1. Do you agree that there is a Climate Emergency?
Yes. As a result, we have invested hundreds of millions in renewable technology and the ‘greening’ of the council fleet, shifting from petrol to 0 emission vehicles. Further, through schemes such as district heating and the £100 Million we will invest next term in energy efficiencies for council tenants, we’re actively looking to achieve Aberdeen’s net-zero targets.
2. Despite all the plans, policies, and strategies in place at both a local and national level, active travel infrastructure in Aberdeen is very poor, and the rate of change in delivering improvements seems to be incredibly slow. What would you do to speed up the rate of change?
The Active Travel Action Plan 2014-2035 by NESTRANS has put the cycling environment as one of its core commitments. However, as you note the pace of change is slow. This is partly due to a lack of funding, but this is also due to prioritisation. If in Administration, Aberdeen Conservatives will work to integrate improved cycling infrastructure in any new developments across the city. Our manifesto pledge of an additional £39M for roads and pavements will ask local communities their priorities locally, and this could include enhanced cycling spaces.
3. Aberdeen City Council is still intending to implement new road-building schemes such as on South College St and the Berryden Corridor which will increase traffic capacity coming into the city centre. Do you support those proposals?
Yes, we support these proposals. The measures are part of a larger piece of how traffic is handled in Aberdeen and introduce bus priority measures for increased accessibility to the city centre. The Berryden Corridor project will help alleviate congestion and is critical. Our £150M City Centre Masterplan also has proposals for the beachfront, and we can see a huge opportunity for enhanced cycling spaces as part of the investment along our coastline.
4. We have previously asked for the City Council to designate a Councillor and a Senior Officer to be Active Travel champions and a direct point of contact for campaign groups such as our own. Would you support such an idea?
We support a designated Councillor as an active travel champion who can then act as a bridge to the proper officers depending on the issue.
5. Many other cities are now implementing car exclusion zones around schools at key times of day as a means of reducing pollution, increasing safety and thus encouraging active travel for children. We are not aware of any such plans in Aberdeen. Would you promote such an idea to be adopted in Aberdeen?
No, not in isolation, as this could have significant practical issues. We need better driver behaviour around school areas and improved signage. Moreover, we would like to see increased active travel awareness and provision in schools. This is something we’ll take forward in the new term, building on work already in place.
6. Do you support plans to pedestrianise Union Street between Market Street and Bridge Street, and would you support a segregated cycle path for the full length of Union Street?
Yes, 100%. As the largest group in the Administration, Aberdeen Conservatives have moved the £150 Million City Centre Masterplan proposals through the council and hope to deliver them in the next term. Part of this will include improved surfaces and spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. It will also require better connectivity between the city centre and beach; cycle infrastructure is part of that. Voting for Aberdeen Conservatives will ensure the city centre investment proposals are taken forward to unlock these benefits for all.