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MSP David Stewart considering a change in legislation after series of dangerous incidents across Highlands

David Stewart MSP
David Stewart MSP

Property owners across the Highlands may be required to regularly survey their buildings as Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart considers the need for a change in legislation.

The Labour MSP first lobbied a Bill through Parliament four years ago to amend the Building (Scotland) Act 2003; enabling local authorities to recoup money they spend serving notices or carrying out vital works.

Following a series of dangerous incidents across the Highlands in recent months, Mr Stewart is seriously considering the need for a change in legislation.

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He said: “Obviously the law can’t account for everything and incidents may happen even when owners have had their building surveyed and maintained recently but many properties in cities like Inverness date back centuries.

“Although councils can act if buildings are deemed dangerous and go on to recoup money from owners if they carry out work, there’s more that can be done to bring in more preventative measures.

“I’m always conscious that falling debris can kill or maim passers-by so I’m asking the council in the first instance what are the practicalities of new laws to bring in preventative checks.”

Just last week two tourists were allegedly struck by falling debris in Inverness city centre as Storm Hector swept across the north.

This incident comes just months after a banner became loose on Academy Street due to a piece of dislodged masonry; leading to the Highland Council putting a stop to any ‘cross-street banners’ until all fixtures are inspected.

Overhead glass panels at several Inverness based retail parks have also been at the centre of safety checks due to falling glass.

Labour Highland Councillor Jimmy Gray for Inverness Millburn backed the motion saying: “I have been concerned for some time about the appearance and condition of buildings not only in Inverness but across Highland.

“We need to bring about a cultural change whereby owners take greater care and pride in their property.”

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