26 September 2019

Infrastructure Services Committee round up: 22.08.2019

The first Infrastructure Services Committee meeting following the summer recess began with a presentation by Colin Campbell from the James Hutton Institute, who outlined how the organisation is tackling climate change. 

The committee heard that its Aberdeenshire-based Glensaugh research farm carried out net carbon positive research. He said the council had an important role to play as the use of land had an impact upon climate change. 

Committee members refused planning permission for the construction of buildings near a farm in Turriff. The application had initially been approved by the Banff and Buchan Area Committee but following a ruling by the Court of Session which overturned the area committee’s decision, it had to be considered afresh by Infrastructure Services Committee. Planning officers recommended refusal because the proposals conflicted with planning policy. 

Changes to commercial waste recycling collection approved

The committee approved proposals to introduce a permit system for commercial waste and to divert commercial vehicles away from Household Recycling Centres.
Council officers gave a firm commitment to review any impact the introduction of this system will have on small and medium sized businesses. The service plans to meet with 121 businesses to give advice and guidance. They also intend to meet with third sector community groups and voluntary organisations who take kerbside collections, to inform them of the plans and provide any necessary assistance required. 

Cllr Colin Pike said everyone understood why these proposals are being introduced but the plans will need to be workable for those working at the Household Recycling Centres as they are the first point of contact with the public.
Committee chair Cllr Peter Argyle agreed, stressing communication was of paramount importance. “Everyone needs to know what is being proposed,” he said. 

Cllr Paul Johnston expressed concern about the size of trailers and the implications for small businesses that keep their works vans at home as they may face difficulties using the new system. 

Officers agreed to closely monitor these issues and feed them back into an ongoing review. 

The committee agreed the recommendations outlined in the report. 

Speed restrictions near Kintore Primary School discussed 

The committee agreed to revisit plans to introduce a 20-miles-per-hour restriction near Kintore Primary School. 

Cllr Glen Reid made an impassioned plea for the speed limit to by reduced to 20mph. 

He cited evidence that motorists speed on the road was increasing and that police do not have the resources to tackle the problem. 

Cllr Peter Argyle asked if reducing the speed limit to 20mph would result in additional safety measures being introduced in addition to the speed reduction. 

Head of Service, Philip McKay said raised junctions would make a difference and the introduction of cushions would bring speed down but not to 20mph. 

Following a proposal from Mr McKay, the committee agreed to set aside their policy on the installation of traffic calming on 30mph roads where the intervention level is not reached (around 34mph).  In doing this they also instructed officers to develop a traffic calming scheme to address the unique speeding issue outside Kintore Primary School.  The detail of the scheme to be reported back to Garioch Area Committee as soon as possible.

The state of the bus network considered 
Committee members were asked to discuss the outcome of the North East Bus Alliance’s assessment of the state of the bus network and note its progress. 

Cllr Alison Evison asked if there needed to be more joined up work to tackle rural accessibility which was mentioned as a problem in the report. 

Cllr George Carr said the council had a moral responsibility to address delivering public transport to Aberdeenshire’s most vulnerable communities. He called for thinking outside the box to tackle the issue as well as more laws to be introduced.

Cllr Paul Johnston asked what had happened to quality bus partnerships. He said that whilst there may be problems felt by Aberdeen, the knock-on effect of those issues would be felt by Aberdeenshire. 

Cllr Colin Pike queried whether the council could assist taxi firms and bus operators in speaking to each other. These discussions would be in addition to the conversations with the council. 

The committee agreed the recommendations set out in the report. 

You can see all the reports to the committee on the Aberdeenshire Council website.
The meeting of the Infrastructure Services Committee at Woodhill House was webcast live and you can view a recording of proceedings and see the full detail of discussions online.