S4M-04612: A Practical Commitment to Reducing CO2 Emissions in Transport

That the Parliament welcomes what it understands is a commitment by Stagecoach to reduce the CO2 emissions of its entire east of Scotland bus fleet by adopting the B30 fuel system, which uses a blend of 30% biofuel and 70% standard diesel; understands that this will affect 530 vehicles across Fife, Dundee, Angus and Perthshire that use a blend of 5% biofuel and 95% diesel; believes that the B30 system will be introduced in partnership with the Motherwell-based company Argent Energy, which manufactures biofuel from waste products, and considers that this will be a positive step toward reaching what it considers to be the Scottish Government’s ambitious target for the sustainable reduction of the country’s carbon footprint.

Supported by: Mike MacKenzie, Bill Kidd, David Torrance, John Mason, Brian Adam, Richard Lyle, Colin Beattie, Maureen Watt, Dave Thompson, Gil Paterson, Kevin Stewart, Colin Keir, Stuart McMillan

Date Lodged: 30/10/2012

Question S4W-10634: Access to Pharmacies in Rural Areas

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government how it ensures that people in rural areas have access to local pharmacies.

Date Lodged: 26/10/2012 Read more of this post

Question S4W-10633: NHS Self-management Programmes for Osteoarthritis

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to formally evaluate the NHS self-management programmes available for people with osteoarthritis.

Date Lodged: 26/10/2012 Read more of this post

Vine Venue Party Conference

The Vine Venue in Dunfermline is continuing to prove an attractive venue for conferences and meetings. Last Saturday, it hosted the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ Autumn Conference.

Independent MSP for Dunfermline, Bill Walker, said:

“The Vine Venue is a great local option for conferences. I’m pleased to see a political party, along with other organisations large and small, using the facilities readily available here in Dunfermline. Read more of this post

Question S4W-10613: Aviation fuel at Edinburgh Airport

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government what information it holds regarding the recent lack of aviation fuel at Edinburgh Airport, which caused the unscheduled diversion of fuel of several outgoing flights, and what steps it will take to prevent delays for passengers caused by refuelling diversions.

Date Lodged: 25/10/2012 Read more of this post

Red Herrings

Time and again, the Scottish independence debate is side-tracked by irrelevant and short-lived matters.  Future independence has significance far beyond the political hot-topics of today and beyond the public figures who presently support or oppose it.

We should be thinking about the kind of place we want Scotland to be for decades to come.  We can only do that by looking beyond party politics, beyond today’s personalities and beyond the ‘burning’ issues of the moment that won’t even be remembered in a short while. We need an open and objective discussion about the kind of Scotland future generations could inherit. Read more of this post

Glasgow 2014

MSPs in the Scottish Parliament recently had a chance to meet Clyde, the thistle-inspired mascot of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Clyde, designed by 12-year-old Beth Gilmour of Cumbernauld, will be visiting Scottish communities throughout the journey to the Games and will play a major role in key moments. I hope he will inspire children and young people to get involved in Scotland’s largest ever sporting event.

Communities, organisations and individuals must work together if the Games are to be an outstanding success and produce a lasting legacy. There are various ways to get involved, such as the Cultural and Volunteer Programmes and the Queen’s Baton Relay. Read more of this post

Dunfermline Residents Could Make Big Energy Savings

MSP Bill Walker is encouraging Dunfermline constituents to find out more about energy savings, as Citizens Advice Scotland launches Big Energy Saving Week.

The campaign, which runs from 22nd to 27th October, aims to help people be more confident and knowledgeable about finding the best energy deals.

Mr Walker said: “I was dismayed to learn from recent research by Citizens Advice that the parents of around six million children across the UK are anxious they won’t be able to pay the next energy bill. Similarly, figures from Age UK reveal that 30 per cent of people aged 65 and over avoid heating certain rooms for fear of the cost. Read more of this post

S4M-04507: Improvements to Fife-Glasgow Bus Services

That the Parliament welcomes the £4.4 million investment in Fife bus services, following Stagecoach’s recent purchase of what it understands are nine luxury Plaxton Elite coaches for the Fife-Glasgow express network, in addition to five coaches for the Fife-Edinburgh service purchased over the last year; believes that this enhancement will particularly benefit disabled and older people and people commuting to work; understands that the coaches have an increased capacity of 65 leather seats and feature wheelchair lifts, CCTV, toilets and free wi-fi, and looks forward to similar improvements in services throughout Scotland.

Supported by: David Torrance, Richard Lyle, Kenneth Gibson, Colin Beattie, Stuart McMillan

Date Lodged: 19/10/2012

Stagecoach’s Fife Transport Boost

Stagecoach will shortly boost the Fife-Glasgow express network with nine new luxury coaches. This follows spending over the past year on five new coaches for the Fife-Edinburgh route, bringing the total spend to £4.4 million.

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker said the investment, which coincides with the launch of the new Fife-Glasgow timetable on 12 November, should improve the standard of journeys for Dunfermline travellers.

He said: “I am very glad to see investment in these important commuter routes. The new coaches have an increased capacity of 65 seats, which can only be a good thing for Fife workers and shoppers who depend on these networks. Read more of this post

S4M-04499: Parliament Welcomes the Historic Edinburgh Agreement

That the Parliament welcomes the signing of the historic Edinburgh Agreement between the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, and the Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron; believes that the debate on Scottish independence should now move forward to full, frank and open discussion of the perceived benefits of independence and of the union, and hopes that it will be conducted in a positive and respectful manner with real vision for the future of Scotland.

Supported by: Angus MacDonald, Kevin Stewart, Mike MacKenzie, Brian Adam, Dave Thompson, Stuart McMillan, Richard Lyle

Date Lodged: 18/10/2012

Independence Referendum Agreement Signed

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker has welcomed the signing of the “Edinburgh Agreement” between First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron. This agreement confirms the Scottish Parliament’s power to hold a referendum on whether Scotland should become an independent country.

Mr Walker said: “I am delighted an agreement has now been reached. This marks an important step in Scotland’s journey by paving the way for the substantial debate on the benefits of independence to begin. Read more of this post

MSP Seeks Limekilns Premises for Post Office Services

Bill Walker has reassured Limekilns residents that he will inform the Post Office if suitable premises for a restored local service become available. The Dunfermline MSP has also asked local businesses to let him know if they can offer an alternative location for the Post Office formerly based in Main Street.

Mr Walker said: “Limekilns villagers have been without a local service since October 2011, following the resignation of the subpostmaster and withdrawal of the premises for Post Office use. This vacancy is still being advertised on the Post Office website, which is www.postoffice.co.uk. Read more of this post

Commonwealth Games Mascot Clyde Drops into Parliament

“Thistle-man” Clyde, official mascot of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, dropped into the Scottish Parliament recently to give MSPs a progress update.

After meeting Clyde, Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker said: “Clyde will be highly visible in the journey towards the Games and will play a major part in motivating young people to get involved in Scotland’s largest ever sporting event. Well done to twelve-year-old Beth Gilmour of Cumbernauld who won the UK-wide competition to design Glasgow 2014’s official mascot. I understand Beth is a keen swimmer, so I’m certain she will enjoy the Games. Read more of this post


The 11th September 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the death of local woman Anna Munro, who founded one of the first branches of the Suffragettes, here in Dunfermline in 1906. The daughter of a schoolmaster, Anna spent many years campaigning for equal suffrage, as well as helping the poor.

I recently raised a motion in Parliament commemorating her resilience in the struggle for women’s suffrage. It is easy to forget that less than 100 years ago women in Britain could not vote. The over-30s gained suffrage in 1918, but equality with men was not achieved till as late as 1928. Read more of this post

Kincardine Housing Development

I recently attended the official opening of the new Kincardine housing development, which I very much welcome. Kingdom Housing Association has built 65 affordable houses to replace two of the tower blocks demolished in 2010. This is the first phase of a regeneration that will conclude with the demolition of the remaining tower block, probably next year.

These modern, well-built houses are fitted with solar thermal panels, making them energy efficient and thus cheaper to heat. Dunfermline firm Oliver and Robb Architects designed them, while another local firm, Campion, built them in partnership with Fife Council and the Scottish Government. Read more of this post

Budget Announcements

Finance Secretary John Swinney must have the hardest job in the Scottish Government. At a time when Westminster has reduced Scotland’s capital funding by 30%, he has the near-impossible task of balancing the books. Yet, since taking up his post in 2007, he has made the right choices when faced with unenviable decisions between competing budget priorities.

On 20th September, he announced the Draft Budget 2013-14. Key points include the announcement that the Council Tax will remain frozen. This is only fair, since the freeze implemented in 2007 has yet to make up for huge increases under previous Labour/LibDem administrations at Holyrood. Read more of this post

£25,000 Oakley Regeneration Programme

£25,000 community initiative has launched in Oakley, funded by the Coalfield Regeneration Trust and the Scottish Government.

The Community Futures programme will see local people and groups set out a five-year action plan. Local priorities will be established through surveys, interviews, a community event and a public meeting.

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker said: “This is a very welcome initiative. I’m glad to see the Scottish Government supporting suitable projects in Oakley. Read more of this post

S4M-04307: Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Funding

That the Parliament acknowledges the benefits to young people and their communities of awards made by such bodies as the Big Lottery Fund, aimed at encouraging participation in sports and exercise; recognises, particularly, the value of such funding in the run-up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games; congratulates Dunfermline Carnegie Hockey Club on its Big Lottery award of £1,900 to purchase equipment and encourage young people to become involved in hockey, and looks forward to supporting a successful “Team Scotland” in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Supported by: Kenneth Gibson, Richard Lyle, Kevin Stewart, Colin Beattie, Dave Thompson, Colin Keir

Date Lodged: 28/09/2012