Saturday, January 18, 2020
The skye times mobile

Following two decades of discussions with Scottish Water, a north-west community on Skye will finally get a new water pipe after Skye MSP Kate Forbes intervened. 

The current water main, which supplies roughly 60 households, is an old concrete asbestos pipe, was installed in the 1960s, and is now well past its sell by date.

As a result, in the past year there have been several bursts, clearly indicating that it was time for Scottish Water to upgrade the pipe. This included at least seven bursts over a six month period within metres of a croft.

Kate Forbes MSP took up the case for Dunvegan crofter Alasdair MacLean, who first raised the issue 20 years ago whilst he was the Township Clerk of Roag Township.

Earlier this month, Scottish Water confirmed to Kate Forbes they planned to replace the pipe as a new project, after initially arguing that there wasn't sufficient need as it was not a priority.

Mr Maclean said: "I would like to thank Kate Forbes MSP and Dunvegan Community Council for all of their hard work to resolve this longstanding problem.

"20 years has been a long time and I am sure the people of Orbost are very grateful that Scottish Water are finally going to replace the water pipe."

Maressa Munro, chair of Dunvegan Community Council, added: "Dunvegan Community Council are very grateful for Kate's help in resolving this ongoing problem.

"The new water pipe will replace the old failing asbestos pipe which is no longer fit for purpose, which in the past few years has been bursting on a regular basis.

"The community council are delighted to hear that Scottish Water now intend to replace the old pipe, giving the residents of Roag a consistent safe supply of water."

Kate said: "I found it remarkable how long this saga had been running, despite the protests and requests of local residents.

"At the end of the day, the pipe was well past its sell-by date and I believed that Scottish Water had an obligation to replace the pipe and end the series of frequent bursts.

"This isn't just about a pipe, it is actually about the importance of public bodies listening to local communities and serving them well.

"Orbost have been waiting for years to get the pipe replaced and its brilliant news that they won't have to wait much longer."

Scottish Water are currently progressing design work, and will soon issue the formal notices for the work. It is hoped that the work could begin as soon as spring.

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