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Rules relaxed to keep airports open

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Vital supplies of anti-freeze will have a better chance of reaching airports in Scotland thanks to the Department of Transport's decision to relax drivers' hours regulations.

The Highlands and Islands airports could miss out on supplies because of European tachograph regulations, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said.

Mr Robertson added that the regulations, which limit the hours lorry drivers can work, could prevent a delivery firm from making the delivery to the airports.

The issue was raised by Mr Robertson after bosses at A&F Grant, a haulage company in Banffshire, contacted him saying that the weather was making journeys take longer.

The firm said that taking the Arctic conditions into account, it needed a temporary exemption from the driver hours regulations to get the anti-freeze to the airports.

If the deliveries had not been made, airports in Inverness, Aberdeen, Sumburgh, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Benbecula and Kinloss could have closed, Mr Robertson said.

He added: "This temporary relaxation of the drivers' hours will help keep essential transport links at Scotland's airports moving, as well as potentially helping emergency services such as air ambulances.

"We are acting flexibly and responsibly to deal with these issues and the Scottish Government has been kept fully appraised of the changes which have been made throughout."

© Press Association 2010