Thursday, 25 February 2010

Gibson calls for potential revisiting of land reform Act

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Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has said that the land reform act might have to be revisited to give more rights to tenants farmers.

His call came during a debate on the Brian Pack inquiry on future farming funding. In a wide ranging speech Mr Gibson said that farmers needed to be diversify for the climate change era and to allow for food security.

But he said that increased rights had to be given to tenant farmers if they were to be able to go into the future with any sense of security. If that couldn't be done by any other means then he said that revisiting the land reform act even before the next Scottish Election should happen.

Speaking after Mr Gibson said…

"Crofters gained the buy their land in 1976. However no such provision was made for tenant farmers in the 2003 Land Reform law. In my view this was an opportunity lost and is holding back tenant farmers up and down the country because landlords are withholding land for rent and stopping new entrants getting onto the farming ladder."

"What is clear is that food security is going to become central to the future of a sustainable Scotland. Everyone in agriculture is going to play their part in it. Also the UK Climate change Committee's report to the Scottish Parliament delivered yesterday must be part of the Pack solutions. Whether tenants or owner occupiers agricultural holdings will have to make more use of anaerobic digestion, on-farm renewables and reduced use of artificial fertilisers. It is a complex set of parameters."


Friday, 12 February 2010

Gibson calls for Grazings report

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Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has called for local Grazings Committee to undertake and publish an annual report showing the condition of crofting holdings and grazings in each township.

Mr Gibson said that such local and grassroots involvement would act as a prompt to highlight the burning issues in each township. He further asserted that crofters would have no problems in identifying where re was activity and neglect in the land.Mr Gibson was impressed by the detailed and painstaking report from Camus Cross - a state of the township which showed in well-chosen words and pictures a 'doomsday book' view of the lively area.

Mr Gibson said grazings committees are a vital link between crofting townships and the Crofting Commission…

"Support for such a reporting mechanism would signify collaboration of local communities with the regulators to achieve change for the better in croft land use. The degree of detail required to trigger Crofting Commission action is not so detailed as to require hours of painstaking effort. ."

"The cherished rights of crofters were hard won. The responsibilities that come with these rights have too long been honoured in the breach. I am seeking a means to convey basic land use information to regulators. I see no reason why Assessors given new powers could not enable this process."

"This Crofting Bill is the last chance to get cooperative and collaborative action by crofters to take collective action to improve and sustain the land that gives them an enviable way of life. It is a small price to pay for the privilege."

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Gibson calls for Scottish International Surfing Team

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Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has called on the Scottish Government to help Scotland enter a team in international surfing events.

Mr Gibson's action was prompted after the Scottish Surfing Federation started a campaign for Scotland to have an individual team.

At present the International Surfing Association ISA only recognises team GB despite the fact they separately recognise teams from Hawaii and the USA.

Mr Gibson said that a Scottish team made sense and said that it doesn't need to stop there…

"I am happy to add my support to the campaign from the Scottish Surfing Federation to gain international acceptance and recognition for a separate Scottish team. Scottish shores are now a firm fixture on the world surfing map. It is developing a culture and feel all of its own. The next logical step is for a separate team to further highlight the distinctiveness of Scotland."

"The prestigious Thurso Cold Water Classic sees the surfing world come to Caithness and judging by the trophy ( a Highland broad sword) then Scotland is very much a theme in the event. So it would be good therefore to see surfers under the banner of Scotland competition."

"I hope that the ISA can make the same distinction for Scotland as they do for Hawaii. Indeed I see no reason why that other Celtic country and surfing Mecca Cornwall shouldn't have their own team as well."


Gibson calls on BBC Alba to be shown on Freeview

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Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has highlighted the role that BBC Alba plays in supporting rural fragile economies.

Mr Gibson was speaking during a Scottish Government's debate on making the Gaelic channel available on Freeview.

A longstanding supporter of Gaelic language and culture, as well as a Gaelic learner Rob said that the sooner the channel was available on Freeview the better.

He pointed out that the added economic benefits of the channel example was mentioned at last summer's Sutherland Summit. It was reported that German tourists had visited the area after watching BBC Alba. They said they wanted to see the land where the language was spoken.

He also added that BBC Alba is more than a channel saying that it is a medium which conveyed the culture and life of the place. He said that the channel also broke the mould of central broadcasting by having is major centers for broadcast which were situated throughout the Gaeltacht and the strong contribution that it plays in the lives and profile of the area it's people and language.

Speaking after he said…

"The quality of programming on BBC Alba regularly beats that of anything else on TV. It is testament to that quality that the channel which is not available on Freeview has attracted high numbers of viewers. The BBC Trust must act as quickly as it can and make BBC Alba available on Freeview so that more people have a chance to watch it."

"It is obvious from such events as the Sutherland Summit that Gaelic plays a vital role in the make up of many parts of the Highlands and Islands. BBC Alba can accentuate interest in the language and culture as well as bringing it to a wider audience which in turn stimulates interest in the heartland of the language for the benefit for those that live and work there."


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Gibson to wear red for Haiti

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Highlands and Islands SNP MSP will show his support for the people of Haiti in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow by wearing red.

Mr Gibson will be joining MSPs from across the chamber as part of RedDay4Haiti.

Mr Gibson will be wearing his Buchanan tartan tie.

He said...

"The devastation wrought on the Islanders of Haiti cannot have failed to move people. So to show solidarity and raise funds for the islands is still needed."

"I chose a tartan tie as tartan emphasises all the strands in the weave that are needed to help Haiti."

"The official RedDay4Haiti is in fact on Friday but as we will all be in our own constituencies on that day, MSPs will be wearing red in the chamber on Thursday and I know many Parliamentary staff will be doing the same throughout the building."

"This is an extremely good cause and I hope that as many people as possible will join in and wear something red on Friday, whether to school or work and whatever, and raise some money for Haiti."


RedDay4Haiti is an awareness and fundraising day being organised by the Scotland 4 Haiti Partnership on Friday 5 February 2010.

The partnership is between the Caring City (a national charity with branches in Glasgow, Dundee and Inverclyde) and World Emergency Relief.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Gibson calls for port support

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Highlands and Islands SNP MSP has urged HIE to make Scrabster and Wick, Nigg and Buckie strategic locations for windfarm production and maintenance.

Mr Gibson was speaking ahead of a list of sites which are to be published on Thursday.

Those that are designated as key locations for offshore wind suppliers should see a £15 billion benefit in the next ten years from spending on offshore wind turbines.

The locations identified are viewed as the best sites to act as installation, manufacture and maintenance hubs to enable developers to source offshore wind components from Scottish- based suppliers

Mr Gibson said…

"With the mass developments planned for the Moray Firth which will stretch from Caithness to Banffshire then it makes perfect sense to have a string of ports close by. It is important that the turbines can be serviced and created close to where they are."

"Nigg has already proved it's worth by launching the two tester turbines for the Beatrice oil field in the future there are going to be many more turbines so it is important that we have ports capable of supporting them. Installation and maintenance needs Scrabster and Wick in the North and Buckie in the South.

"HIE has to push to make sure that this becomes a reality. It will make sure that the developments in the Moray Firth work to their maximum capabilities and will also deliver major economic benefits along the way."

"The green energy revolution will revolutionise the economies of remote and rural communities. Developments such as offshore windfarms in the Moray Firth will complement the wave and tidal potential in the Pentland Firth. It will change the face of the North of Scotland so it is up to HIE and Scottish Enterprise to make sure that they back up that future now by promoting port services across the country."


Gibson welcomes Drumbeg upgrading

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Immediate release

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has welcomed an announcement from the Scottish Government that the BT Broadband Exchange at Drumbeg is to be upgraded.

The Scottish Government in partnership with BT have confirmed that they are to upgrade the exchange in North West Sutherland.

Mr Gibson said…

"I am delighted that the Scottish Government and BT are to work together to improve the broadband provision in and around Drumbeg. It will make a real and tangible difference, which will benefit the local population."

"Last year I undertook a consultation regarding the provision of broadband in rural areas. In the responses it became clear that the internet plays an important role in peoples lives. So improved access in a rural area is a welcome move."

" This is one of eight exchanges across Scotland due for upgrades in addition to the 71 recently listed. It shows that the SNP government are delivering in difficult circumstances."

Mr Gibson will also be speaking in a debate regarding rural broadband this week in Parliament.


Gibson seeks clarification over 'unfortunate decision'

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Rob Gibson SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands has called for urgent clarification of the law of access. Mr Gibson was commenting after the decision by Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross licensing committee to grant Alladale Estate permission to enclose a park for wild boar and European elk which will block the access path along Glen Alladale

Mr Gibson said it was an unfortunate decision...

"Since the license for a fenced enclosure in 2007 the eccentric plans of Paul Lister were exposed in an embarrassing TV series. This showed a millionaire lording it over his private mountain kingdom with scant regard to public access and long established customary rights."

"I am concerned that the LibDem led Highland Council is allowing conflicting laws to clash. Which takes precedence? Do we have to bow to private whims and block access through wild country that could be a life and death issue for walkers in severe weather."

"I am astounded that the licensing board chair Cllr Alasdair Rhind showed scant regard for the physical dangers to walkers on the Alladale path. Access to the bulk of the estate is no excuse for blocking long used the Alladale path."

"I will raise the matter with the Minster, meantime I hope to hear how Highland Council will review this unfortunate decision."Mr Gibson has written to Lib Dem leader of Highland Council Michael Foxley to seek clarification over the administration's commitment to free access throughout the region.