Politicians’ responses to the Kintyre and Arran power emergency

[Updated 26th March} Scottish Ministers and MSPs have been responding to the ongoing emergency situation in Kintyre and Arran with widescale loss of power.

The Transport Minister, Keith Brown, has visited Arran today, commending the multi-agency response to the crisis; and Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, says that the Scottish G0vernment is talking to the National Farmers Union Scotland [NFUS], aware of farmers’ anxieties that this is all happening in the lambing season.

Labour Highlands and Islands MSP, Rhoda Grant, herself a crofter’s daughter,is praising the emergency services and utility companies for their efforts in Argyll and Arran in dealing with the aftermath of one of the worst winter storms in many years.

She has included in her appreciation the efforts of all those at the sharp end – ‘particularly SSE and their 300 Linesmen and Engineers, who are all battling atrocious weather conditions to make sure that all those resident in, visiting or on business in the Argyll & Bute area are accounted for and kept as safe as possible after one of the worst storms in many years has battered the area over the last few days’.

She says: ‘I understand there are drifts 15 feet deep in areas of Argyll & Bute, roads are blocked, communities are cut off and many hundreds are without power. However it is at times like these that we stick together, look out for each other and a real sense of community shines through. We should acknowledge the efforts of all the emergency services, SSE and all others who are striving to aid or support those affected by the aftermath of this storm’.

Rhoda Grant has lodged a motion at the Scottish Parliament, recognising the efforts of all concerned. This reads:

Motion Text:
‘That the Parliament acknowledges and appreciates the efforts of all in the emergency services and utility companies, particularly staff from SSE, who have been working in atrocious weather conditions throughout Argyll and Bute and on Arran in particular, to ensure the safety of those resident, visiting or on business in these communities, after three days of severe wintery storms battered the area: understands that many thousands of households  are still without power: notes that SSE have 300 linesmen and Engineers in the area, further recognises the efforts of the Police, Fire, Ambulance and Coastguard staff and further acknowledges the community spirit in the affected areas as all pull together to ensure that those affected are kept warm, dry and safe.’

Local SNP MSP, Michael Russell, says: ‘I have spoken today to Cllr John Semple in Campbeltown and to a number of other people on the ground.   The situation remains very serious but everyone is full of admiration for the work of the SSE teams , Council staff and the emergency services.   There is also much comment about the community spirit that is prevailing and the mutual help that is being provided.

‘I have also been in touch with the SGORR team – the people in the Scottish Government who provide emergency support and help with resilience and who have been liaising closely with the Council, SSE  and the police.    I have passed on to them issues raised with me  by Cllr Semple about South Kintyre and Campbeltown , and concerns raised by him and others  about Carradale where there have been particular difficulties arising from lack of  fuel , gas and heating for three days now.   Work is being done to try and alleviate these problems and to ensure that information is given to all communities as quickly as possible  about the restoration of power and telephones  , what areas are likely to get service back and when.

‘My office and I remain keen to help in any way possible and will offer whatever support we can  to individuals, communities and those working so hard in such difficult conditions.’

[Update 26th March] Highlands & Islands Conservative MSP , Jamie McGrigor, says: ‘This is the worst weather to hit Kintyre for decades and has created a real emergency.

‘I have been kept appraised of the situation over the weekend by Councillor Donald Kelly who has made me aware of the blocked roads, huge snow drifts and loss of electricity which people have suffered.

‘I deeply sympathise with local residents and commend the work of the council and the emergency services who have been first class, and also the numerous volunteers who have come to the rescue of those in distress. Crises like these can bring out the best in spirit and deed.

‘I have emailed the Transport and Energy Ministers of the Scottish Government to reinforce their awareness of the urgency of the situation and will attempt to ask a topical question today in Parliament at 2pm on the issue.

‘This emergency has restated the importance of the local hospital in Campbeltown. The Beinn Ghuilean ward has been reopened to accommodate those in distress, as indeed has the centre at Macrihanish which has a generator to keep the elderly and vulnerable warm.

‘I pity the farmers, particularly those with sheep outside and call on Ministers to ensure that the A83 is kept open at all costs so that supplies can get through to the shops and fuel stations.’

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21 Responses to Politicians’ responses to the Kintyre and Arran power emergency

  1. A bit effusive perhaps, but the conditions the linesmen, roads department and emergency services are dealing with are atrocious.

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  2. ‘My office and I remain keen to help in any way possible and will offer whatever support we can to individuals, communities and those working so hard in such difficult conditions.’

    For example? Perhaps if he gave a few clues folk would know what to ask for.

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      • Islay for ever,
        Have you ever thought of getting a life?
        Or is it your only ambition to be an Olymic Mumper Gold Medalist.
        My brother was on his road to Nottingham when his company diverted him and his squad of 20 men to Kintyre to help restore power, I counted 30 Land Rovers and Vans going over the Skipness road today with numerous Ploughs and Snow Blowers, and all we get from an Old Tory whose party privatised all these esential sevices is grumps and mumps.
        Go please and get a life

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    • He’s probably just fedup with your rampant ignorance, imbecility and penchant for talking complete and utter drivel

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  3. “and all we get from an Old Tory whose party privatised all these essential services is grumps and mumps” if you want to get into political mud slinging lets be glad its not 1970`s…the whole lot of them would be on strike..! One thing a tory knows well is that politicians do not run the countries utilities & companies, and the ones that shout their mouths off about national ownership have some track record..i wonder if any of them still drive TR7`s made of steel from ravenscraig…..some of us can remember standing on Airbles road Motherwell with the tippers having steel cages to prevent the hurl of bricks smashing them up thrown by the strikers…ah the good old days eh ?? What we all need a sick bag here for is the crawling point scoring that all minister of self preservation seem to be obsessed with

    what about some local SNP supporters getting a cast iron guarantee that if this situation arises again a government subsidised calmac ferry will be commandeered immediately and loaded with the coop & tesco lorries and fuel tanker and generators pronto, or is that just being too practical ?

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    • The question to be asked is how the time it would take to reopen the snow-blocked A83 was assessed – was it initially thought that it could be reopened within 24 hours? – and when, as it became apparent that it couldn’t, were the implications for Kintyre (which by then had suffered catastrophic power failure) properly understood?

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    • Would that be the same tippers whose maniac drivers thundered through ayrshire villages at breakneck illegal speeds causing damage and concern?
      Would that be the same tippers who bumped cars in ayrshire off the road in their haste to move on, whilst abusing local residents who remonstrated with them.
      Don’t paint the Yuill & Dodds drivers as some sort of heroes, they were not, they were just dimwited thugs who thought they had a license to drive as they pleased.
      P.S
      Yer tory chums and heroes shut Ravenscarig despite it being profitable and having one of the best records in the UK steel industry – somehow I don’t think I’ll be taking a lesson in economics from such as them and you

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  4. It has been interesting watching the media coverage. Some are quick to criticise the national media for being ‘London-centric’ but of course the Scottish media are ‘Glasgow-centric’ until yesterday most of the coverage was of Arran and Kintyre only really got mentioned because the pylon failure affected the supply to Arran. Islay has seemed to have hardly been mentioned.

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  5. Lovely wee day out for Nicola Sturgeon to Kintyre today in the sunshine, a few nice photographs with old folk and kiddies , unfortunately this king of gesture politics is no substitute for good government which is so sadly lacking .
    Like many others , I’ve had no lights for 5 days now , no heating , no fuel for car , no TV , no hot water other than flasks and no reliable information when I can expect a resumption of these services.
    Next time you are in Kintyre Ms Sturgeon arrange to meet people who can tell it to you like it is .

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    • Well explain how the battery is lasting in I presume your laptop or I-pad? 5 days is rather remarkable I would suggest without a recharge.
      Or is it a case of being frugal with usage or perchance a small generator or some solar come wind turbine device.
      Another query, did you not beleive the forecasts and heed the SNP Goverment’s advice to fuel the car and take measures to make sure essentials were to hand to alleviate any hardship.

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      • Islay forever. Amazing how you have nothing yet you can afford to be on here. When my power was down, like everyone else, I had no internet access. Fuel? Why no fuel, its been available. The benefit of Nicola Sturgeon visiting was it highlighted the problem we have here in Kintyre which before yesterday appeared to focus soley on Arran.

        I’ve got parents, both in their 80s, who still don’t have power and who can certainly tell “you what like it is” but choose to try and help others instead of mumping and moaning. Must be the Kintyre bit in them ;-)

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  6. So could you give us a blow by blow account of how you think the situation should have developed from the first dire weather forecast, through Friday morning when it became apparent that it was more than just a passing snow squall, and on to the present?

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  7. I can feel it coming. The SNP are going to get the blame for the snow, and if it can be proved that Alex Salmond had taken legal advice on the likelihood of snow and said nothing, the media will have a field day.

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