East Kilbride News Column May 2018

The recent story in the East Kilbride News about the family from Kittochside who were robbed by a gang of machete-wielding thugs shocked us all.  East Kilbride, like all other towns, has its share of crime, but this incident was on a different scale.  Breaking into someone's home at 4 am and subjecting them to a vicious and violent ordeal is disgusting.  The full force of the law must be brought to bear on criminals who think it is acceptable to plan and carry out acts like the one perpetrated at Kittochside.

We must send out a strong message that this sort of behaviour has no place in our society.  I would urge anyone with any information to pass it on to Police Scotland as soon as possible.

Another talking point that many of you have brought to my attention recently is the condition of the roads in and around the town.  Whilst the 'Beast from the East' has finally gone back east, it left a nasty bite mark on its way through East Kilbride.  The atrocious conditions led to an increase in the volume of grit and salt used to keep the road network open.

The downside of having to use so much grit over the last few months, combined with the frost and thawing of the snow, is the poor state that many of our trunk roads have been left in.  A report in a national newspaper claimed that drivers complained about potholes on Scottish roads at a rate of one every three minutes during the winter.  The paper obtained the facts under Freedom of Information laws, which revealed the extent of this epidemic across Scotland stands at around 53,000 - or just over 400 per day being flagged up. This is a substantial number and doesn’t even include the damage inflicted from the 'Beast from the East'.

Whilst local councils maintain local roads, they are not responsible for trunk roads – that’s dual carriageways and motorways - and this is something my inbox is full of from frustrated constituents who have to play dodge-the-pothole on a daily basis.  Some of these potholes are dangerous and social media is awash with photographs of people poking fun at the depth of these craters. 

Try as they might, those charged with maintaining our trunk roads appear to be making little headway in repairing them, as the newspaper report revealed. No sooner has one crumbling surface been repaired than another pops up.  The M74 road surface around the Raith interchange and Hamilton area is one example. Stretches of this road have some appalling potholes with some parts of the road surface showing real signs of crumbling just a short time after being re-laid.  Another woeful trunk road is the A723 that runs from Centre 1 to the M77. It is a disgrace; drivers are zig-zagging to avoid the worst of the crumbling surface each day.

On the back of this, I have a created a survey on the state of the trunk road network across Lanarkshire. Once this survey has run its course, I will pass on the results to appropriate authorities.

You can access the survey HERE if you wish to take part.