The cabinet secretary promised to make a swift decision on carrying out work at the Bervie braes, and residents of Stonehaven and Aberdeenshire Council were delighted when he did so and decided that it should go ahead. Does he agree that it is important that legal agreements and the tendering process be completed as quickly as possible to ensure that the work on making the braes safe can begin at the earliest opportunity? Does he expect Aberdeenshire Council solely to take forward this work or will his directorate play an on-going role?
My officials will obviously keep in touch with Aberdeenshire Council, with which we have had very good discussions over some time. I welcome Maureen Watt's acknowledgement that my indication to the people of Stonehaven that a decision would be taken swiftly was undoubtedly delivered. Indeed, I made the decision within a couple of weeks of my visit to the site, which happened a few weeks after the first landslip. I hope that that reassures some of the sceptics in the Parliament about the timescales for Government decision making in this country. I am delighted that we have been able to take that decision and very much welcome and pay tribute to the cooperation that my officials received when they discussed this issue with Aberdeenshire Council's officials.