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Local Councillor Highlights Avian Influenza Advice after 120 Dead Birds Removed from Cruden Bay Beach

>> 8 July 2022

Peterhead South and Cruden SNP councillor Stephen Smith is urging local residents and visitors to follow safety advice issued by Aberdeenshire Council following the removal of 120 dead birds from Cruden Bay beach by council staff.

Commenting, Cllr Stephen Smith said:

“I’m grateful to council staff for responding to the reports from myself and other residents and getting the beach cleaned up.

“It’s very sad that so many birds have been affected but the advice is that our beaches are still safe to enjoy this summer and the threat of transmission to humans is very low.

“That said, there are a number of simple measures people should follow to maintain strict hygiene standards, including not picking up or touching dead or dying birds.”

Aberdeenshire Council is urging people to continue reporting incidents of dead birds – both to Defra on 03459 335577 and, if you come across groupings of 10 or more dead birds, the council’s own dedicated phone line on 01467 537444.

But remember to follow this safety advice at all times:
  • Do not pick up or touch dead or sick wild birds 
  • Keep pets/dogs away from any dead or sick birds 
  • Don't feed wild waterfowl 
  • Don't touch wild bird feathers or surfaces contaminated with droppings
If you find a live but sick bird call the SSPCA on 03000 999999 for advice – however please note that due to the current situation you should not bring any wild birds to their animal rescue and rehoming centres.

If you keep poultry or other birds, it is vital that you wash your hands and clean and disinfect your footwear before tending to your birds.

For more details on avian influenza, visit www.gov.scot/publications/avian-influenza-bird-flu/.

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Local Councillor Comments on Longhaven School Decision with Warning to Other Small Rural Schools

>> 1 July 2022

Peterhead South and Cruden Councillor Stephen Smith has told a meeting of Aberdeenshire Council’s Full Council that lessons need to be learned from the mothballing and subsequent closure of Longhaven School.

The SNP councillor was heavily involved in the successful 2004 campaign to save the school from closure. However, following the transfer of the Headteacher of the single-teacher school to a new post in 2018, Aberdeenshire Council failed to put in place alternative staffing arrangements and the school was temporarily closed in 2018 and subsequently mothballed.

Commenting, Councillor Stephen Smith said:

“While it’s extremely disappointing that such a well-regarded school which the local community fought so hard to save from closure in 2004 has got to this stage, the general view in the community is one of resignation that the school will close. No one is going to apply to send their child to a school which is currently mothballed and has no teacher, so the conclusion to this was always fairly obvious.

“While there should never be a limit placed on the career-progression of teaching staff, it should have been entirely possible for the council to put in place a short-term solution until a new appointment was made which did not involve what was at that point a temporary closure and the children transferred to different schools.

“Aberdeenshire Council should be supporting rural communities and I would strongly urge the Education Department to reflect on their processes, which may very well affect other single-teacher schools in rural areas and place them under threat of mothballing and closure.”

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North-East Carbon Capture Plans Need UK Government To Up Its Game

>> 17 June 2022

Peterhead SNP councillors Stephen Smith and Leeann McWhinnie have called for the UK Government to significantly up its game on plans for the North-East’s carbon capture and storage project.

The call follows confirmation that 2 new seabed sites for storing captured carbon have been licensed off the North-East coast.

The SNP councillors have urged the UK Government to prioritise funding carbon capture in North-east Scotland.

Carbon capture and utilisation storage (CCUS) sites in Scotland have been repeatedly sidelined by the UK Government after it reneged on a promise to fund a site in Peterhead in 2015, and St Fergus in 2021.

Commenting, Peterhead South and Cruden SNP councillor Stephen Smith said:

“The allocation of these two new sites offshore is welcome but we need the UK Government significantly upping its game on carbon capture.

“The Buchan area has been badly let-down in the past with broken promises following 2014’s referendum and again in 2021. It’s time to give this project the priority it deserves for the sake of the environment and the economy and the UK Government needs to stop playing politics with it.”

Peterhead North and Rattray SNP councillor Leeann McWhinnie added:

“The Scottish Government announced £80million for the North-east CCUS project but, despite being promised £1 billion in the Conservatives’ 2015 manifesto, that promise has been broken not once, but twice.

“Unfortunately, we’re tied to having to wait for Westminster to act on this. It would be so much different with control over our own affairs.”

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Broch Councillor Hails Beach Awards for Fraserburgh

>> 1 June 2022

Fraserburgh and District SNP councillor Seamus Logan has hailed awards for Fraserburgh’s Tigerhill and Waters of Philorth beaches from the Keep Scotland Beautiful group as part of the 2022 Scotland’s Beach Awards scheme.

Scotland's Beach Awards are the benchmark for quality, celebrating clean, well-managed and sustainable beaches. The award-winning beaches demonstrate excellent beach management and environmental best practice, and the maintenance of high standards.

Welcoming the awards, Cllr Seamus Logan said:

“This is tremendous news for Fraserburgh and comes just as summer has started.

“Both of the town’s beaches are great assets for locals and are huge attractions for tourists who visit the area so these awards are great news. It’s really important people using the beaches have confidence in the quality of the beach and bathing water.”

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