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Storm Damage Showcases Importance of Dangerous and Defective Buildings Legislation

9th January 2015

Highlands and Islands (Scottish Labour) MSP, David Stewart has said that the recent storms which have battered the Highlands and Islands and have caused damage to buildings and led to major travel disruption across Scotland highlights the importance of the introduction of new legislation that will give Local Authorities the necessary powers to tackle dangerous and defective buildings.

Mrs Stewarts Member's Bill, Buildings (Recovery of Expenses) (Scotland), passed in the Scottish Parliament in June 2014 and will be available for use by Local Authorities across Scotland from next month. The Bill provides Local Authorities with much needed extra powers allowing them to re-coup their costs when dealing with defective and dangerous buildings.

The Bill reintroduces charging orders which will enable Local Authorities to recover their costs in a more efficient and cost effective manner.

Mr Stewart said,"As we have seen across the Highlands and Islands and in Inverness today, there has been a lot of storm damage. There has even been dislodged and fallen masonry in Church Street, Inverness today, the busy pedestrian heart of the highland capital and city centre.

"This highlights once again the importance of giving local authorities the power to tackle dangerous and defective buildings to ensure that there is as little threat to the public from these buildings as possible."

“Dangerous and defective buildings are a real problem across Scotland, with up to 81% of dwellings in need of some kind of repair. It is, of course, the owners' responsibility to repair buildings. However, from next month councils will be able to carry out desperately needed repairs whilst shifting the financial burden back to the owners themselves."

“In the Highlands and Islands 65 Dangerous Building notices were issued in 2011-2012. These are not just unsafe to the public, they are an eyesore; they can have a detrimental effect on the surrounding area by driving down house prices on a street or making town centres seem unwelcoming. I hope to avoid the potentially dangerous situation of fallen masonry in busy pedestrian areas in futures as Councils can act without worrying about the potential financial burden falling to them.”

Continuing Mr Stewart also praised the work of SSE staff who have been working to restore power to homes across the region saying

“My thoughts are with the dedicated and hard working SSE staff across the region working relentlessly to restore power to thousands of homes. The efforts to do this quickly deserve the respect and admiration of those affected and those who have already had power returned.”