When will the Berridale Braes scheme get started?

MSP Rhoda Grant has asked the Scottish Government when the much-awaited £9million Berriedale Braes road improvement scheme will start after years of pushing Transport Secretaries to get moving on the project.
She has lodged a Parliamentary Question asking the Government for a start date and the available funding, saying there had been a “deathly silence” on what has happened to the scheme.
Former Transport Secretary, Derek Mackay, made it plain in a previous reply in 2016 that the Scottish Government “must await suitable funding becoming available to progress it further”.
In 2017 the then Transport Secretary, Humza Yousaf, published Made Orders for the project “as a clear commitment to deliver the scheme”.
Then in February 2018 Transport Scotland said “construction or planned improvements to the challenging hairpin bend” were expected to start this year. Four companies were invited to bid for the project.
However, in August this year the roads agency said it could not give a firm timescale for construction but suggested it could be after Easter or maybe May 2019.
“There seems to have been lots of ‘steps forward’ according to the Government but no evidence of steps on the ground,” said Mrs Grant, who represents Labour in the Highlands and Islands.
“I’m reminded of this every time I travel the A9 to Wick and Thurso.
“If this has stalled then the Government should be telling us and if not the public should be given a definite date instead of this shilly-shallying which has taken place over many years.
“Yet another winter goes by with drivers tackling this treacherous road. I’m keeping my fingers crossed there are no major accidents.”
Ends
PQ:
Question S5W-20631: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/12/2018
To ask the Scottish Government when the funding for the Berriedale Braes road improvement scheme will become available, and by what date construction will start.

Current Status: Expected Answer date 14/01/2019

Tobie site

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP, Rhoda Grant who launched an anti-bullying signpost to support and services web site back in 2014 has intimated that the time is right to remind folk of the presence of the site with all the unfortunate rise in high profile cases recently.

Rhoda said “Bullying in all its forms is totally unacceptable and my Tobie site (http://www.tobie.org.uk/) was set up to help those affected by this anti-social behaviour primarily in the workplace and to help them get support by signposting them to services,”

She added: “Within the first year (2014) we had nearly 10,000 hits on our site, which just shows the size of the problem. Since 2014 another 5,548 visitors have looked at this site which is not marketed or promoted other than through my own social media sites.

“The individual who suffers at the hands of bullies is scarred for a very long time if not for life. Sadly, this can happen at any time in a person’s life, from childhood to old age.

“Such behaviour causes mental health issues to the innocent sufferer who is subject to bouts of anxiety, depression, stress, associated illnesses and ultimately absence from school, college or work.

“Employers have a key role to play in trying to stamp out this anti-social and unacceptable behaviour and as a stepping stone in the right direction, every employer and every school or college should make sure they have an anti-bullying policy which all staff are aware of.

“ I would like to think that any acts of bullying within the workplace or elsewhere, like at school or college, will be viewed seriously and where there is evidence, the perpetrator will be subject to disciplinary process”.

“Of course it is hard to get people to talk about bullying, but I would plead with anyone who is subjected to this form of cowardly behaviour to speak to someone about it in the first place, whether that be a colleague or a Line Manager or even a parent or guardian.

“I am hopeful that my site will continue to enable sufferers to seek that right advice and guidance, point them in the right direction and hopefully see the individual being in a position to deal with the bully and break away from this unwanted and despicable behaviour. The message is clearly “you are not alone” but together we can tackle this behaviour”.

Cost of private renting soars in Highlands and Islands

The cost of private rented housing in the Highlands and Islands has soared, official statistics show.

People across Scotland are being hammered with average mean monthly rents increasing substantially over the last year in many parts of the country.

Recent figures released by the Scottish Government show huge increases across the country, including in the Highlands and Islands, over the past eight years.

• One bedroom properties in Highlands and Islands increased by 13.4% from 2010 to 2018
• Two bedroom properties by 15.8%, a 1.3% rise in 2017/2018
• Three bedroom properties by 19.3%, 2.5% rise in 2017/2018
• Four bedroom properties by 17.5%, a 6.5% rise in 2017/18

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said it was clear that a radical change was needed to end Scotland’s housing crisis.

“I know that working people across the region are struggling to keep up with the rise in private rents and Scotland’s housing crisis is deepening with more people being made homeless,” she said.

“Almost half of all people made homeless last year due to rent arrears fell into debt with a private landlord.

“A Scottish Labour government will cap rent rises with a Mary Barbour law. We will also increase the supply of new homes by building 12,000 new homes for social-rent every year.”

Stromeferry Bypass

Highlands & Islands MSP Rhoda Grant seeks face to face meeting with Cabinet Secretary for Transport over Stromeferry bypass issue

 

Rhoda Grant MSP is seeking a meeting at the Scottish Parliament with the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson, to discuss the short, medium and long term issues surrounding the Stromeferry bypass.

 

Rhoda said ” We are at an impasse now. Highland Council say they cannot afford to fund a long term safety solution to address all the problems associated with the Stromeferry bypass. They have only enough funding set aside to carry out essential remedial work to the rock face each year. Highland Council advise that as a result of the millions they spend on this remedial work each year that other essential services such as Education are missing out. The Government say they cannot help as this is an issue for the Local Authority to deal with as the route (The A890) is not a trunk route. So what we have here is a situation that has gone on and on year after year, a situation that gets kicked into the long grass and no one steps up to the plate to come up with a solution. All the time the route is being used by the public, including school children travelling the route twice per day and no one knows the true extent of the risks other than that they do exist.

 

I have written to the Government more than once on this issue, I have tabled Parliamentary Questions, I have tried to get the Government to take over responsibility for the road given it is the main route to the Uists and South West Ross, I have had dialogue with Highland Council and all that happens is the issue gets pushed back and fore and no solution is found.

 

Rhoda continued ” I am determined that this matter is addressed now before anyone is injured or killed on this road.  Given that Highland Council covers the largest geographical area of any local authority in the UK, with some 26,484 square km covering a third of Scotland, there are nearly 7,000km of regional roads, I am seeking to meet with the Cabinet Secretary for Transport to push hard for a solution to be found, whether that be the Government body, Transport Scotland, adopting this route as a trunk route, or the Government helping out Highland Council with extra funding.