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Councillor seeks clarity on Bennachie road proposal

Councillor Paul Johnston

Democratic Independent and Green Group (DIGG) councillor Paul Johnston is asking Aberdeenshire Council to clarify that councillors are opposed to the option of building a dual carriageway road on part of Bennachie.

Cllr Johnston said: “Bennachie is one the most loved hills in Britain, a source of inspiration and a place for recreation and nature. It must not be damaged by the intrusion of a major road on its lower slopes.

“I’m certain the vast majority of Aberdeenshire councillors are opposed to the idea of building a dual carriageway road across any part of Bennachie. The Council’s position statement on the proposed A96 dualling, voted through at the April Aberdeenshire full council meeting, does however ask Transport Scotland to keep all ‘viable route options’ under consideration.

“I can’t conceive of any circumstances under which it would be acceptable to build a dual carriageway on Bennachie. This is not specific to the A96. Any dual carriageway on Bennachie would be equally wrong.

Cllr Johnston added: “I’m not at all sure everyone who voted for the resolution passed in April realised they were voting in support of continuing to consider options for re-routing the A96 onto Bennachie. I believe it is essential there is a clear and unambiguous statement from the Council as soon as possible.”

Cllr Johnston has submitted a Notice of Motion for debate at the Aberdeenshire full council meeting on June 28. The Notice of Motion says: ‘This Council does not support building a dual carriageway on Bennachie.’

Aberdeenshire DIGG councillor Cllr Martin Ford said: “The traffic volumes do not justify converting the entire A96 to a dual carriageway. On that basis, I don’t support the proposed dual carriageway for the whole A96 on any of the possible routes. Of course, that includes not wanting to see a dual carriageway built on Bennachie. Councillors who do want to see a dual carriageway built have expressed support for alternative routes. Cllr Johnston’s motion may be the one thing we can all agree on.”

Story from Aberdeen Press and Journal 15th June 2018

Democratic Independent and Green Group (DIGG) councillor Paul Johnston is asking Aberdeenshire Council to clarify that councillors are opposed to the option of building a dual carriageway road on part of Bennachie.

Cllr Johnston said: “Bennachie is one the most loved hills in Britain, a source of inspiration and a place for recreation and nature. It must not be damaged by the intrusion of a major road on its lower slopes.

“I’m certain the vast majority of Aberdeenshire councillors are opposed to the idea of building a dual carriageway road across any part of Bennachie. The Council’s position statement on the proposed A96 dualling, voted through at the April Aberdeenshire full council meeting, does however ask Transport Scotland to keep all ‘viable route options’ under consideration.

“I can’t conceive of any circumstances under which it would be acceptable to build a dual carriageway on Bennachie. This is not specific to the A96. Any dual carriageway on Bennachie would be equally wrong.

Cllr Johnston added: “I’m not at all sure everyone who voted for the resolution passed in April realised they were voting in support of continuing to consider options for re-routing the A96 onto Bennachie. I believe it is essential there is a clear and unambiguous statement from the Council as soon as possible.”

Cllr Johnston has submitted a Notice of Motion for debate at the Aberdeenshire full council meeting on June 28. The Notice of Motion says: ‘This Council does not support building a dual carriageway on Bennachie.’

Aberdeenshire DIGG councillor Cllr Martin Ford said: “The traffic volumes do not justify converting the entire A96 to a dual carriageway. On that basis, I don’t support the proposed dual carriageway for the whole A96 on any of the possible routes. Of course, that includes not wanting to see a dual carriageway built on Bennachie. Councillors who do want to see a dual carriageway built have expressed support for alternative routes. Cllr Johnston’s motion may be the one thing we can all agree on.”

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CLLR REGRETS REMOVAL OF SAFETY CAMERAS

Average speed cameras that clocked 1,300 drivers removed from A90

by Lee McCann

The average speed cameras
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Cameras that caught more than 1,300 drivers speeding in nearly two years have been removed.

The temporary average speed cameras on the A90 between Balmedie and Blackdog have been decommissioned this week as works continue on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route. The cameras at Blackdog went live in July 2016 with a 50mph limit put in place.

Since they were installed, 1,343 offences were recorded.

The largest number of offences took place during July and September 2016, when 308 offences were noted, while the lowest level was from October to December 2017 when only 47 drivers were caught. Up until March this year there have been 304 reports to the Procurator Fiscal and 807 fixed penalty notices handed to drivers bet-ween Blackdog and Balmedie.

The removal comes after temporary average speed cameras on the A90 between Stonehaven and Charleston were taken down at the beginning of May. A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “The temporary average speed cameras on the A90 between Blackdog and Balmedie were decommissioned at the end of last week, as works to complete this section of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie-Tipperty project progress.

“The permanent average speed camera system on the A90 between Dundee and Stonehaven will remain.”

Mid Formartine councillor Paul Johnston said he would have liked to see the cameras become permanent.

He said: “My view is that, especially since people won’t know the new road as well, there is always going to be an issue with speeding.

“I think average speed cameras help reduce accidents, change driver behaviour and really do help safety on the road.

“In that area and especially at Balmedie we still have issues with pedestrians trying to cross that busy route.

“While I have welcomed the average speed cameras when they were introduced temporarily at the time, I would have liked to see them stay as I think they would go a long way in helping road safety in the area.”


HAVE A HAPPY EASTER – BUT IF THERE’S AN EMERGENCY…..

I hope your Easter weekend is going well.  But if an emergency were to happen and you need the help of the Council, there are details on the Council’s website about who to contact. I have reproduced it below for ease but you can find it at:

http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/contact-us/emergency-contacts/

Who to phone in an emergency

Find out who to contact in urgent situations:

If the emergency or crisis is life threatening, phone 999. If you are worried about someone who is ill, call NHS 24 on 111.

Out of hours emergency service

Our out of hours emergency service is available 5pm to 9am weekdays and all weekend. For non-emergency situations, view office telephone numbers.

Service Number
Housing repairs 03456 08 12 03
Homelessness 03456 08 12 03
Social work 03456 08 12 06
Environmental Health 03456 08 12 07

Urgent social care or someone at risk of harm

If someone needs urgent social care or you think an adult needs protection you get in touch with your local Social Work office.

If you are worried about a child and want to report a child protection concern contact local Children and Families team.

Concerned about flooding

To find out about flood warnings, phone Floodline on 0345 988 11 88.

In an emergency where there is a threat to public safety, call emergency service 999 and ask for Fire or Coastguard.

For help with flood defences eg sandbags phone 03456 081205 (8am – 6pm) or Police Scotland on 101 (6pm – 8am). View Aberdeen City Council flooding emergency information.

Emergency planning

Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils also manage the emergency planning function. Officers in the two authorities will bring an emergency plan into operation should there be a major flooding incident.

This plan will coordinate emergency and support services to those affected, including the setting up of reception centres. The Housing services of both authorities have a duty to provide emergency accommodation in the aftermath of such emergencies.


SEVERE WEATHER UP TO 15 DECEMBER 2017

Thick snow or heavy rain causing floods are severe weather conditions which we understand. Today we have had rain onto frozen roads with compacted ice. While the skies do not look full of snow or rain…its still severe e weather with regard to travel. 

Salting and gritting generally does not work at low ground temperatures and progressively has less effect down to  minus 5. Lots of vehicles going on it will warm the surface and start a thaw but down at minus 4 or 5 then no amount of salt really has much effect. And even when temperatures rise, its slow to take effect.

So until surface temperatures (rather than air temperature) rise to create a thaw, please be careful out there. 

In these conditions the Council is clearly not able to cope. Councillors are told that all the council’s available resources are being deployed.  

If things could be diffetent then this is one for councillors to take up later but in the meantime please be careful. 

Avoid unnecessary journeys. Go slowly. Help the stranded and elderly if you can. 

Councillor Paul Johnston


OLDMELDRUM PRIMARY SCHOOL

Sad to report that there has been a fire at Oldmeldrum Primary School. Reports from The Fire and Rescue Service suggest that there are no suspicious circumstances but a full investigation would be needed to determine the cause of the blaze.

As a local councillor who represents Meldrum, Paul Johnston said:

“All fires such as this are a blow to Aberdeenshire’s Education Service. That extra cost and disruption is significant. 

” Huge thanks should go to the fire service for containing the blaze quickly despite the weather conditions and the early morning timing. Their efforts appear to have saved significant further damage containing it to one wing of the building.”

“Despite the apparent damage Aberdeenshire has a good reputation in coping with recovery of fires and damage to schools. As a councillor I will be looking to the Education service to ensure as little disruption as possible to children’s education.”

” I will try to ensure that Aberdeenshire Council keep parents and local people informed of progress towards recovery. The council will issue regular information to parents via school mailings and the council’s website but you can also follow Aberdeenshire Council on Facebook or Twitter for updates”


DEMOCRATIC INDEPENDENT AND GREEN COUNCILLORS SECURES ENVIRONMENT COMMITMENTS FROM COUNCIL

Aberdeenshire Council’s new five-year plan has caring for the environment and cutting carbon emissions as one of its priorities, thanks to the Democratic Independent and Green Group of councillors (DIGG).

The Council’s new plan was agreed at the full council meeting last Thursday (23 November). (Note 1)

The plan has been produced following the council elections last May and public consultation. It sets out Aberdeenshire Council’s priorities for the five years until the next council elections in 2022.

At last Thursday’s Aberdeenshire full council meeting, DIGG councillors Martin Ford and Paul Johnston made it clear they were fully supportive of the ten priorities it was proposed to include in the plan. However, Cllr Ford moved an amendment to add an eleventh priority to ‘Protect our special environment, including tackling climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions’.

Cllr Paul Johnston said: “The DIGG is pleased the Council was able to agree its new plan with all-party support and that the importance of protecting the environment and tackling climate change are included along with ten other important priorities.”

Cllr Martin Ford said: “The DIGG is happy to support the ten priorities proposed for inclusion in the new plan. We don’t wish to delete or replace any of them. However, we cannot support a plan where none of the priorities even mentions the environment.

“Aberdeenshire Council has many statutory responsibilities that relate to environmental matters. Beyond those, virtually everything the Council does will have some impact on the environment.

“The Council has a duty to take into account the scientific evidence regarding the damaging impact of human activity on the global environment, and to show leadership.

“In the Scottish Parliament, bold climate change targets were agreed with cross-party support. Aberdeenshire Council should not be out of step. Protecting the environment must be one of our priorities and we should say so.”

A number of opposition councillors voiced support for the extra Council priority proposed by the DIGG and, after a short recess, the leader of the Council announced that the administration had decided to accept the DIGG amendment. Thereafter, the new Council plan, with eleven priorities, was agreed unanimously by the full Aberdeenshire Council. (Note 2)

1. The debate can be viewed here at Item 10: https://aberdeenshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/320136

2. See: https://online.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/apps/news/release.aspx?newsid=4857


FAIRTRADE SALE STARTS WEDNESDAY 8TH NOV 2017

This annual event is close to my heart. Its a great chance to see what an ethical shop can look like. Its a delight. Fun AND Fair.


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