Heavy snow and gales hit Scotland in wake of Storm Ciara

Warning of 'significant disruption' to transport while 'frequent lighting strikes' may interrupt power supplies.

Weather warnings across Scotland.
Weather warnings across Scotland.

Scotland is being battered by heavy snow and strong winds in the wake of Storm Ciara which swept across the country over the weekend.

Authorities warned there may be “significant disruption” to transport on Monday while “frequent lighting strikes” may interrupt power supplies.

The Met Office issued yellow warnings of snow and wind across most of Scotland on Monday and Tuesday with gusts of up to 60mph possible.

Forecasters said strong winds could lead to blizzard conditions while there may be up to 20cm of snow by Tuesday evening over the highest routes.

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Cross-border train services were hit due to severe flooding on the west coast mainline near Carlisle, with replacement buses in place between Carlisle and Glasgow.


The wintry weather also affected other train routes in Scotland in the morning, including the West Highland Line and Airdrie to Balloch, while buses replaced trains between Dumfries and Carlisle.


Heavy snow showers caused problems on some roads, with traffic restricted to one lane on the M90 at Kelty in Fife and blizzard conditions reported on the M74 at Beattock.


Further north on the M74, five people were injured in a crash involving three cars and a lorry.

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The motorway was closed northbound between Junction 6 and Junction 9 after the accident between the Larkhall and Hamilton turnoffs shortly after 9am. It was later reopened.


Elsewhere, more than a dozen ferry services were cancelled due to the high winds with others delayed or rescheduled.

It comes after Storm Ciara battered the country with high winds and heavy rain over the weekend, which led to flooding, damage to buildings and transport disruption.

The Met Office warning states: “Frequent and heavy snow showers will affect the region throughout Monday and Tuesday.

“Snow showers will occur especially over high ground, giving slight accumulations of one to three cm above 150 metres and five to 10cm above 300 metres.

“Snow will gradually build up and in a few locations, accumulations of over 20cm are possible by Tuesday evening over the highest routes in Scotland.

“The height of the snow level will vary throughout the period, but it is likely that any snow accumulations at low levels will only be temporary.

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“Strong winds, gusting 50-60 mph, will lead to blizzard conditions at times and considerable drifting of lying snow over high ground.”

Transport secretary Michael Matheson said there was the potential for “significant disruption” to travel.

He said: “It’s important that people check the latest information before they set off, drive to the conditions and follow Police Scotland travel advice.

“The Traffic Scotland service gives details of ‘wind-based’ closures for the bridges on trunk road network, allowing people to plan ahead accordingly.

“Motorists should check Traffic Scotland before they set off to make sure that their route is available.”

Over the weekend Storm Ciara caused disruption across Scotland with high winds and heavy rain.

In Hawick in the Borders a guest house and bistro collapsed into the River Teviot on Sunday, though no-one was injured.

Footage posted on social media showed a wall of the Bridge House Guest House and Sonia’s Bistro building collapsing into the fast-flowing River Teviot.

Heavy rain resulted in flooding in the Whitesands area of Dumfries, after the River Nith burst its banks.

On Saturday three people were injured after part of a pub roof collapsed in Perth.

Emergency services were called to the scene at The Venue in St John Street, Perth at around 7.25pm on Saturday.

Police said no-one was seriously injured.

Police can now issue warnings for the possession of Class A drugs

Lord Advocate says a recorded police warning for possession offences is 'appropriate' for all classes of drugs.

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People found in possession of Class A drugs for personal use can now be issued with a recorded police warning instead of facing automatic prosecution, following a review of guidance by the Lord Advocate.

Dorothy Bain QC, who was appointed Scotland’s most senior law officer in June, told MSPs on Wednesday that she had decided to implement an extension of recorded police warning guidelines following a review of the guidance.

She said the move does not amount to decriminalisation for the possession of Class A drugs, which include crack cocaine, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), heroin, LSD, magic mushrooms, methadone and methamphetamine (crystal meth).

The recorded police warning scheme enables officers to deal with a wide range of low level offences by issuing a warnung on the spot or retrospectively, in the form of a notice.

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The guidelines previously permitted the police to issue such warnings for possession of Class B and C drugs.

Bain said: “I have considered the review and I have decided that an extension of the recorded police warning guidelines to include possession offences for Class A drugs is appropriate.

“Police officers may therefore choose to issue a recorded police warning for simple possession offences for all classes of drugs.”

Bain said the scheme extends to drug possession offences only, and not supply. She also said the warnings do not amount to the decriminalisation of an offence.

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Officers will retain the ability to report appropriate cases to the procurator fiscal. Accused persons retain the right to reject the offer of a warning.

The announcement comes after drug deaths hit a record high in Scotland during the coronavirus pandemic.

Figures published by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) in July revealed 1339 drug-related deaths in 2020 – a 5% increase on the previous year’s statistics and the largest number since records began in 1996.

It also meant it was the seventh year in a row that drug-related deaths had hit hit record levels.

Scotland continues to have the worst drug death rate in Europe, with 21.2 deaths per 1000 of the population, more than three-and-a-half times higher than the rest of the UK.

Bain said that a warning or fine may be an “appropriate, proportionate response” for some people caught in supply of Class A drugs.

She said approximately two thirds of people reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, where the only offence reported is possession of drugs, are dealt with by alternatives to prosecution – mainly by being offered a financial penalty.

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She said: “Any alternative to prosecution: warnings, fines or diversion, are offers only. An accused person always has the right to reject such an offer and there will be cases where prosecution is the appropriate response in the public interest.

“Where an accused person is subsequently found guilty the courts, in turn, have a range of sentencing disposals appropriate to the individual accused and offence.

“The range of options available to police, prosecutors and courts reflects the fact that in Scotland there is no one size fits all response to an individual found in possession of a controlled substance or an individual dependent on drugs.”

‘Hospital murdered my child’, mum tells inquiry

Kimberly Darroch’s daughter died at a children’s cancer ward after contracting stenotrophomonas.

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Queen Elizabeth University Hospital: Kimberly Darroch’s daughter died after contracting stenotrophomonas.

A mother whose daughter died at a children’s cancer ward after contracting an infection has described her child’s death as “murder”.

Kimberly Darroch told the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry she wants the children and adult hospitals at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus in Glasgow to close.

She believes the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board should be punished after she claims staff covered up the true cause of her daughter’s death, which she found out about two years later in the media.

The inquiry began hearing evidence on Monday into problems at two flagship hospitals that contributed to the deaths of two children.

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It is investigating the construction of the QEUH campus in Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Edinburgh.

In a statement read out at the inquiry on Wednesday, Ms Darroch said she was never given details of an infection that her daughter contracted when she died, which she later discovered contributed towards her death.

Ms Darroch also claimed hospital reports about her meeting with doctors to discuss the infection were false.

Her statement said: “My view is that the hospital should be closed. I don’t think it’s safe.

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“I feel like the health board need to be punished for all of this. In my eyes, what happened to my daughter is murder.

“She should still be here and I am trying to come to terms with that, after coming to terms with losing her initially.

“I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to. I would never go back to the hospital, never.”

Ms Darroch’s daughter was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2012.

She died in 2017 after contracting stenotrophomonas – an infection found in water, the inquiry heard.

Ms Darroch and her family claim they were unaware of this infection which contributed to her daughter’s death until after she died.

Christine Horne, Ms Darroch’s mother, also had her statement read out at the inquiry on Wednesday.

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She said: “We were never told what it was and there was never any indication that it was related to the water in the hospital.

“Nobody said anything about what had caused the infection.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the inquiry heard from Lynn Kearns who criticised a children’s hospital ward at the QEUH campus for having no running water while her young son received treatment for a rare disease in the building’s “prison-like” conditions.

She said her son was unable to shower for about two weeks while being treated in the hospital despite vomiting on his own face during treatment.

Mrs Kearns’ son was 11 when he was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening blood disorder in December 2017.

He was treated in the Royal Hospital for Children at the QEUH campus between December 2017 and March 2018.

Mrs Kearns said she understood the water supply was cut off due to a certain type of bacteria being found in the system.

She said water supply issues at the hospital ward remain a problem today.

After taking her son into the same hospital on Monday, she said she spoke to two maintenance workers who are still changing filters on the sink taps every two months, the inquiry heard.

The inquiry in Edinburgh, chaired by Lord Brodie, will continue on Thursday.

Nightclub bosses launch legal challenge over vaccine passports

The NTIA has hit out over a lack of consultation over the scheme.

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The vaccine certification scheme will come into effect from 5am on Friday, October 1.

An industry body representing bar and nightclub bosses has launched a legal challenge over the Scottish Government’s Covid passport scheme.

The NTIA (Night Time Industries Association) said it was ‘disappointed’ that the scheme will go ahead.

It means that proof of a Covid-19 vaccination will be required when seeking to enter a nightclub or adult entertainment venue, or to attend large-scale events.

The vaccine certification scheme will come into effect from 5am on Friday, October 1.

The scheme was approved by MSPs in a vote at Holyrood earlier this month.
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But, the NTIA, has hit out at a lack of consultation with the Scottish Government over the scheme, which was approved by MSPs at Holyrood earlier this month.

In a statement, the industry body said: “The NTIA is disappointed to note that the First minister has now confirmed that vaccine passports are proceeding.

“The NTIA have, along with the other sectoral trade bodies, been engaged in dialogue with government over the last three weeks, and whilst unfortunately that dialogue has not in any way resembled a meaningful consultation between government and the sector, we remain ready to work with Scottish Government should they choose to take on board the sector’s concerns and work collaboratively to find a better and more deliverable solution.  

“This vaccine passport scheme as currently proposed raises serious issues with definition, market distortion, discrimination, resource allocation and economic impact amongst others, and had Scottish Government been prepared to work with sectoral experts in the earliest stages of policy formulation some of these deep rooted problems may have been avoidable.”

Concerns have been raised previously over the scheme.
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The NTIA announced it has instructed its legal team to commence proceedings against the government.

They said: “It is also clear to us that the policy as currently proposed is neither proportionate, nor represents the lowest level of intervention possible to achieve the public health imperative, and it is therefore likely to be unlawful. 

“Regrettably then, and given the serious flaws in the policy as proposed, we have now instructed our legal team to commence proceedings against the Scottish Government with a legal challenge to vaccination passports.”

The body however said that it remains “willing” to work with the Scottish Government on a policy.

They wrote: “We had hoped that the recent evidence of rapidly falling cases might provide government with the incentive to look again and take the sector’s concerns into account.

“And to engage in meaningful consultation where government and businesses could work together and design solutions that both address our shared goal of reducing the harms from Covid and are also deliverable. 

“Unfortunately, this has not happened, however we remain willing to work with Scottish Government on any policy which both achieves our shared goals and also allows businesses to remain economically viable.”

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Speaking on a visit to a new research and development centre near Prestwick Airport, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the scheme is a “proportionate measure” to help stem transmission of the virus.

She said: “Everything we’re trying to do right now is about keeping the virus under control, so stemming transmission while keeping society and the economy open and operational.

“Nobody wants to go back to lockdown restrictions if we can possibly avoid it.

“That’s why we’re introducing a Covid certification scheme, not something anybody wants to do, but a proportionate measure that will help stem transmission while keeping businesses like nightclubs and big events operational.”

“Scottish businesses can no longer afford to take the SNP’s punishing policies lying down.”

Murdo Fraser, Scottish Conservative MSP

Scottish Conservative Covid recovery spokesman, Murdo Fraser urged the SNP to drop its plans for the scheme.

“The Night Time Industries Association’s legal challenge to vaccine passports is a justified response to what is an extreme, damaging and profoundly unfair scheme,” he said.

“The NTIA has had no choice but to take the SNP Government to court, after their concerns have been repeatedly and deliberately ignored by the Government. 

“The hospitality industry has been warning of the devastating effects of the SNP’s plans for weeks. They have done everything in their power to have their concerns heard and yet the SNP has failed to engage in any kind of meaningful consultation with Scottish businesses.”

Fraser continued: “Scottish businesses can no longer afford to take the SNP’s punishing policies lying down.  

“This legal action is testament to the fact that many businesses will be disproportionately and unjustifiably harmed by the SNP’s current schemes. 

“I urge the SNP Government to drop these plans now, before Scotland’s economic recovery is damaged even further.” 

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton also urged the Government to “cut their losses” and ditch the “wasteful scheme”.

He said: “Rather than recognise that Covid ID cards are not an effective or proportionate solution, the Scottish Government have expanded the scope of the policy sucking in a host of venues who did not expect to be included.

“No wonder the night time industry is in uproar. They’re being treated as disposable by the Government.

“It’s a shame that the willingness of the industry to work on jointly acceptable solutions is not matched by SNP ministers. Hopefully this legal action will turn out to be last orders for this illiberal Covid ID card scheme.”

The Lib Dem MSP added: “The Scottish Government should cut their losses and plough the resources that are going into this wasteful scheme into fixing our testing and tracing operation and ringing all of those who have yet to have two doses of the vaccine to encourage them to book an appointment.”

Scottish Labour’s finance and economy spokesperson Daniel Johnson said: “This plunges the SNP’s misguided vaccine passport scheme into yet more chaos. 

“SNP ministers have provided no impact assessment, no details on what business will need to do or even how the criteria will apply with only days before these measures will be brought in.

“It is no wonder trade bodies feel forced to challenge the government in the courts.


Police name two of the men killed in M8 crash which injured five

David Paton and Mark Downie were pronounced dead at the scene along with another unnamed man in Renfrewshire.

Police Scotland
David Paton died in fatal road crash on the M8.

Police have named two of the three men who died when their car left the M8 motorway and crashed early on Sunday morning.

David Paton, 27, and Mark Downie, 31, were pronounced dead at the scene following the crash, which involved a blue Audi Q7 leaving the road on the M8 westbound near to junction 31 in Renfrewshire.

Another man aged 27 also died in the crash.

Five others were taken to hospital for treatment of serious but non-life threatening injuries.

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A 35-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident.


Rapist attacked pregnant partner during 18-year campaign of abuse

The domestic abuser subjected two women to repeated violent and sexual attacks from 2002 until 2020.

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Court: Rapist and domestic abuser facing a decade behind bars.

A rapist who subjected two women to repeated violent and sexual attacks during an 18-year campaign of domestic abuse has been jailed for ten years.

William Jackson attacked one partner while she was pregnant and sexually and physically abused another between 2002 and 2020.

He also offered money on social media to “anyone who would assault” one of his ex-girlfriends.

The 37-year-old, from Glasgow, was convicted of raping both of the women and eight other charges following a trial last month.

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He was also found guilty of inciting violence against one of the victims.

The former concierge returned to the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday to be sentenced for the crimes, which all occurred at a number of addresses in the east end of the city.

Judge Tom Hughes praised the victims for bravely testifying against Jackson, who had denied the accusations.

He said: “It is quite clear you have caused them considerable problems in their life.

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“It must come as comfort that the jury believed them and preferred their evidence.”

Jackson has also been put on the Sex Offenders’ Register and will also be supervised for a further three years on his release.

Non-harassment orders banning him from contacting the women were further imposed.


Covid: 3598 new cases and 31 deaths recorded overnight

The latest figures also revealed that 82 people are currently in intensive care.

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Coronavirus: 31 new deaths in Scotland.

Scotland has recorded 3598 new cases of Covid-19 and 31 deaths linked to the virus in the last 24 hours.

According to the latest figures released on Wednesday 49,597 tests had recorded results with 7.8% of those coming back positive.

It was also revealed that 1076 people are currently in hospital after recently testing positive for coronavirus and 82 of those are in intensive care.

The death toll under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 8427.

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Over 10,000 deaths have been registered in Scotland with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate since the start of the pandemic.

So far, 4,163,235 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 3,815,907 have received their second dose.


Anti-vaccination protesters cause M8 tailbacks near jab centre

The demonstration targeted the motorway near the Pyramids Business Park by Bathgate in West Lothian on Wednesday morning.

Traffic Scotland via Twitter / © Google Maps 2020
There is a mass immunisation centre at the Pyramids Business Park.

A group of demonstrators protesting against the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 and up have caused huge tailbacks on the M8.

The anti-vaccination protest targeted the motorway near the Pyramids Business Park, by Bathgate in West Lothian, on Wednesday morning.

Police officers attended and “engaged” with those involved shortly after being alerted at around 7.50am.

Police Scotland said the demonstrators dispersed not long after 9am.

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Traffic Scotland said there was slow traffic on the M8 eastbound between Junction 5 and Junction 3A due to the demonstration.

From Monday, those aged 12-years-old and older who qualify for the coronavirus vaccine were able to attend a mass immunisation centre at the Pyramids Business Park.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We were made aware of a demonstration by the M8 near the Pyramids Business Park by Bathgate around 7.50am on Wednesday, 22 September 22.

“Officers attended and engaged with the group who dispersed shortly after 9pm.”


Man charged with fatal hit-and-run ‘while being chased by police’

Shaun Rimmer, 28, has been charged with a string of road traffic offences, including causing death by dangerous driving.

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Shaun Rimmer, 28, appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

A man has appeared in court charged with causing death by dangerous driving after a car allegedly being pursued by police struck a pedestrian who later died.

The crash on Monday August 16 saw the vehicle, first spotted in the Northfield area of Aberdeen, involved in a collision with the pedestrian on the city’s Great Northern Road.

The pedestrian, a 48-year-old man, was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with serious injuries but died in hospital on September 11.

Shaun Rimmer, 28, appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Tuesday charged with a string of road traffic offences, including causing death by dangerous driving.

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He is also charged with driving a stolen vehicle, driving while banned and without insurance and failing to stop at the request of police.

Rimmer, whose address was given to the court as being of no fixed abode, made no plea and was remanded in custody pending a further court appearance.

Police Scotland said the matter has been referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner with respect to any prior police involvement.


Glasgow council bosses hope to build 160 miles of cycle lanes in city

The cycle routes are part of a huge mission to tackle the climate crisis and promote active travel.

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Glasgow: The cycle routes are part of a huge mission to tackle the climate crisis.

Glasgow council bosses hope to build 270 kilometres of cycle lanes across the city, it has been revealed. 

The 160 miles of cycle routes are part of a huge mission to tackle the climate crisis and promote active travel. They would measure roughly the distance from Glasgow to Inverness. 

Details of the plans are included in the new draft active travel strategy, which is due to be released by Glasgow City Council for consultation soon.

SNP councillor Anna Richardson said: “The new draft active travel strategy will begin its democratic scrutiny and public consultation within the next month. It will include a proposed city network.

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“This network will require approximately 270 kilometres of safe cycle lanes to be implemented city-wide if we are to achieve the coherent network required to create significant modal shift onto cycling by 2030.”

The city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction discussed the new network of paths at the City Administration Committee last week. 

The proposals emerged as councillors decided to retain 17 pop-up cycle lanes and other street schemes erected as part of the Spaces for People scheme during the pandemic. 

Councillor Richardson said making the cycle routes permanent would contribute to the rollout of paths around the city.

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Speaking at the meeting, the Langside politician said: “The Spaces for People lanes offer the potential to make permanent the first 30 to 40 kilometres in that huge task.”

She told the committee “every one of our constituents will be affected by air pollution and climate change”.

Councillor Richardson added: “As we hopefully move out of the Covid crisis we must take the necessary steps to address the climate crisis and decarbonising transport must be an absolute priority.” 

In 2019, Glasgow City Council set a target of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030.

The council’s plans to reach the goal include using electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles and introducing a low emission zone. 

By local democracy reporter Sarah Hilley

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