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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 18 November, 2018
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Scotland's transport minister quits over Big Freeze chaos

Stewart Stevenson quits after stinging criticism of his handling of the weather crisis, admitting he could have done better.

Image: David Cheskin/PA Archive

SCOTLAND’S TRANSPORT MINISTER Stewart Stevenson has resigned over his handling of the recent winter weather, admitting that he “could have done much more” to avoid public gridlock.

Much of the country’s road network had been closed earlier this week following the cold weather, and Stevenson had been the focus of much media criticism for his apparent lax handling of the disruptions that followed.

“Although we put in place significant efforts to tackle the event, I feel that I could have done much more to ensure that members of the public who were caught up in a difficult and frightening set of circumstances were better informed of the situation,” he wrote in his letter of resignation to Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond.

“I deeply regret that and for that reason I feel I should step down.”

Salmond, who leads Stevenson’s Scottish National Party, accepted the resignation but admitted that “frankly I think it is wrong that you should have faced this situation.

“You have worked to ensure the preparedness of our transport network for winter weather. These plans have generally proved effective, but on Monday we were faced by an unprecedented challenge.”

The Monday incident to which Salmond referred was an unprecented snowfall which had led to the closure of two motorways, one national road, and gridlock on many other routes.

The snowstorm led to massive delays which had seen many cars abandoned, and other travellers having to sleep in their cars overnight amid massive traffic backlogs.

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Gavan Reilly

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