Following the successful campaign to have underground coal gasification banned in Fife and across Scotland I have today called for the Scottish Government to back plans to ban fracking in Scotland and ensure a “frack free Fife”.
The banning of UCG was only the first step. Now the Scottish Government must work with Scottish Labour in banning fracking. Anything less is unacceptable.
All evidence points to the fact that fracking, yet another fossil fuel, will have a negative impact on our environment. It is an unnecessary and environmentally damaging process that has no place in Fife.
This is about the air we breathe, that water we drink and the communities we live in. That is why Labour will change the law and ban fracking in Scotland, just as we promised in our election manifesto.
My colleague Claudia Beamish MSP, has launched a consultation to ban the continuous process in Scotland and I would encourage everyone to put forward a submission to the consultation and unite behind calls for a frack free Fife.
Earlier this year the Scottish Parliament passed a motion calling for such a ban. The motion was passed due to Labour votes as a result of the SNP abstaining. The Scottish Government must listen to locals and community groups, the very people that will be impacted by the potential of drilling under their homes.
Congratulations to Kingdom Off Road Motorcycling Club, who have been awarded £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
The grant will deliver 12 week programmes of riding training, maintenance training and workshops that will cover anti-social behaviour, victim’s perspective and safety.
This can hopefully help to tackle the anti-social behaviour on quad bikes that we are seeing in communities across Fife.
Throughout my campaign against anti-social and reckless behaviour on quad bikes I’ve been clear that one solution is responsible ownership and education.
The riding of such vehicles in appropriate and safe areas can be enjoyable and Kingdom Off Road Motorcycling Club plays an important part in achieving this.
However this can only be part of the solution and we still need action from the Government to ensure the police have the resources and powers available to tackle anti-social behaviour and keep our communities safe.
Recently I met with the Transport Minister and Transport Scotland where I once again called for the re-introduction of Levenmouth Rail Link.
I’ve been campaigning for its re-introduction since I was first elected in 2007 and was pleased that my lobbying resulted in it being included in Scottish Labour’s manifesto ahead of last year’s election.
However there is still much work to be done and recently I also took part in a local conference with Levenmouth Rail Campaign, Fife Council and opposition politicians, which you can read about on Fife Today.
I look forward to working together as we continue to campaign for its re-introduction.
Recently I was delighted to welcome representatives from Malawi and give them a tour of the Scottish Parliament.
The group were visiting Scotland as guests of Dalgety Bay Parish Church who have a working partnership with Engcongolweni’s Church of Central Africa Presbyterian.
It was really good to meet members of both churches and hear about their relationship which has brought many positive benefits to communities in rural northern Malawi. This includes a project that provides clean water supply to the area, reaching over 7,500 people.
I was pleased to play my part in continuing efforts to strengthen the strong relationship Fife has established with this community in Malawi and I very much hope that they enjoyed their visit to Scotland.
Today in an exclusive from the Courier the impact on Police Scotland’s “challenging” budget has been laid bare.
According to a whistleblower from Fife, moral amongst local officers is “dreadful” and the number of staff “decimated”.
Concerns have also been raised that the force came close to not being able to pay wages on time. This has been denied by the Scottish Police Authority, the Scottish Government and Police Scotland, although the latter did admit that managing their budgets was “challenging”. Continue reading →