Council may pass on cost of festive electricity
Councillors have unanimously voiced opposition to proposals to charge communities for electricity used on Christmas lights.
Aberdeenshire Council is considering making groups pay for the power from next year as it looks to save around £11,000.
Community groups across the area buy, maintain and erect the displays and cover costs through fundraising.
The Banff and Buchan area committee is united against the plan.
Councillor Charles Buchan said: “I am really worried about the reputational damage to the council.
“It would just decimate or even worse the whole idea of Christmas lights, which we need to make our towns attractive.”
Mr Buchan was speaking
“I would not like to see any of our communities not having lights”
to the Banff and Buchan area committee in Fraserburgh yesterday.
Councillor Mark Findlater argued that the potential savings did not add up.
He added: “It is a drop in the ocean and, as far as I am concerned, we should be supporting our local groups. I am sorry but I would not like to see any of our communities not having festive lights.”
Councillor Brian Topping said it was an “insult” to those who work to decorate their communities.
He said: “I am very surprised, if not astonished, that the current administration actually allowed this report to see the light of day.
“As for the council wanting to charge for electricity to operate Christmas lights in our communities, to me it is an absolute insult to the kind-hearted, hardworking volunteers who freely give up their valuable time year after year.”
The council said the possible policy was intended to create a consistent approach to allow them to control future costs.
The local authority will discuss the idea next year.