Editorial: Why there is concern for Moray on the road and in the air

Sunday Supplement
The editor voices his views on Moray’s most topical events of the past week.

Two reports on insideMoray this week are worthy of particular attention in that they very much cover two sides of the same coin.

First up was a ‘call to arms’ by the Dyke Landward Community Council over their long-running campaign to have the speed limit through Brodie reduced to 40mph.

That call has so far fallen on deaf ears, officials at Transport Scotland and Bear, who are responsible for the A96, sticking firmly to the line that their road usage charts show no need to reduce the speed limit.

Never mind that there has been several near things as traffic speeds through the village – often at speed in excess of the current 50mph limit.

Never mind that there have indeed been accidents, including fatalities. Most of all, never mind that those residents on either side of the busy route rightly feel intimidated and yes, threatened, by vehicles charging through their community.

Then on Saturday came the news that a report by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Road Safety had exposed Moray as being in the top 10% of communities in the UK in terms of people being killed or injured on our roads.

Surely that piece of evidence alone should make Transport Scotland move away from their charts and numbers long enough to listen to real people with real concerns?

I would certainly hope so – officials are to meet members of the local community in Dyke Village Hall on April 1 – we can only hope that they no longer make fools of themselves and actually listen.

Farewell to 202 Squadron

In just over a week Moray will be saying farewell to the last guardians of what has become a proud tradition in Moray, the home to a detachment of the Royal Air Force’s 202 Squadron.

For those not aware, these are the crews who have departed on thousands of missions from RAF Lossiemouth to rescue those in peril at sea and on land. If I were to list the amazing feats of heroism here then our editorial would run into thousands of words.

We all know and appreciate the job that has been so wonderfully undertaken by the Sea King.

Is it not sad then that they appear to be departing Moray with no show of public gratitude for the wonderful job they have done?

Here at insideMoray we wished to do one last interview with the crews, take a few pictures and pay our own tribute to the fantastic service they have provided. Alas, that was not possible because, we were told, there is a General Election coming up and so the rules of ‘Purdah’ had been applied.

Purdah is imposed on any civil servant speaking in public on just about any subject in the six-week period leading up to an election – for the 2015 election it comes into force on March 30.

We accept that of course, although a request to undertake interviews for later publication after the election did not elicit even a response.

Now we learn that plans by the Squadron personnel themselves to hold a farewell party in Elgin had to be cancelled on ‘orders from above’, presumably (although I stress the reasons have not been given) for the same reasons the media is not being allowed to talk to them.

Many people in Moray will, I’m sure, wonder just what the defence mandarins at Whitehall are afraid of.

There is a petition calling on a change of heart over this issue.

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