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Winter Resilience

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 26th October 2011.

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Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

We are also making the information as consistent as possible with the Met Office’s advice. Although well intentioned, differing advice can be confusing.

There are now some good leaflets, such as “Drive Safely This Winter”, which give good advice to drivers on how to go about their business. It cannot be expected that everybody will have that information. Also, as several members have mentioned, before the last two years we had a long period of mild winters during which people got out of good habits. The leaflet “Drive Safely This Winter”, published by Safer Scotland, should be extremely useful for that purpose.

Many members talked about how much voluntary organisations and individuals did last year, much of which went unsung. For example, the trunk road customer care staff at Airdrie, who worked at the time for an organisation called beCogent, stayed behind late at night or worked through the night on a voluntary, unpaid basis on a number of occasions. They continued their jobs through the night because they were well aware of the predicament of some people who were using the roads. Such selfless dedication was evident across the piece and, as members have made clear, we should do everything that we can to encourage that.

The last issue that I will address is that of my being a poster boy. I do not know whether I was surprised to be Helen Eadie’s poster boy or disappointed not to be Christine Grahame’s poster boy. However, these days, I am quite happy with anything that I am called that involves the word “boy”. It may not be evident to members that Kenny MacAskill played an important role in the resilience last year and convened many of the SGoRR meetings. The responsibility that he has for the police is central to resilience, as it is the police who close roads, which is why he and I are sharing the responsibilities. I completely refute the terrible accusations about his sartorial taste that were made by Jackson Carlaw. We will talk to him about that after the debate.

Kenny MacAskill and I, along with the ministerial team, will do everything that we can to prepare Scotland as well as possible for the coming winter.