Councillor Paul Johnston, who has campaigned for Fairtrade in Aberdeenshire said:

“I have written to Gordon MP, Colin Clark to ask him, as the local MP and as a farmer to support the all party Early Day motion 142 in the House of Commons on Sainsbury’s move to break with Fairtrade and create their own system of ‘fairly traded’ labelled tea.

The text of the letter is below.

I have signed a national petition and urge others to do likewise. HERE 

This move by Sainsbury’s sets a very undesirable precedent that will damage the ability of Farmers in developing countries to trade fairly with large corporate supermarket groups as other will follow suit.  Like Sainsbury they will wish to “secure their supply chain” but in reality it will weaken the ability of Farmers to trade and take away their say on how part of the profits are used in supporting their developement.”

The Letter sent to Colin Clark MP

Dear Colin,

Hope this finds you well.  Good to see you doing the rounds at Meldrum Sports and no doubt I will bump into you at one or other of the forthcoming north east events.

I had to write to you though, to ask for your support for an early day motion.

Early day motion 142

While it is in the name of Caroline Lucas, I hope that you note that Peter Bottomley MP is a sponsor.  This is truly a cross party EDM.  I am sure that you will have got the hang of the system and that your support for an EDM is often considered a back bench prerogative for issues that you personally, or those of your constituents find important.

In this case, the EDM is important to many people around Aberdeenshire who support Fairtrade.

Sainsbury’s are using their muscle on small local farmers.  Essentially imagine if a major supermarket dictated to members of ANM group, or any farmers co-operative group, what the profits should be spent on in terms of benefiting members.  Now imagine what it would be like for farmers in developing countries with little access to the same support systems that we have here.

As a farmer I hope you will empathise with those farmers who have banded together to work within Fairtrade certification. Its not uncommon for such groups in Scotland for quality certifications as you well know. But these farmers are not being given the choice and they have little power other than to be told by Sainsbury’s their hard work to get that Fairtrade certification is to be diluted by contracting to Sainsbury’s own system.

It’s not so much about how good, bad or indifferent Sainsbury’s certification system is (Its not that good actually), but more about how it breaks up farmers’ own system of Fairtrade certification and as another proposal from a major supermarket (TESCO) suggests, it will set an incredibly undesirable precedent for farmers.

I hope you can support the Early Day Motion and by doing so show support as well for all of those groups in Aberdeenshire who have worked for Fairtrade status in towns and villages such as Inverurie, Ellon, and my own area of Mid Formartine. The Scottish Fairtrade forum have produced a briefing which might help.  This is the link to their site. HERE

The best way for a big supermarket to protect its supply chain is to give fair prices to farmers.  That’s the case here and so it should also be the case in developing countries, especially where the farmers have worked hard for their Fairtrade certification.

Hope you can support this.


Cllr Paul Johnston

01651-851198 Tel Office

0208-020-4503 Fax

07799-582879 Mobile


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Aberdeenshire Councillor Paul Johnston is amongst thousands of campaigners for Fairtrade across the UK who are signing the petition on CHANGE.ORG to tell Sainsbury’s not to ditch the Fairtrade certification for its own label tea.

” it is only a small step from what seemed sprees described as securing its supply chain, to using the muscle of that supply chain to make more profit. That’s not good news for tea farmers as its removes the protection of the world’s largest certification scheme protecting against unfair prices and poverty.” Said Paul Johnston.

” securing your supply chain for profit is a surrogate for exploitation. I have told Sainsbury’s by signing the petition, that this is wrong. Very wrong.”

Paul Johnston helped start the Formartine Fairtrade group and as a councillor, campaigned for Aberdeenshire council to back Fairtrade.




Today, Sunday 2nd July, there was a reported fire at Loanhead of Daviot Scout site.  The Oldmeldrum and Daviot group, who are based there use the site with 8 huts used by groups.

“I am told one of these was set alight, late afternoon or early evening and it was destroyed” said local Councillor Paul Johnston. ” The worrying thing is that this might be a deliberate piece of arson.  Yes it might be kids, but its a real shame that so much voluntary effort that goes into creating the and keeping up the site can so easily be destroyed.”

Any person with information about the fire should contact Police Scotland via the 101 number.

” I urge anyone to provide information to help prevent any repeat incident, which might be more serious” said Paul.




Aberdeenshire is divided into six area committees. The newly elected council of May 2017 will hold its first Formartine Area Committee on June 13 at the Kirk Centre in Ellon starting at 9:45 AM. This committee covers the wards of Ellon, Turriff and mid Formartine.

” This first meeting will decide the political with a small P, direction for councillors that serve on the area committee.” said Councillor Paul Johnston.  ” Area committees determine local spending and priorities as well as determine all local planning application as that are referred to councillors for determination. There is also grants and other funding that the area committee is involved with.”

These meetings are open to the public and you are welcome to attend.  Please click on the links to access relevant information.

Formartine Area Committee (Click for documents)


The new HWRC (Household waste recycling centre is opening in Ellon. It is gradually being increased in ability to take materials. There should be a re-use container added and operational shortly. This allows you to deposit items that may be reused by charities who collect from the Council site.

Aberdeenshire Council have issued this press statement.




The Oldmeldrum Future Visions event this morning (27th May 2017) was busy with Meldrum folk giving their reaction to feedback from the Community survey.

“The Legion Hall in the town had a buzz about it as people enthusiastically contributed their views and choices to the Oldmeldrum Visions team led by Meldrum and Bourtie Community Council.” said local Aberdeenshire Councillor Paul Johnston.

“I was here for the full duration of the event as it was chock full of ideas and comments. The Community Council and the local Community Planning Partnership should be complimented on a well organised and effective event”

The Future Visions event has gathered more information and reactions to the initial questionnaire done by the group. At the end of the process will be a community action plan that will be able to inform Aberdeenshire Council, Fire, Police and NHS about what is needed for the Community.

A similar, scaled plan is being done for Daviot.

“What I hope will be delivered is something my fellow Aberdeenshire Councillors and the decision makers can use. They will have a well researched and clear statement from our community about our priorities. They cannot say we have not told them. We have weighed up sometimes contrary opinions and even if there are no clear views we are informing the powers that be to help them take the best decisions. ” said Paul.

Community engagement in full swing.



The proposed service reductions in the 292 from Tarves to Ellon and back is to be reversed. This follows a meeting between Cllr Paul Johnston, Cllr Martin Ford and Aberdeenshire Director Stephen Archer. Mr Archer accepted the Councillors’ concerns that the the approved council budget did not agree to bus service reductions and that there were resources for the 292 and other services.

Councillor Paul Johnston said:

“There were changes, last minute, to Aberdeenshire Council’s budget. We were pleased that one proposed saving on public transport was not accepted by the Council. We appreciate that this may not have been recognised by some services involved. We were pleased to note that they have respected the political will of the Council as expressed in the financial terms of its budget.”

Take a look at @CllrPJohnston’s Tweet:

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