Cross-party group meeting on Diabetes held in Inverness

Delighted to chair the cross-party group meeting on Diabetes in Inverness Townhouse. This is the first time in Scottish Parliament history that the cross-party group meeting on diabetes has been held outwith the Scottish Parliament. Fantastic that it was held in my region and there was an excellent turn out.
Below is (left to right) Prof Sandra MacRury, Rupurt Pigot and Victoria Reetie who attended the meeting.

Shared Space

Subject: Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Road safety campaigner, David Stewart gets answer at last from Government on shared space – cyclists/pedestrians


Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Road Safety campaigner, David Stewart, gets answer at last from Government on shared space – cyclists/pedestrians


David Stewart said ” I wrote to the Government back in September last year, highlighting that I was becoming aware of incidents of conflict between cyclists and pedestrians on cycle path/footways. At that time, I suggested improved signage and consideration of a national shared space colour coded surface, whereby for example, cycle sections were painted green or blue and pedestrian sections left the normal colour. Even if we had signage that advised pedestrians to keep to the left and cyclists the right or whatever that would address the problem.


” Eventually I received a full response from the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson, advising me that the Active Travel Task Force in a recent report, recommended formally approved overarching walking and cycling design guidance for Scotland be produced for local and trunk roads. Update signage will also be considered.


“As part of this package a Working Group is being set up that will include Local Authorities, Sustrans, Regional Transport Partnerships and Transport Scotland.


” If Local Authorities wished to embark on an educational campaign they could apply to the Smarter Choices Smarter Place programme.


David concluded ” This is good, positive news which will address some of the confusion that currently exists on shared space areas and I look forward to seeing what the Working Group come up with.





Drivers and roundabouts

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Road Safety campaigner, David Stewart highlights that the number of drivers who are confused with negotiating roundabouts is worrying.

“It is a real worry that many drivers on our roads today are unsure as to how to negotiate a roundabout”, said David Stewart, “ which as a result can cause collisions and serious injury.

“In short a roundabout is a hazard and like any hazard you should approach it at an appropriate speed, make sure you are in the proper lane and remember Mirror, Signal, Manouvre.(MSM).

David Stewart said “ I have been contacted by constituents, the latest being yesterday,(11/3/19) raising this very issue. What we need to do here is to highlight how drivers should negotiate this particular hazard by means of education.

“There are three simple actions to remember:

1)” If you are following the road ahead on a main route (eg dual carriageway) you can often go ahead in either lane. If you approach on the left then you should stay to the left in new road, if you take the right hand lane on approach stay on the inside of the roundabout and exit in the right hand lane in new road.(See last graphic attached)

2)” When taking an exit to the right or going full circle, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise: signal right and approach in the right-hand lane. keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout. signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.(See attached)

3) “Some people think you should give way to vehicles approaching from the right on a roundabout. You must give way to any vehicles already on the roundabout before you enter.(See attached)

Highlands and Islands residents urged to respond to the Good Food Nation Consultation

The launch of the Scottish Government’s consultation on Good Food Nation legislation is being welcomed by Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart.

Due to close on the 29th of March, the consultation seeks public views on what should be included in a new law for Scotland’s food system.

Scottish Labour have called on the Scottish Government to include a statutory right to food in the Good Food Nation bill.

Mr Stewart said:

“Reformation of our food system is long overdue. We advertise Scotland as a nation of food and drink, yet over a third of Scots worry about putting food on the table.

“An ever-increasing number of people continue to be priced out of a decent diet, forced to rely on food banks and suffering from poor nutrition. We undervalue the people who work to produce and process food, the wildlife, natural resources and farm animals that all form part of our food system. This cannot be allowed to continue.

“Scottish Labour believes there should be a statutory right to food which joins up all policies related to food and has the power to measure the government’s success in feeding its people.

“We need to work together to push for change. I urge all of my constituents in the Highlands and Islands to respond to the consultation and make their voice known.”

Those wishing to respond to the consultation can do so online by visiting or by writing to:
Good Food Nation,
Scottish Government,
Food and Drink Division,
Saughton House,
Broomhouse Drive,
EH11 3XD

  • Photo by Matthias Wilke from Pexels


Scottish Food Coalition

CAS Report:

Good Food Nation Consultation


More needs to be done to tackle Drink/Drug Drivers

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and long time road safety campaigner, David Stewart is disappointed that the drink drive statistics for Quarter 3 (1 April 2018 – 31 December 2018) in the Highlands & Islands Division has shown that for the same period in 2017/18 there were 294 drink drivers and for this period in 2018/19 there have been 309.


Mr Stewart said ” In Scotland we reduced the amount of alcohol a driver could have in their blood to address this anti social  type of behaviour in our efforts to make our roads safer. Road safety groups and the Police have worked tirelessly to further enhance road safety and make our carriageways safer for all road users. However, the drink driver and for that matter the drug driver, seem to think they are above the law and continue to be a danger to themselves and more importantly others.


” It’s a cliché I know, but something has to give, something has to be done, but what? Education is key and I have suggested many times now that those convicted of drink or drug driving should undertake mandatory rehabilitation courses – Drink/Drug Driver Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS). Clearly there is a need for education with regards drink and drug driving. This is where these courses come in to enhance all that is currently being done.”


He added: “The course combines presentations, group exercises, group discussions and videos used in conjunction with a course workbook with various exercises to complete and is all geared to educate the convicted driver as to the error of their ways.


“Let’s face it, if the convicted driver is not referred to such a scheme, where are they to be educated as to the danger they pose to other road users and what is to stop them continuing to drink/drug drive once their ban has been completed.”


The DDRS is an informal educational training workshop that provides participants with knowledge to reduce the likelihood they will be re-convicted of drink/drug driving again.


Mr Stewart said the incentive for the drink/drug driver is that if they complete the course they can not only get up to 25% off their driving ban, but also become more responsible and safer drivers in the process.


He continued ” I have previously written to the Government on this issue and in response I have been advised that such matters such as sentencing was a matter for the Courts.


“Another option I feel should be looked at is new cars being fitted with an ignition interlock device or breath alcohol ignition interlock device (IID or BAIID).


This is a breathalyser for an individual’s vehicle. It requires the driver to blow into a mouthpiece on the device before starting the vehicle. If the resultant breath-alcohol concentration analysed result, is greater than the programmed blood alcohol concentration, the device prevents the engine from being started. The interlock device is located inside the vehicle, near the driver’s seat, and is directly connected to the engine’s ignition system.


Mr Stewart concluded ” Scotland has been at the forefront of road safety initiatives and has taken the lead in the UK with regards a reduced blood/alcohol level for drivers. Why don’t we go that step further and seriously consider the two options I have highlighted yet again?



Josh Harris, Director of Campaign at the Road Safety charity, BRAKE said “Drink-driving is a scourge on our roads and it was great to see Scotland take steps to address this through the reduction of the drink-drive limit in 2014. We want to see the government go further and improve both the deterrent and post-offence framework for drink-driving. Research has shown that any amount of alcohol affects safe driving and we want to see Scotland continue to lead the way in minimising drink-drive risk in the UK.”


Topical Questions – 05/03/19

Today at Topical Questions, I asked a supplementary question on sickness levels in the Ambulance Service and how they have remained static year on year. See the supplementary question and answer above.

Mud on the Road

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and long time road safety campaigner David Stewart urges drivers of heavy plant and agricultural vehicles to clean up after using the area’s roads.


David Stewart said “ A constituent highlighted an issue to me regarding excess mud being left on the roads in the region. This is an ongoing and perhaps annual problem which is potentially very hazardous.

“Whilst I appreciate that farmers and contractors need to move their machines from field to field and site to site at this time of year, there is a lot of mud on some fields and on some sites and I am simply asking that any mess left on the road by vehicles is cleared away as soon as possible in the interests of road safety of other users.


This may seem a minor issue, but let me be clear, the consequences can be dire for drivers and motorcyclists, who can be caught unaware by mud on the road and potentially lose control of their vehicle.

David Stewart continued “Putting out warning signs is good practice, but does not entitle anyone to leave mud on the road for hours or even days. I raise this matter to prevent drivers of heavy plant and agricultural vehicles from being liable should there be an incident or collision caused as a result.


Ian Wilson Regional Manager, NFU Scotland said “With ploughing, sowing and other spring operations ongoing across Scotland, NFUS has issued a timely reminder to farmers on the need, where possible, to keep roads free from mud and muck for the safety of other road users.


During normal cultivating operations mud or muck may inevitably end up on the road.   The vast majority of farmers are already aware of their legal requirement to try to avoid this where possible, and where unavoidable, proper signage and cleaning up as soon as is practically possible is necessary.

Section 95 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984

A person who, being in charge of a vehicle on a road, allows such quantity of mud, clay, farmyard manure, or other material (of whatever nature) from the vehicle, or from anything carried on the vehicle, to drop onto or be deposited on the road so as to create, or be likely to create, a danger or substantial inconvenience to road users and who fails to remove the material as soon as reasonably practicable commits an offence.