Local MSP Colin Beattie and Councillor Stuart McKenzie have expressed their concerns at the frequent sewage incidents at Newbattle Abbey Crescent and urgently called for a long-term solution to eliminate incidents like this in the future.
Mr Beattie and Cllr McKenzie visited Newbattle Abbey Crescent where there have been several reports of manholes overflowing with sewage after recent heavy rain fall.
The area has been subject to similar incident previously, with the one occurring just last month in July 2022.
Commenting Colin Beattie MSP said:
“This isn’t the first incident of the kind to occur at Newbattle Abbey Crescent and isn’t pleasant for the residents to experience.
“It is important that long-term plans are explored to eliminate future sewage incidents, not only at Newbattle Abbey Crescent but across Scotland.
“I recognise that this will require huge investment and will not be resolved overnight. The process of finding a solution will be lengthy and require great expertise.
“I will, however, pursue the issue as chair of the Esk River Improvement Group with Scottish Water at the next meeting.”
Councillor Stuart McKenzie commented:
“I recognise that Scottish Water and their contractors have been reacting to the issues of drainage at Newbattle Abbey Crescent and have been regularly attending to complete clean-up operations, which we thank them for.
“However, it is simply unacceptable that homes, public spaces as well as local wild-life areas are regularly contaminated.
“We have to realise that the climate is changing and our older systems need addressing in good time. It is time for Scottish Water to come together with community groups and focus on what long term measures are required.
“Colin and I will continue to press Scottish Water to ensure that the existing drainage is well maintained and working as it should whilst campaigning to ensure that climate change combatting measures are looked at in haste.”
A Scottish Water spokesperson said:
“Scottish Water and network operator Veolia, responded to an overflow from the sewer network at Newbattle Crescent on Monday 15th August.
Our teams attended site and found that the significant rainfall following a long period of dry weather, caused a large mass of wet wipes and sanitary products to be flushed through the system quickly.
This mass blocked the sewer and led to an overflow from several manholes in Newbattle Crescent.
The area was cleaned quickly after the incident and the sewer has been inspected to ensure no further work needs to be done.”
CRIME DROPPED ACROSS SCOTLAND BY 43% UNDER SNP
Colin Beattie has welcomed the release of the latest crime statistics which show Scotland’s recorded crime levels are at their lowest since 1974.
Figures show for the year ending June 2022, recorded crime fell by 5% compared to the same period last year and has fallen by 43% since 2006-07, when the SNP took office.
The findings are also reflected in the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey published earlier this year which showed 1 in 8 adults were the victim of a crime in 2019/20, significantly less than the 1 in 5 recorded in 2008/09. It also showed that people in Scotland were less likely to be a victim of crime than in England and Wales.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“Midlothian and East Lothian continue to be a safe place to live, just like the rest of Scotland with thousands of fewer victims of crime than when the SNP took office, with a 43% reduction since 2006/07.
“The Scottish Government’s commitment to keeping our streets safe is backed up by increasing the policing budget by £40.5m for 2022-23, bringing the total budget to almost £1.4bn.
“Under the SNP the number of police has also increased by 3.5% compared to when we took office. There are also more police officers per head in Scotland than the rest of the UK with 32 officers per 10,000 population in Scotland compared to around 23 in England and Wales.
“There is of course always work to be done to ensure our streets are even safer and that is why the SNP Scottish Government has made £48 million available to organisations that support victims over the next three years, putting victims at the very heart of our justice system.
“Recorded crime across Scotland continues to fall and it demonstrates why it is only the SNP that can be trusted to keep Scotland safe.”
Colin Beattie has welcomed the introduction of the SNP Scottish Government’s newest social security benefit, the Adult Disability Payment (ADP).
The payment will be rolled out nationwide after a successful pilot in 13 local authorities across Scotland. New applications for the benefit are open.
ADP will replace the UK government’s Personal Independence Payments (PIP). People in Midlothian and East Lothian receiving PIP do not need to re-apply and will be automatically transferred from the DWP to Social Security Scotland, with the process expected to be completed by 2025.
Commenting, Colin Beattie said:
“I am delighted to see the Adult Disability Payment being rolled out in Midlothian, East Lothian and across Scotland. This is the 12th and most complex benefit to be introduced by the SNP Scottish Government, building a system of fairness, dignity and respect.
“No longer will those with disabilities need to be subjected to the intrusive and degrading assessments or health examinations as was previous under the DWP system.
“This one of a raft of other social security payments that have been introduced in Scotland, including the ‘game-changing’ Scottish Child Payment, and demonstrates how we are building a system in Scotland that is built for the people that need it.
“Those who are already receiving PIP or DLA do not need to make a new application do be moved on to the Adult Disability Payment and I would encourage anyone who is eligible to apply for this new disability benefit.”
LABOUR STANDING SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH TORIES TO DENY INCREASE
Colin Beattie has slammed Anas Sarwar’s shameful hypocrisy after Labour stood in the way of Midlothian and East Lothian’s council workers receiving a 5% pay rise.
During a COSLA meeting on Friday, SNP councillors proposed a 5% pay offer for employees, which was backed by Scottish Government funding of £140m per year. However, Labour sided with the Tories to try and block the move and delay a pay offer even further.
This follows previous moves by Labour to back Tory proposals for a 3.5% pay offer, despite the SNP offer of 5% being on the table.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“It is utterly shameful that Labour once again sided with the Tories and failed to back proposals to offer council workers in Midlothian, East Lothian and across Scotland the fair pay deal they deserve.
“Anas Sarwar was just this week urging the Scottish Government to act on its ‘moral duty’ on the cost of living crisis. Sarwar has completely failed in his own moral duty to ensure that hard-working employees are offered a fair pay rise during this Tory made cost of living crisis.
“Not only did Labour reject the proposals for a 5% increase, but they stood side-by-side with the architects of the cost of living crisis, the Tories, to try and deny workers that rise. Labour were given two opportunities to back SNP proposals for a 5% rise, but twice decided to vote against it and stand side-by-side with the Tories instead.
“It is a welcome breakthrough that the 5% offer will now be offered to council workers thanks to the work of SNP councillors to get the proposals approved.
“This is part of a pattern we have seen since the local elections. Before them Anas Sarwar was saying no deals and asking voters not to reward the ‘toxic, out of touch, corrupt and disgusting’ Tories. When all the votes were counted his party has bent over backwards to do deals with the Tories and now joins them in trying to undercut council staff pay.
“Labour are continuing their shift to the right and as they do, they slip further into irrelevance and have nothing positive to offer the people of Scotland. The only way to build a fairer, more equal country is by becoming independent.”