Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has labeled as encouraging an answer from the First Minster that the Scottish Government will consider making infrastructure improvements related to Pentland Firth developments a national priority.
Mr Gibson questioned Alex Salmond during First Ministers Question Time. He asked if the Scottish Government would ensure that the Pentland Firth’s tidal power, oil supply base and sea transport hub features would all be treated as one National Development under the National Planning framework.
He also asked if the soon-to-be-published Strategic Transport Projects Review would treat as one high priority speedier rail, safer road, enhanced harbours and an all-weather landing scheme for Wick airport.
The First Minister said that he would consider the proposals.
Speaking after Mr Gibson said…
"The First Minster's response was encouraging. Alex Salmond and Ministers are well aware of the great potential that exists in the Pentland Firth and the positive impact that it can make to the entire Scottish economy. To me it makes sense therefore to treat the developments of renewable energy, harbour and oil hub's as well as improved transport as a national priority. This complementary development will help the region become a power house for the Nation and beyond."
"In the past infrastructure has lagged be development, for example in Nigg the houses weren't built in Alness and Invergordon till much later and the firth bridges took even more time to be built. Whilst in Kishorn the road was never improved during the life of the oil yard. This must not be the same tale for development in the Far North."
"I have also written to the Transport and Energy Minster's making this case. I hope that MSP's regardless of political colours will show their support for developments in the Firth and help back my call. The cat calling and barracking from Labour MSP's during my question was disappointing. Serious questions about developments for remote and rural areas are exciting I would expect them to see the possibilities."