Infrastructure Services Committee round-up 18.8.16

The committee began with a presentation from Linda Ovens, Project Director for the proposed Energy from Waste (EfW) facility at Tullos in Aberdeen City.

She gave councillors an update on the progress of the scheme and spoke about why such a facility may be necessary to make sure the north east can properly dispose of its waste into the future.

Using landfill as a waste disposal method will be banned in Scotland from 2021, but local councils generally still use it as an important part of their waste strategies.

Ms Ovens outlined how an EfW facility could not only provide a means of disposing of waste that can’t be recycled, but would also produce heat for use in the local community.

She also told how having a local plant, rather than sending waste overseas, could also create jobs, improve local skills and combat fuel poverty.

At the moment Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Moray Councils are all involved in the early stages of the project, which MS Ovens said uses “tried, trusted, reliable and flexible technology” already well-established elsewhere in Europe.

Councillors heard that the energy which would be produced by the proposed facility in Aberdeen is equivalent to around 30 wind turbines.

Aberdeen City Council recently submitted a planning application for the facility, which is expected to have a lifespan of around 50 years, for a site used as a gas holder site by Scottish Gas Networks.

A public event in connection with the application recently took place, with a decision on planning permission expected to be taken in October.

If permission is granted, the construction phase of the facility is expected to be between September 2018 and August 2021.

More information about the project is available online.

Planning applications

The committee approved full planning permission for 77 houses and eight commercial units at a site in Laurencekirk, south of the High Street, which would also include a petrol station.

Councillors heard the application had previously been approved in 2011, but there had been a lengthy delay in resolving delegated matters, including the Section 75 agreement relating to developer contributions.

Full planning permission was also granted for a total of 69 houses and associated infrastructure on land at Stonehaven’s Ury Estate.

You can see both reports detailing the planning applications online.

National Transport Awards

The committee agreed that councillor Graeme Clark and an appropriate officer should represent the council at the National Transport Awards, being held in London in October.

Aberdeenshire Council has been shortlisted for awards in two categories after being named Scottish Transport Authority of the Year in June, for the fourth time.

The Council was praised for its work on its Integrated Travel Towns (ITT) project, which aims to increase the proportion of travel undertaken by sustainable modes in locations such as Ellon; its real time passenger information system for bus services which went live in January; providing emergency transport in challenging conditions after Storm Frank; engagement with customers through regular Area Bus Forums and the annual Bus Passenger Satisfaction Survey.

Wider exemplar work on road maintenance which sees Aberdeenshire’s network consistently among the top rated councils in the Scottish Road Maintenance Condition Survey was also recognised.

At the National Awards, it stands to win in the categories: Transport Local Authority of the Year as the Scottish representative for 2016; and Excellence in Cycling and Walking (for Ellon Integrated Town Travel).

Aberdeenshire Council has previously won at the National Transport Awards under the category of Road Safety, Traffic Management and Enforcement in 2012. It was highly commended in the same category in 2011.

On the latest award nominations, ISC chair, David Aitchison, said: “For our teams to once again be recognised at this level is fantastic and I am sure members will be delighted to join with me in congratulating all involved and thank them for the great work they are doing."

Programme for Active Travel and Road Safety

Councillors agreed to a range of works for the coming year under the active travel and road safety programme.

A range of proposed projects across Aberdeenshire were drawn up then circulated around all six Local Area Committees seeking the views of local councillors.

Given the scale of some of the projects, they are likely to run into the year 2017/18, forming part of that programme of works.

Details of all the projects over the next year and their value, broken down by area, are available in the appendix to the committee report on our website.

Rural Partnership Funds

The committee received a report outlining the progress of the work of rural partnerships over the year 2015-16, as well as detailing the distribution of funding for 2014-17.

In March 2014, ISC agreed a rural partnership budget of £206,000 per annum for three years, 2014-17. It was agreed that each of the council’s six administrative areas would receive £34,333 for distribution to the rural partnership within their area.

The partnerships provide support to community economic developments in their areas and are participants in community planning.

Payments are made quarterly and an annual report from each partnership is submitted to the council.

You can see the distribution of the Aberdeenshire Rural Partnership Fund 2014-17 and the summarised activity of the rural partnerships in the report to committee online.

The committee instructed officers to start discussions on a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between Aberdeenshire Council and the Rural Partnerships for years 2017-20 and to bring this back for approval, along with the proposed distribution of funds to the rural partnerships for years 2017-20.

Councillors also requested more information on activity from the Royal Deeside Partnership and asked that for future reports, all partnerships should be asked to provide more information on their activities for the year, the outcomes of those activities and what measurable benefits have been achieved.

Food and Feed Law Enforcement Service Plan 2016/17

The committee approved a Food and Feed Law Enforcement Service Plan for implementation by the council as a Food Authority.

The plan is required by law and outlines how enforcement officers in Aberdeenshire participate in the provision of a food and feed safety advice service.

The plan sets out how they do this, the activities they undertake and how performance is monitored, as well as a review of performance.

It can be seen as part of the report to committee, which can be viewed online.