Nose for a story;Jotter

12th November 1999 at 00:00
Still on buildings, MSPs on the education, culture and sport committee have agreed to investigate the state of the nation's schools, not least the renovations in Glasgow. A minor agenda triumph for the SNP.

Mike Russell, senior party spokesman, and once resident of the Uists, called for visits furth of the capital to assess the excellence, or otherwise, of school buildings.

A shining beacon, Russell suggested, is Lionacleit School in Benbecula. Alas, this is the very school where staff and pupils were unable to drink the tap water because of a failure to put lids on the loft tanks. Noxious gases emanating from a faulty sewerage system added to the difficulties. No great surprise that the company that built the school went bust.

Warning signs still advise "boil water before drinking". Many staff prefer it bottled.

Meanwhile the 10-year saga of the sewers rumbles on. Lionacleit shares a sewage pit with the appropriately named Dark Island Hotel - owned by a local building contractor - and there has been some odour over the alleged high level of fats discharged from the hotel.

The North of Scotland Water Authority is now on the job, so to speak, and wants to construct a new pit next to the hotel, freeing the school to become the flagship Russell knows it to be.

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