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Council's Vehicle Fleet Goes Hi-Tech to Save Money and Reduce CO2

>> 23 August 2018

Following the introduction of a ‘Carbon Budget’ by the SNP/Labour Aberdeenshire Partnership administration in 2017, councillors were today briefed on the introduction of telematics to the council’s vehicle fleet.

As part of the SNP/Labour Aberdeenshire Partnership’s commitment to climate change mitigation, the first Carbon Budget was set for 2017/18. The new approach, approved at full council in February 2017, encourages the whole council to fundamentally consider how it is run and the resulting carbon implications. Aberdeenshire was the first local authority in Scotland to implement such a budget.

In the latest development, fleet vehicles used across Aberdeenshire Council are being installed with telematics to help save money and benefit the environment. The system is web-based, using GPS satellite positioning data and the mobile data network.

Following the successful use of such systems in other large organisations, including councils, it is also intended to promote safe and efficient driving and working practices. It can also help protect lone workers, reduce vehicle running costs and help to quickly ascertain the facts of any accident or incident.

It is hoped it may even allow the reduction of the council’s fleet in future, through the improved use of vehicles, which would also mean significant savings.

Commenting, Infrastructure Services spokesperson for the SNP/Labour Aberdeenshire Partnership Cllr David Aitchison said:

“We were proud to be the first council administration in the country to introduce a Carbon Budget. As well as aiming to be more environmentally-friendly, another major benefit is that many of the measures introduced as a result of the need to reduce emissions have the potential to save the council-taxpayer huge sums of money.

“For example, it is estimated that installing telematics in council vehicles could save between £190,000 and £275,000 each year on fuel through better fleet management resulting from the data generated by each vehicle.

“I’m delighted that the current council administration is carrying on the work the SNP/Labour Partnership started on reducing emissions and saving energy.”

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Study on Insch Station Access Gets Funding Green Light

A proposal to look at options for improving access at Insch Station has been given a funding award from Transport Scotland’s Local Rail Development Fund.

Currently, access to the west-bound platform is available only via a traditional overbridge, meaning passengers with mobility difficulties need to book assistance in advance. There are land constraints affecting possible solutions and the finding is to assist in identifying options.

Infrastructure Services spokesperson for the Aberdeenshire Partnership, Cllr David Aitchison (SNP-Westhill & District) said:

“The confirmation that the application for funding has been successful is very good news indeed.

“I wrote to the Scottish Government backing the case for improved access at Insch Station when I was Chair of the Infrastructure Services Committee for the Aberdeenshire Partnership so I’m well aware of the desire locally to see this matter resolved. I hope now we will see some options coming forward that will provide a solution to the access issues.”

SNP councillor for West Garioch Vicky Harper added:

“This is a very welcome first step to getting improved access at Insch Station, which I know has been an issue for a long time.

“Once a preferred option has been identified from this study, I hope we can move quickly to improve the access to the west-bound platform.”

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Kintore Station Progress Welcomed by East Garioch Councillor Glen Reid

East Garioch SNP councillor Glen Reid has welcomed the progress being made towards the new Kintore Station, which is due to start construction in spring of next year.

Councillor Reid also raised the issue of electric vehicle (EV) charging points for the new station car park given that there are currently no EV charging points in Kintore and received an assurance that there were plans to include two such machines as part of the development.

Commenting after today’s meeting of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee where the matter was discussed, Cllr Glen Reid said:

"I welcome the continuing progress that has been made with the planning, procurement and design work for Kintore Station, which will be transformational for the local community. It continues to be on schedule to open in December 2019.

"With poor local bus connectivity, I am continuing to press for a network of cycle/walking paths from Kemnay and Blackburn to link into the Kintore to Inverurie path to ensure that as many people as possible can access the station and link up our communities.

"I was also pleased that when I pressed council officers to ensure that there would be electric vehicle charging points built at the Kintore Station car park, as there are currently none in the town, they assured me that two will be installed. This is more welcome progress for the Kintore residents."

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VisitAberdeenshire 5-Year Strategy Must Include Cruise Ship Opportunities for Peterhead

Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) heard a plea today to not overlook the economic opportunities afforded by cruise ships visiting Peterhead.

Five cruise ships docked in the town during last year and five more are scheduled to arrive during 2019. Peterhead South & Cruden SNP councillor Stephen Smith argued that VisitAberdeenshire needs to support local efforts to provide information to visitors from cruise ships and not just focus on Aberdeen Harbour, which is the only port referenced in the policy document.

Commenting, Cllr Stephen Smith said:

“Around one third of cruise ship passengers opt to stay in port and not go on scheduled excursions. This, along with the needs of several hundred crew who get free time during their ship’s time in port, means there are valuable opportunities for local businesses.

“Currently, local efforts have seen several of the cruise ships provided with ‘welcome desks’ staffed by locals offering information on local attractions such as Aden Country Park, the prison museum, Arbuthnot Museum, and so on.

“VisitAberdeenshire needs to recognise the opportunities here in their strategy and commit to supporting the efforts to get more local spend from cruise ship visitors in Peterhead and Buchan.

“The efforts by the local team heading up the ‘welcome desk’ initiative have been well-received by cruise passengers and resulted in visits being made locally which may not otherwise have happened. This initiative needs to be built-on and supported formally by VisitAberdeenshire.”

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