Aberdeenshire Council announces reopening of some public conveniences

Aberdeenshire Council has begun the process of reopening its public toilets which have been closed as a result of coronavirus.

Following Scottish Government guidance, the council closed its public conveniences at the outbreak of coronavirus in March.

Head of Property & Facilities Management, Allan Whyte, said: “Now, with the restrictions on leisure travel being reduced by the Scottish Government as part of their phased response to Covid-19, Aberdeenshire Council is opening a range of public toilets in popular tourist areas and areas of significant population.

“While we will be introducing an increased cleaning regime, none of our sites have full-time attendants and the public is reminded to pay particular attention to physical distancing and hygiene considerations when attending a public toilet.”

The council has praised residents for their continued observance of physical distancing during the latest easing of the lockdown restrictions.

Many popular hotspots attracted hundreds of visitors for a spot of recreation with friends and family at the weekend.

However, a minority of people have been criticised for treating the countryside like an outdoor toilet, with many instances of human waste being reported across the region – particularly associated with camping.

There were also reports of a significant increase in the volume of dog waste and littering.

In one instance at the weekend, a public toilet managed by Aberdeenshire Council at Loch Muick was broken into and left in a disgusting condition, posing a real threat to staff who have had to clean it up.

Head of Economic Development & Protective Services, Belinda Miller, said: “While the majority of residents have enjoyed a long-awaited trip to enjoy our beautiful countryside, the anti-social actions of some have been nothing short of disgraceful. Breaking into any property is a criminal offence and we will seek to prosecute anyone who does so.

“The disposal of human waste is both unhygienic and disgusting for all those visiting our great outdoors and I would urge everyone to take personal responsibility for their own hygiene and have respect for other people.

“The re-opening of some of public toilets is very welcome news, but please ensure you follow the hygiene guidance when using them. You should also plan your journey accordingly to ensure there is a toilet available at your destination.”

Grant Moir, CEO for the Cairngorms National Park Authority, added: “The Cairngorms National Park Authority has been working with partners including Aberdeenshire Council to ensure we have as many facilities open as possible from this weekend.

“There will be Rangers out on the ground to talk with folk as they come back into the Park. However, things are not going to be back to normal. Please plan ahead and check where toilets are open, take your litter home and don’t light fires. We want people to enjoy the countryside but to behave responsibly and look after it.” 

If you are caught short when out and about, here are some Dos and Don’ts from the Scottish Outdoor Access Code:

The public toilets reopened are:

Aboyne
Alford
Banchory
Banff Marina
Bellabeg
Braemar
Bridge of Feuch
Cruden Bay
Ellon
Fraserburgh Beach
Gardenstown Harbour
Huntly - Market Muir
Inverurie
Laurencekirk
Macduff Fishmarket
Oldmeldrum
Peterhead
Portsoy - Shore Street
Sandend
Stonehaven Harbour
Turriff - The Haughs

The toilets not opening at this time are:

Aberchirder
Banff – Duff House
Banff – St Mary’s car-park
Cornhill
Cuminestown
Fordyce
Fraserburgh – Castle Street
Glenshee
Huntly – Castle Street
Inverbervie
Johnshaven
New Aberdour
New Byth
Pennan
Port Elphinstone
Rosehearty
Rothienorman
Stonehaven – Margaret Street
Tarves
Torphins
Turriff