It's been a busy few weeks across the constituency and in Parliament. Below is a snapshot of what I've been working on -
A90 airport bus link - cause for optimism
I have been working tirelessly to make the case for a new airport bus link to serve communities like Craigleith, Blackhall, Crammond and D’mains - along Queensferry road and the A90 corridor as well as communities around the Maybury bypass. This would be an additional service and would not impact on the existing 100 service in any way. I began this campaign nearly 2 years ago and it has generated several thousand signatures. I have had several meetings with bus operators and the airport surface access team. Recent discussions suggest that we could be on the verge of a significant breakthrough in the introduction of such a service. This would be tremendous result for communities along the A90 and those living in Corstorphine who suffer the effect of car dumping from holiday makers from the North of the city leaving their cars near St John’s Road in order to take the Airlink 100. I will keep you posted in this regard.
Possible Second Independence referendum
I remain utterly opposed to a second divisive referendum on Scottish Independence. This SNP Government is failing our school pupils our patients and our victims of crime, while their focus is fixed solely on another attempt at separation. It’s time they got on with the day job and turned their attention to the sound delivery of public services. As I promised during the election, I will oppose a second referendum at every stage.
Delays in the health service
I recently uncovered through freedom of information request that some patients are waiting over 500 days to be released from hospital AFTER being declared fit to go home. This creates problems throughout the health service and a few weeks ago a consultant neurosurgeon at the Western General came to see me to express concern at a crisis which is seeing him having to cancel operations every week due to bed shortages. I challenged the First Minister on this in Parliament. You can watch our exchange here.
Since the adoption of the Local Development Plan by the Labour and SNP administration on the council, development at Cammo Fields, South Scotstoun and the Gyle Garden District are far more likely. I used a debate on housing to raise the serious concerns of local residents and the impact that failures by developers to deliver public amenities - like at Brighouse in Cramond, can have on the community. You can watch my speech here.
I have challenged the Scottish Government many times in Parliament about why they allowed both the national mental health strategy and the national suicide prevention strategy to expire and wait more than a year to replace each. Most recently I challenged the Minister for public health about the lack of support for new mothers who experience problems with mental health as a result of pregnancy or child birth. You can watch our exchange here.
Flight path consultation
Many residents will be aware of the second round of consultation currently being undertaken by the airport further to their efforts to redesign departure routes for outbound aircraft. Of particular concern is the fact that the airport have suggested a preferred route, outside of the original design envelope and will now overfly parts of South Queensferry. Kevin Lang and I are working with local residents to ensure that they are aware of this proposal, am meeting regularly with the airport and am helping them to voice robust opposition to these plans.
Concerns about speeding traffic are a regular fixture in contact with constituents. I have met with the Convener of Transport in the city on several occasions to highlight particular areas of concern. If there are any particular hotspots I might not be aware of, please do get in touch.
Crime in West Edinburgh
The recent upsurge in house break ins and motorcycle related crime in West Edinburgh is a major concerns for the police and residents alike. In co-operation with the MSP for Edinburgh North Ben MacPherson, we have hosted 3 summits with the police, local youth work organisations and community groups. We are working on a number of fronts to find a solution.
Helping older people
Before Christmas I chaired a session of the older people's forum in Parliament made up of 200 senior citizens. At one point I asked them what worried them most. I was surprised to learn that it wasn't crime, or money, but falling. Yesterday I proposed an amendment in Parliament calling for a national 'Falls Strategy'. The SNP Government opposed it, but thanks to support from other opposition parties, we carried the day. You can watch the debate here.
As ever, if I can ever be of assistance please do get in touch by calling 0131 334 1814, emailing [email protected] or by popping into my office at 185 St John's Road.