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Transport minister responds to concerns of local businessman

Local businessman criticises government over decision to close M8

Pic: © STV
Pic: © STV

An Airdrie businessman was personally contacted by new transport minister Keith Brown after he criticised the government’s decision to close the M8 motorway.

Jerry Stewart from Cairnhill, who is a director of Eagle Couriers, said his business was crippled by the government’s failure to clear black ice from the motorway last week.

Having apologised for the disruption, Mr Brown then asked Mr Stewart to contact him on his personal mobile should he have any recommendations on how best to prevent future closures.

Speaking to STV Airdrie, Mr Stewart said: “Nobody in Scotland knows the M8 better than we do. So it is reassuring that the minister listened to our criticisms then contacted us directly to discuss them.

“He explained to me exactly why the gritting of the M8 failed to stop it from being closed by black ice on Wednesday.

“He assured me he is not taking his foot off the gas on the issue of keeping roads open and is still spending nights in the transport centre.

“However, he accepts there are still improvements to be made and that the Government must do better.”

The transport minister explained that last Wednesday’s problems were caused by unpredictable heavy rainfall which rendered gritting services ineffective.

He has now pledged to work with businesses like Eagle to develop better forward planning to cope with extreme weather conditions.

Mr Stewart added: “He took our criticism on the chin and I am impressed that he has made the effort to reach out to transport sector professionals like us. It is a more positive sign than we have seen up until now.

“He must deliver on his promises and ensure that everything is done to ensure a road like the M8, which is crucial to virtually every aspect of Scottish life, is not closed by weather problems again.”

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