Time for a frack free Fife

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.

It is time for a frack free Fife.

Claudia Beamish’s consultation paper can be found at https://frackingbanbill.com/

The public can respond to the consultation here: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/Fracking/

Funding success for Kingdom Off Road Motorcycling Club

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.

https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/global-content/press-releases/scotland/251016_sco_youngstart


Support for Levenmouth Rail Link

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.

Claire welcomes UCG ban

After first raising concerns over Underground Coal Gasification in 2013, I’m delighted that today it was announced UCG has no place in Scotland.

It was clear from the outset that this was an unnecessary and environmentally damaging process that had no place in the region.

I was pleased when my successful call to have UCG include in a moratorium was accepted last year and that research has now left the Scottish Government with no option but to rule UCG out.

Whilst Fife will no longer be a guinea-pig for UCG, this can only be the first step. The Scottish Government must now come out and ban fracking so once and for all we can have a Frack Free Fife.

You can read more here.

 

Claire raises rise in sexual crimes

Following the release of recorded crime statistics this week I asked a question during First Minister’s Questions on the worrying increase in sexual crimes.

According to the statistics, sexual crime has seen a year on year increase since 2008 and there are concerns that we are seeing more sexual crimes involving young people.

That is why I asked the First Minister if she will back Rape Crisis Scotland’s call for support for their prevention approach in schools.

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Claire Welcomes Malawi to the Scottish Parliament

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.

Police Scotland Morale

Following last week’s Courier exclusive, I raised the issue of Police morale during Justice Questions in Parliament.

According to a Fife whistleblower morale amongst the force is “dreadful” and the number of officers able to respond to concerns had been “decimated”.

Police Scotland have admitted that their budget is “challenging”. This follows a summer of concerning newspaper stories regarding the impact the budget is having on resources and local policing

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Puffin Champion

Today the Species Champions initiative is relaunched in the Scottish Parliament. The initiative, run by Scottish Environment LINK, asks MSPs to become champions for wildlife in Scotland.

I am delighted to been one of the first champions announced on its launch date as I continue to champion the puffin, an iconic bird that can be found off the coast of Fife.

In the last parliament I tabled many questions and motions on puffins and the risks that they face and I look forward to working with RSPB Scotland once again in this parliament.

So far 48 MSPs have signed up to champion a specific Scottish species, which means over 80 MSPs have still to take part.

To find out who has already signed up and who you need to politely ‘badger’ to take part, you can check out the species champions webpage here: http://www.scotlink.org/work-areas/species-champions/

Police Scotland concerns in Fife

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

Programme for Government Speech

Yesterday I spoke during the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government debate.

I raised concerns around local policing and Police Scotland’s budget, the use of tasers within British Transport Police and the Scottish Government’s planes to merge BTP with Police Scotland.

I also raised the plans for a domestic abuse bill and the need for such legislation following the publication of statistics around Clare’s Law. Continue reading