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The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

Keep up to date with the latest news and stories from across Dumfries & Galloway.

 

Bike Breakfast Returns With Business Support

Anyone cycling to work, school or college this Thursday will be in for a treat as the Bike Breakfast returns to Dumfries's Whitesands. On the 19th September, from 7am to 9am, Cycling Dumfries will be providing a free breakfast to anyone who arrives by bike at the Frothy Bike Co. carpark, next to Domino's. The event, which celebrates the contribution cyclists make to reducing congestion and easing parking problems in the town, is being supported by local businesses - as well as the loan of their carpark by the Frothy Bike Co, the food (a hot bacon roll or vegan equivalent) is being provided with the support of T.A. Francis, Tesco, Morrison's and others.

 

Cycling Dumfries Submitted pic of Sally and Ivor Hyslop

The bike breakfast has become a fixture in the local cycling calendar over the past few years, with volunteers feeding up to 100 people, including local pupils from St Michael's Primary School. Councillors, council officials and local politicians have attended to discuss commuters' concerns about conditions for cycling in the town - and have been impressed at how many people do cycle to work locally rather than take the car. As well as getting fed, cyclists can also secure their steed by getting it security marked courtesy of Sustrans, to deter thefts.

Cycling Dumfries Convenor Sally Hinchcliffe said, "People who cycle to work or education do us all a favour - not only are they not polluting but they help ease congestion and free up parking spaces for those who need them. We wanted to celebrate the 'unsung heroes' who are doing their bit to make Dumfries a nicer place to live rain or shine by offering them a tasty breakfast and also a chance to raise any issues that would make it easier for them to cycle - and others to join them. "We're delighted to have so many local businesses on board this year who have been extremely generous with their support.

Rhian Davies, the Active Travel Officer for NHS and council staff said “As well as being the answer to problems around Dumfries, such as parking, pollution and congestion cycling is convenient for the individual as a means of getting around - and a free breakfast is merely an extra perk!

McAlpine Raises The Plight of Local Egg Producers in Scottish Parliament

MSP Joan McAlpine has raised fears about the future of egg production after the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing told her the sector could be ‘wiped out’ if a no-deal Brexit leads to a mass influx of cheap, poor quality produce into the UK market.

 

Joan McAlpine MSP

The South Scotland MSP asked questions in Holyrood after being approached for help by the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC), as Dumfries and Galloway is home to some of the best quality producers including Nith Valley Eggs at Gatelawbridge, and Auchtralure Farm Eggs at Stranraer.

UK ministers propose to drop tariffs on eggs from abroad in the event of a “no deal”.  Mr Ewing told the MSP that he had raised the BEIC concerns with UK ministers just last week but they were unable to give any reassurance about fears a no deal could lead to an influx of poor quality eggs produced to lower animal welfare standards.

Joan McAlpine MSP said:

“A no-deal Brexit scenario could be disastrous for Scottish consumers and for our high-quality egg industry. Rural areas like Dumfries and Galloway have risen to the challenge of producing high quality free-range eggs in recent years, and it would be disgraceful to put these businesses at risk by allowing poor quality ‘battery’ eggs back onto the market.

“If we leave the EU without a deal, we will revert to WTO rules. Under the World Trade Organisation’s sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules, animal welfare cannot be used as a barrier to trade, so we could go backwards."

The British Egg Industry Council  fear that in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, many of the EU regulations and quality controls which ensure the welfare of egg laying hens and the quality of the eggs sold at market, could be scrapped. 

The Council, who represent the UK egg industry, say that though the EU banned conventional ‘battery’ cages in 2012, a no-deal Brexit could risk a lapse in welfare and food quality standards, and may see poor quality eggs from battery hens back on UK supermarket shelves, or used in other food products. 

Responding to Ms McAlpine’s questions in the Scottish Parliament, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing said:

“Unfortunately our assessment is that egg production is another of our successful food and drink sectors that will be negatively impacted by a no deal Brexit, and this is particularly true if, as expected, the UK Government leaves the sector without the protection of tariffs or quantitative restrictions on egg products coming into the UK. That would leave Scottish producers at an unfair disadvantage with the potential for imported products of much lower quality and welfare standards flooding the market here.

“It beggars belief that the reckless approach by the UK Government to allow complete trade liberalisation on the egg production sector could wipe this out in one fell swoop. Not only will it leave our hard working egg producers unprotected and vulnerable to cheaper imports, but could also lead to consumers unwittingly eating egg and egg products produced to a lower welfare standard than we do thanks to being members of the EU.

“These issues were raised with DEFRA Ministers on Monday, but yet again they were completely unable to give us any reassurance whatsoever to alleviate these real and practical concerns. It was completely inadequate, and utter shambolic.”

Speaking after the exchange, Joan McAlpine MSP said:

“I am incredibly worried about the impacts which a no-deal scenario could have on Scottish egg producers, and these fears have been confirmed today by the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy. I will continue to work hard to stand up for the interests of producers across Dumfries and Galloway who could be facing serious losses as a result of an extreme Tory Brexit.”

Local Labour Politicians Push for Station Re-Openings

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth and Local Councillors Adam Wilson and Sean Marshall are urging Transport Scotland to progress the application to potentially re-open Beattock, Eastriggs and Thornhill Train Stations.

The call comes as a report to a meeting of the South West of Scotland Transport Partnership (SWESTRANs) will consider the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) 2 reports which were carried out in the last financial year.

The STAG 2 Reports led to options being produced for improved transport connectivity for Beattock and Moffat, Eastriggs and Thornhill individually. A number of options are proposed but it is highlighted in the reports that re-opening the stations would improve direct public transport connectivity to the Central Belt, Dumfries and Carlisle.

Completing the STAG appraisals will conclude the pre-pipeline process which infrastructure work bids have to complete. If the Station Re-opening bids are successful they will then progress onto the pipeline which will lead to an outline business case and final business case being developed before a final decision was taken to progress with the Station re-opening.

Dumfries and Galloway Council have a commitment to campaign and work with Transport Scotland and Network Rail to see the re-opening of all three of the Stations. The Re-opening of the three Stations also features South West Scotland Transport Study (SWSTS) which is currently being carried out by Transport Scotland.

CS Kirkconnel Re-opening

 

Local Labour politicians Colin Smyth, Adam Wilson and Sean Marshall believe that Transport Scotland should progress the Station re-opening applications to the pipeline process.

Colin Smyth MSP, Chair of the Eastriggs Action Group said, “A clear case has been made by communities in Eastriggs, Thornhill, Beattock and Moffat for these Stations to be re-opened to improve the connectivity of their communities. Re-opening the Stations would provide improved access to training and employment for our young people and provide increased opportunities for connectivity within and out with the region.

Infrastructure decisions such as Station re-openings are often made on the basis of cost-benefits analysis. However, it is well known that in rural areas a cost-benefit analysis result can not compete with a result for a similar project in the Central Belt with a larger population. Transport Scotland must consider the huge opportunity that re-opening these Stations could have for local communities, to grow our local community and to respond to the climate emergency by encouraging people to use public transport.”

Councillor Adam Wilson, whose Annandale North ward covers Beattock said, “The Beattock Station Action Group have campaigned for many years to get to this point. The Group have secured land adjacent to the railway line to allow for supporting infrastructure to be put in place. I will be pushing for the SWESTRANs board to submit the STAG report to Transport Scotland and urge them to seriously consider the benefit it could bring to the community and our economy.”

Councillor Sean Marshall, whose Annandale South ward covers Eastriggs said, “I have campaigned for a Railway Station since becoming a Councillor and it is the number one priority for the people of Eastriggs.  I will be urging SWESTRANS to submit the case  to Transport Scotland as if a new station becomes a reality it will the largest single factor in opening up economic, educational and social opportunities for the people of Eastriggs and surrounding area.”

Jack Praises Oyster Festival

The third Stranraer Oyster Festival took place September 13-15th 2019, Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack has praised the organisers on 'a job well done.'

The Scottish Secretary and his wife Ann enjoyed the event, which attracted thousands of visitors to the town and wider area.

He said: "It has provided a feast of culinary expertise and highlighted some of the best of our local seafood.

"Many visitors I met were certainly impressed and indicated that they may return to see more of the area in the future.  

"I'm sure this niche event will go from strength to strength and importantly is helping keep Stranraer on the map."

 Mr Jack added: "It is an inspiration to everyone working so hard to enhance the Stranraer waterfront and the town centre."

Alister Jack with Stranraer Development Trust Chairman Romano Pettrucci: AJ MEDIA RELEASE

 

Dumfries & Galloway EXPO 19 is coming!

 

FIND OUT MORE BY CLICKING HERE

If you do business or want to do business in Dumfries & Galloway EXPO 19 is for you.

There will be over 70 B2B exhibitors on hand from the private and public sectors to answer your questions about the services and support available to your business in Dumfries and Galloway.

There is a huge range available from accountants to web designers from banks to energy specialists and tourism to marketing. Any one of them maybe the connection that makes all the difference to your business.

Our masterclasses are as follows

  • 3.30pm Stewart Tait from Studio 105 - What Social media is right for my business?
  • 4.30pm Stewart Tait from Studio 105 - What content should I be sharing? How can I use video on social media?
  • 5pm Michael Nicholson from Botann and Output Communications - Using social media to create a successful crowdfunding campaign.
  • 5.30pm Scottish Development International - Brexit - What are the risks? What actions can I take? What support is available?

The whole day is free and is designed to provide practical help so you can find the support you need to grow or start your business in Dumfries & Galloway