Boost for tram-like network plans

The North East of Scotland Bus Alliance has been successful in its bid for £12 million from Transport Scotland’s Bus Partnership Fund.

This success means that early work can begin on the development of an Aberdeen rapid transit system, as well as delivering significant bus priority in the city centre.

The transport partnership Nestrans recently discussed its revised regional strategy, including a tram-like rapid transit system which could link the airport in the north to Portlethen in the south, and Bridge of Don to Kingswells and Westhill.

More here https://www.nestrans.org.uk/news/12-million-pound-investment-secured-to-transform-public-transport-in-the-north-east/?fbclid=IwAR2OhYZrmp81pCb5O1-rZjIMmpnUFg0nABJejyhEdICxylgYJbID-iaZwFQ

Please recycle your food waste

Around 70% of the waste we produce in Aberdeenshire is recyclable using our existing services. However we only manage to recycle about 44% of our waste. Some 30,000 tonnes of recyclable material is landfilled at a cost of £3.5 million per year.

An awful lot of food goes in the landfill bin. If you put it in the black bin it turns into greenhouse gas.

Did you know that your food waste turns into heat, electricity, fuel and fertiliser if it goes in the food waste caddy?

There is more here: https://www.keenanrecycling.co.uk/

Please put food waste and unused vegetables into the wee bin. (But not the packaging!)

You can collect food waste caddies free of charge from a recycling centre if yours is broken or has blown away. You can have a second caddy if needed.

And free bags are available when the weekly collection takes place.

However, if you have untouched food still in its packaging that you are not going to use and it is still in date, please consider taking it to the Larder in Cookston Road, Portlethen, or the Haven Community Larder at the Community Centre on Robert Street in Stonehaven. Reducing food waste is one of their aims too.

Let’s do our bit to help the planet!

Covid-19: Latest update

The First Minister today updated parliament on the latest steps towards easing covid-19 restrictions.

She began by confirming that the objective is to ensure that everyone over 18 will have received their first and second dose of vaccination by 12 September. As announced last week, all areas in Scotland will remain at the current level until the next review date of 19 July.

From then, dependent on the vaccination programme and case numbers, it is hoped that all parts of Scotland can move to level 0.

However, changes to the rules on funerals and weddings will come into effect this coming Monday 28 June.

The main changes are:
• Suppliers of wedding services, and other people employed by the couple getting married, will no longer count towards the cap on numbers at a wedding
• Those accompanying the wedding couple down the aisle will no longer need to wear face coverings
• Live entertainment at receptions will be possible – although people will still need to be seated at tables
• And there will be a change to the guidance for funerals, so that people from more than one household can help carry a coffin and take a cord when lowering it.

From Monday 19 July and assuming we all move to level 0 there will also be changes to physical distancing and the number of people allowed to gather both inside and out.

In summary, the new rules:
• Allow up to 200 people to attend weddings and funerals
• Increase the limit on household gatherings indoors
• Reduce the indoor physical distancing from 2 metres to 1 metre.
• Remove outdoor physical distancing
• Current level 0 rules will remain for organised events but limits for informal outdoor social gatherings will be removed.

If everything goes to plan, the next key date will be 9 August, when it is hoped that any remaining legal restrictions will be lifted, including indoors physical distancing.

The Aberdeenshire vaccination figures are just in, up to 22 June:

Swimming programme continues

Children learning to swim across Aberdeenshire will have the chance to make up for lost time with the continuation of the council’s Learn to Swim programme throughout the summer.

Normally the programme only runs in school terms, with intensive lessons offered at local pools throughout the summer holidays.

But in response to demand, the current temporary programme will continue over the summer.

For more information and contact details for the local swimming coordinator, see: http://bit.ly/TempSLP

Parking restriction warning

As BT will be demolishing and rebuilding a box, it will be necessary in the interests of public safety to prohibit parking on a section of Bruntland Road in Portlethen.

This work will last for five days, commencing on Monday 5 July. Site notices will be erected in due course indicating the temporary restriction.

Fireworks consultation

Over the past year or two local folk have contacted me expressing their concerns about the use of fireworks. The Scottish Government is now undertaking a consultation on the use and sale of fireworks, and tackling the misuse of pyrotechnics.

This consultation consists of two sections. The first considers changes to how fireworks can be sold and used in Scotland; while the second section considers the use of pyrotechnic devices.

More specifically, Section 1 seeks views on four changes to how fireworks can be sold and used in Scotland to ensure fireworks are used safely, handled with care and do not cause harm, distress or injury; while Section 2 considers the use of pyrotechnic devices and specifically whether it should be an offence to carry a pyrotechnic device in a public place without reasonable excuse or lawful authority, and whether police powers should be extended to allow a stop and search provision for anyone reasonably suspected of committing the offence.

Access to the consultation and details of consultation events are included in the link below. The consultation opened on 20 June and closes on 15 August 2021. https://consult.gov.scot/justice/use-and-sale-of-fireworks-in-scotland

Focus on the rural area

North Kincardine Rural Community Council met tonight for the annual general meeting.

The office-bearers are chair Henry Irvine-Fortescue; secretary and vice-chair Graham Norrie; treasurer and minute secretary Bob McKinney; and planning Rod Farquhar.

Tribute was paid to Mandi Dorward and Avril Tulloch for their service to the community council. Avril is retiring after 27 years’ service.

The community councillors discussed the road construction work at Hillside on the C30K. The developers of nearby housing are bringing the road up to standard which has necessitated its closure until early July. This causes considerable inconvenience to residents. Apparently utilities were not where they were supposed to be, which caused delays, and there have also been difficulties in securing supplies such as kerbs.

Lairhillock School is expecting 147 pupils in the new term, with families at Riverside of Blairs opting for there rather than Banchory Devenick School. The capacity is 150 which is forecast to fall slightly over the coming years.

A new planning application beside the fire training centre at Hillside prompted much discussion with contact to be made with Aberdeenshire Council. Concerns were also raised about events at Alba Power with residents raising concerns about noise and smell with council officers.

Time was spent discussing the impact on the community of the pandemic. Overall there is a threat of isolation and loneliness. Fears that the end of furlough will lead to more stress for some. A varied picture though.

Covid-19: Units to remain

The current covid-19 mobile testing unit locations across Aberdeenshire will remain in place until Sunday, 11 July.

This short extension is to allow a review of the need for the units in their current locations which are dependent on demand and Covid levels. It is expected that there will be a further extension made into August, but any changes will be shared.

The units still operate on an appointments basis which must be booked in advance online via the government website – https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. For those who are unable to use the online service they should call 119. Telephone lines are open 7 am to 11 pm.

New planning applications

The applications below were registered last week within the North Kincardine ward and can be viewed using the online Planning Register (https://upa.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/online-applications/).

APP/2021/1359

Date validated: 15 June 2021.
Site address: Phase 1A (Zero C, Plots B1 – B5), Quarryline Street, Chapelton.
Applicant: Elsick Development Company, c/o Turnberry Planning Ltd, 41-43 Maddox Street, London, W1S 2PD.
Approval of matters specified in conditions for Conditions 3 a) (Level and Cross Sections), c) (Connection to Existing Scottish Water) and j) (Layout, Siting, Design and Finish), 4 (Phasing), 8) (Street Design) of Planning Permission in Principle Reference APP/2011/3100 for New Settlement Comprising Residential (up to 4045 Dwellinghouses), Commercial, Retail and Community Facilities, with Associated Landscaping, Open Space, Drainage and Roads Infrastructure and Services.
Public comment expiry date: 15 July.

APP/2021/1404
Date validated: 15 June.
Site address: 6 Headland Court, Newtonhill AB39 3SF.
Applicant: Mr Darren Lawson.
Full planning permission for alterations and extension to a dwellinghouse.
Public comment expiry date: 7 July.

APP/2021/1439
Date validated: 17 June.
Site address: 2 Hillside Road, Portlethen, AB12 4TQ.
Applicant: Mr David Wood, c/o James Greig – Architect, 27 Castleview Avenue, Kintore, Inverurie, AB51 0SA.
Full planning permission for erection of a garage.
Public comment expiry date: 8 July.

Covid-19: More local cases

Cases have risen in the majority of local authority areas in Scotland over the past week, according to NHS Grampian. 

Susan Webb, director of public health with NHS Grampian, says seven day rates per 100,000 in Grampian compare well at 42 compared to 116 nationally. However we cannot be complacent – we have seen how quickly things can change. Our aim is to look at all signals of change so that we can prevent an accelerating situation.

“Case numbers in Aberdeen have almost doubled in the past week but in Aberdeenshire case numbers remained at similar levels to last week, averaging nine cases per day and a seven day rate of 23 per 100,000.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of multiple small clusters (up to 10 linked cases). This is particularly so in Aberdeen, although there has been some growth in Aberdeenshire. The pattern in Aberdeen shows widespread community transmission with multiple settings, schools and households impacted. Cases are dominated by under 40-year-olds.

“Covid-19 admissions remain low with four admissions since 8 June and of these, two were not vaccinated.  However there are other parts of the health system that are affected by increasing infection rates.

“Almost 378,000 Grampian residents have had one dose of the covid-19 vaccination (80% of all adults) and nearly 267,000 are fully vaccinated (56%).

Vaccinations remain our main strategy and the aim is have our population fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Right now we are paying particular attention to in the north of Aberdeen where two communities in particular are showing high rates. Communities in Tillydrone and Froghill will see enhanced efforts to encourage people forward for asymptomatic testing and to consider individual actions to keep vulnerable people and communities safe from the spread of covid-19.  We are working with multiple groups within these communities to encourage behaviours which will help us all in particular:

  • Test yourself twice a week using fast results lateral flow devices
  • Get the vaccine if you are offered
  • Reduce your contacts and work at home for as much as you can.

“Please encourage people you know to stay as safe as possible – it will help us to get back to normal sooner.”