New rail routes in Dyce, Ellon, Fraserburgh and Peterhead could be installed in Aberdeenshire under the Lib Dems as they pledge to improve transport in their manifesto.
Entitled A Manifesto For A Changing World, the party promises to install the new rail routes running from Dyce to Ellon and Peterhead to Fraserburgh, with an additional station in Newtonhill.
With transport firmly on the agenda, the party has also committed to improving the A90 north of Ellon.
In particular they hope to focus on improving the notorious Toll of Birness – a collision blindspot that locals have been campaigning to fix for years.
The manifesto highlights challenges that are set to have a huge impact on the region in the coming years, drawing the focus on learning to live in a post-Covid world and minimising the impacts that the pandemic will have on society and businesses.
Improving transport across the shire
Pledging to look into reducing the travel times between Aberdeen and central belt stations, the Lib Dems also intend on improving the reliability of these services.
Working with Transport Scotland, they aim to ensure an early delivery of the grade-separated junction at the A90 at Laurencekirk, as well as making significant improvements on the A90 to Peterhead.
Impacts of climate change: Flood prevention and energy transition
Finding ways of mitigating effects already felt by climate change, especially flooding and storms, they propose to work with the Scottish Government, to implement local flood risk management strategies to secure funding for Aberdeenshire schemes.
Tying in with this, they pledge to deliver a programme of bridge maintenance, while responding to unanticipated bridge losses arising from flooding.
On the topic of environment, they aim to encourage the early transition to renewable energy whilst continuing to recognise the north east’s importance of oil and gas, stressing “transition is for everyone, not just oil and gas producers”.
Empowering the north-east’s economy
Transitioning into living with Covid, the party has promised to create stronger partnerships with businesses, providing support to those who require it post-pandemic.
On the back of Brexit, which they say let down the north-east’s fishing industry in particular, the Lib Dem’s have backed proposals for a free port in Aberdeen – meaning little to no tax would be paid in a bid to encourage economic activity.
Planning for communities
The Lib Dem’s plan to draw focus on tackling the ongoing issue of gull control in urban areas, coastal, and inland communities.
They also aim to install 20mph speed limits within settlements, and extend the Deeside Way east of Aboyne and into Braemar.
These community plans include improving the current Formartine-Buchan Way and other long-distance routes.
Other key pledges
On the topic of the fuel and cost of living crisis, they have said they will work collaboratively to tackle fuel poverty while continuing to work to reduce poverty more generally and inequalities.
One of the main take-aways from their school and education promise is to improve staff recruitment and retention in education, vowing to fill every teaching post with the best possible teacher.
They also aim to raise attainment in schools, improving grades including maths and literacy, especially within national examinations.
Working with private landlords and landowners, they aim to bring empty homes back into use with affordable rent.
Group leader, councillor Peter Argyle said: “As Liberal Democrats are not dictated to from the centre, this manifesto has been written in Aberdeenshire, for Aberdeenshire. It is a detailed, deliverable, statement of our priorities for the next council term.
“Our manifesto focuses on a successful transition to living with Covid, on rebuilding the economy and our town centres, on improving roads, bridges and infrastructure and growing a new, effective partnership with communities in Aberdeenshire.
“Liberal Democrats have been at the heart of the administration of the council for almost all of the past 27 years.
“Our collective knowledge and experience mean this Manifesto for a Changing World is ambitious and achievable. It is realistic and focused entirely on achieving the best possible outcomes for Aberdeenshire.”