cost and minimal option of traffic signallng will only result in increased journey times in the Highlands and have a neative impact on the local economy.

“The Highlands depends to a large degree on the tourism sector, and any bottlenecks created at this important road junction wil be a powerful disincentive to tourists and an impediment to commerce.

“However, the later date for the commencement of work on the bridge means there is more time for the Scottish Government to consider the more comprehensive measures I am proposing.

“I hope Mr Brown will think again about the improvements which need to be made at the roundabout as soon as possible to cope with current traffic growth.

“If major improvements are not made there will be massive traffic chaos during the estimated six month period of maintenance works on the Kessock Bridge, when traffic capacity will be halved.”

Written by davidstewart

February 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized