SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has issued a fresh call for urgent action to improve the condition of Baleshare causeway.
On Saturday, the islands’ MSP visited the site with members of the local campaign group, who showed him the further deterioration in the causeway’s condition since his last visit.
The causeway, which connects the island of Baleshare to North Uist, was built in 1962 (though works were apparently not fully completed, with a culvert never being installed, for example). Upgrades since the original construction have been very limited – many of the rocks added in 2000 to one side of the causeway have slipped leaving large parts of the causeway exposed, and it is believed there were no repairs carried out after the causeway was badly damaged in 2005’s infamous storm.
Commenting, Allan said:
“The condition of this causeway has now reached a critical point – it is clear that maintenance should have taken place far more regularly and the causeway brought up to modern standards long before now. Local residents can frequently be completely cut off during bad weather, and this has an impact on the wider Uist community as well, with NHS, home care and education employees unable to get to work.
“Responsibility for maintaining and upgrading local infrastructure like roads and causeways lies with the council. However, I recognise that the current financial climate is extremely challenging for the comhairle, and every funding avenue must be explored.
“In the meantime, I have requested that the comhairle install a camera onsite to capture the extent of the danger adverse weather poses to anyone trying to cross the causeway, as well as providing copies of any reports which have been carried out to examine the condition of the causeway.”