Strategic plan discussed

Members of the Buchan Area Committee have discussed a major strategic report.

Councillors were presented with the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Plan at a meeting in Arbuthnot House recently.

The report, by the Director of Infrastructure Services, outlined a range of issues relating to future development in Aberdeenshire, including onshore infrastructure, transport links and broadband access.

The report outlined the need for a co-ordinated approach to big projects and raised the importance of the Energetica corridor and carbon capture and storage to the North-east economy.

During the debate, Councillor Anne Allan raised the issue of high-speed broadband and asked about future upgrade plans in Buchan. Committee chairman Stuart Pratt and Councillor Norman Smith also echoed the need for high-speed broadband in Buchan.

Councillor Alan Gardiner commented: “We need to keep pushing with a loud voice on high-speed broadband.

“We also need to be sending out a strong message that we want to see carbon capture and storage in our area.”

Cllr Tom Malone also signalled his support for carbon capture, saying it would unleash billions of pounds of investment. Cllr Malone commented on the need for transport improvements, particularly between Aberdeen and Peterhead. He added that investments on transport projects had been made in other parts of the country but not in Buchan.

The committee heard that improvements to the A90 were a transport priority of the Scottish government and could leave the door open to further improvements.

Councillor Stephen Smith raised the possibility of introducing rail-links into the Buchan area, between Aberdeen and Ellon.

Cllr Jim Ingram added: “I am pleased to see transport improvements, such as the dualling of the A90 Tipperty-Balmedie road and the Western Peripheral Route included in the report.”