FRAE OOR COONCILLOR
It is difficult to comprehend that it is 2 years since Covid 19 hit the world and changed the way we live our lives. Going back to all the old ways seems more and more unlikely. Perth & Kinross Councillors had hoped to be back in 2 High Street in January 2022 for some meetings but unfortunately the instruction from Scottish Government is to work from home if possible.
I know that you are reading this in March but I am writing this on Twelfth Night and I would like to thank all those who added sparkle to the village at Christmas, the Abernethy in Bloom team who not only decorated the tree in Nurse Peattie’s garden but added decorations to all the planters. The Nativity scene was once again a focal point and thank you to the willing volunteers . New for this year were the Christmas lights on several lamp standards and this was very much appreciated. Last but not least to all the householders who added outdoor lights to their houses and garden. Well done to all. Now all stored away for another year.
Last autumn some of you may have noticed that the grass under the trees round the perimeter of Powrie Park was not cut . This area was part of Council wide Long Grass Trials. There were 29 “No Mow” areas in 2021 and there will be 11 additional “No Mow” areas in 2022. Perth & Kinross Council did receive some comments about the trials regarding the importance of bio–diversity and the benefit to wildlife. This should have been policy years ago. Those not supportive say it is only cost saving, unsightly and a place for litter and dog poo to gather! I hope this will not happen in Abernethy. The perimeter of Powrie Park is the only area in Abernethy that will be part of this trial. Consultation is scheduled to take place prior to grass cutting season.
The Long Grass trials contribute to Land Use actions included in the Climate Change Strategy Action Plan approved at the Perth & Kinross Council meeting on 15th December 2021.
Perth & Kinross Council has a legal responsibility for emission reductions and climate resilience within the Council operations as well as across Perth & Kinross. In order to fulfil this responsibility the general public were consulted under a climate change engagement exercise between October 20th and January 21st. Engagement was either by online surveys or climate change network meetings. Most people who responded were concerned about the impact of climate change and had made lifestyle choices by reducing car usage (harder to do in rural areas with a limited bus service) with working from home contributing to the reduction. I know that my car use has reduced dramatically due to home working. We can also all contribute by recycling more and reducing our use of single use plastic, although it is a bit difficult to reduce single plastic use at the, moment when we are all asked to take Lateral Flow Tests regularly.
One of the questions in the survey was about grassland management and the majority who answered the question fully supported reviewing the council’s grassland management policy and supported wildflower meadows being cut only once a year. This would help reduce emissions from grass mowing machinery and enhance biodiversity.
A dedicated one stop Climate Change web platform will be ready early in 2022. This will map out, and provide links to, climate change activity undertaken by the council and the wider community. The council website provides information about the Climate Change initiative and what the council and the public have done so far. As we know, climate change is a global problem and we must all play our part.
The Perth & Kinross Council budget will be agreed at the end of February and you can be assured that difficult decisions will have been taken. Council tax will likely be increased. In a recent survey most who answered indicated that they would rather pay more council tax than have a service cut. Covid 19 as we all know has increased costs for everyone including local authorities.
This will be my last contribution to the Village Crier in my capacity as Councillor Kathleen Baird as I am not seeking re-election in the council elections on Thursday 5th May. It is more than 20 years since I was first elected to Perth & Kinross Council as councillor for the smaller ward of Abernethy & Glenfarg as it was known in 1999. One Councillor per ward. Now there are three Councillors for the larger Almond & Earn ward.
The village has changed over the years; additional housing, a new school, upgraded parks, a new path, and traffic calming measures to mention a few. I have enjoyed working with community groups but what gave me most satisfaction was being able to help individuals.
Sadly some of the issues from 20 years ago are still unresolved today. Dare I say inconsiderate parking in the village, speeding cars and litter, but all that I will have to leave to my successor.
I have enjoyed representing you and hopefully I have helped make Abernethy, Aberargie and the surrounding area a better place to live.
It has been a privilege to serve the community as an elected member and never forgetting my guiding promise I have always tried “ to do my best“.
Thank you .
Finally Councillor Kathleen Baird
REPORT FROM COUNCILLOR DAVID ILLINGWORTH.
Well Done, Abernethy!
Councillors recently received a presentation about waste disposal. We get a lot of presentations and not all of them are as exciting as waste disposal. What was interesting, though, was the part on contamination of blue lid bin recycling. Contamination cost council tax payers (you!) money because it costs more to process contaminated waste and the Council can be fined for non-compliance. The focus of campaigns has been on areas where people have been putting the wrong stuff into blue lid bins. It was great to see that Abernethy is not on the contamination naughty step, because you have been doing a great job of putting the right stuff into the right bins. Well done Abernethy!
What will Council Tax be?
At the time of writing, councillors are going through the annual budget review process. Behind the scenes, there will much deliberating about what services to stop or start providing, what new initiatives to support, or not support and ultimately how much council tax you will be paying from the 1st April. The budget meeting is scheduled for the 8th of March and all I can say at the moment is that I will never forget how hard people work to pay their council tax. If you have any thoughts or ideas on the budget, then get in touch using the details below.
Clow Square Bins.
A very nice couple contacted me about the mess that is caused when the Clow Square bins become full to the brim. This mess makes the square look awful and could cause smells and attract rats.
What concerned me was when the couple called the Council they were told to call Hillcrest Housing Association and when they called Hillcrest they were told to call the council. So I emailed the high heid yins at PKC and Hillcrest to invite them to an on-site meeting to look for solutions, and they agreed. Because the meeting was outdoors and held in January, it was very purposeful and to the point. It seems that the mess could have been caused by people, obviously not from Abernethy, fly tipping into what looked like free skips. At the meeting, PKC agreed to provide bigger, more secure bins and Hillcrest agreed to provide security measures to deter fly tipping. In the longer term, Hillcrest will build a proper bin store, so that residents can have individual wheelie bins and can recycle more easily. Result!
Don’t Lose Your Vote.
On Thursday, 5th May, you’ll be asked to cast your vote to elect 3 Councillors for the Almond and Earn ward in Perth and Kinross Council.
If you are not sure if you are already registered to vote then contact the local Electoral Registration Officer by emailing email@example.com or call 01738 630303.
• You can now register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. You can also register to vote by post by downloading and printing off a voter registration form
• Everyone is responsible for registering themselves.
• You will need to provide a few details to register - including your national insurance number and date of birth. This makes the electoral register more secure.
• Look out for a confirmation to say you're registered.
To find out more go to www.gov.uk/yourvotematters
It’s the start of March and everyone will be feeling that “The days are getting longer, it won't be long, Won't be long 'til summer comes.” The last couple of years have been unusual to say the least, but hopefully all the restrictions will end soon and we can all get back to some sort of normal.
If you think I can be of any help then please let me know. People are fed up of me saying that I won’t make promises I can’t keep, but I’ll do my best to help.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07767006275