Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Gibson & Farlow demand MoD action

News release
Immediate release

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson and North West Councilor George Farlow have written to the MoD demanding that they take their responsibilities in the North West Highlands seriously following a near fatal military accident at Laxford Bridge.

Mr Gibson and Cllr Farlow have demanded that the MoD use the insurance money to pay in full for the repairs to the bridge and to make substantial improvements to its approach roads.

The accident saw the occupants escape with minor injuries after their transporter toppled into the river. It lead to the parapet of the bridge being destroyed and now means that only vehicle under 7.5 tones can pass over it. HGV traffic, which include lorries serving the ports of Lochinver and Kinlochbervie, face a detour of between 50 and 100 miles.

Cllr Farlow said that the MoD had to act positively...

"To take responsibility for what happened and as an act of good will to the local community, the MoD has to foot the bill for the damage that their activities caused. The closures of the bridge to heavy goods traffic will hit the local economy hard. in a time of recession and ever increasing fuel costs it is all the more pressing that they act quickly."

"The MoD uses the North West for military manouvers on a regular basis so it is up to them to show that they value the community in which they are based by rectifying their mistakes. An upgraded bridge and approaches is a must. Failure to do so would suggest that the MoD does not care about the damage it inadvertently inflicts on the area."

Mr Gibson added…

"The wear and tear which the MoD's exercises put on an infrastructure in the North West (which it was never meant to bear) is worrying. I fear that there could be further instances such as those that happened last weekend which could have far worse consequences. It is time that the MoD takes responsibility for the pressure it puts on the roads and bridges of North West Sutherland. Repairing, strengthen and improving Laxford Bridge is a good way to start."

"Such responsibility is not without precedence. Local authorities regularly put demands on developers to upgrade infrastructure before planning permission is granted so it asking the MoD to upgrade the infrastructure to complement their uses (such as the transport of 1,000 pound gun transporters) is a reasonable ask."

Mr Gibson and Cllr Farlow also expressed their relief that no one from the transporter was seriously injured and complimented the swift and professional reaction by all those involved following the incident.


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