Last week, as part of my summer tour of the constituency, visiting businesses and meeting as many of my constituents as I can, I was delighted to drop in past Shepherd’s Loch Glamping Site near Crudie.
There, I met with Mick Stanley who is rowing his homemade boat “Tintanic II” around waterways across Britain to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
I also enjoyed a tour of the glamping site from Jamie and Monica Menzies and met with several campers, who had travelled from across the UK and beyond, to enjoy this unique attraction.
Tourism is extremely important to our local economy and here in Banff and Buchan we have no shortage of attractions and beautiful landscapes to offer from rolling hills to golden beaches and picturesque villages like Pennan and Crovie.
That is why it is so vital that our local communities look good and attractive to holidaymakers.
Many I have met supported my praise for the volunteers responsible for tending the magnificent hanging baskets and tubs around the Banff area.
However I am also aware of concern about neglected public spaces particularly the absence of the wonderful floral display that used to welcome you once you cross the bridge into Banff.
Such feel-good displays are vitally important for our own well-being as well as attracting tourists.
Now that things are returning to normal I will contact the council to see when this showcase flowerbed can be restored.
Much has been reported lately of plans to develop new oil and gas fields here in the UK.
The oil and gas industry is worth £18 billion to the north east economy, according to research by OGUK, providing around 64,000 jobs in this area.
However, it’s true that we need to reduce our dependency on oil and gas, and we are already in an energy transition away from fossil fuels towards low carbon and renewable sources of energy.
The UK will continue to have a demand for hydrocarbons for years to come and it is important to note that while that demand reduces, our domestic supplies are also reducing – and at a faster rate.
That is why it is important we manage the decline in both supply and demand utilising well established resources and expertise rather than become even more dependent on foreign imports than we already are.
The UK Government is committed to working with the oil and gas industry to manage the energy transition effectively as well as to support vital jobs and businesses.
Both the UK Government and the Scottish Government have committed to this journey to net-zero carbon emissions by making use of new technology such as carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Therefore, it is somewhat concerning that the SNP have made a deal with the Scottish Green Party.
The Greens are against ANY new oil and gas field development in the UK – regardless of the ongoing (yet declining) demand.
They are also against the concept of ‘net-zero.’
The Green Party want ‘absolute’ zero which is not only unrealistic and impractical, it also needlessly puts the economy and jobs at risk – as well as the UK’s position as a potential global leader in the process of energy transition.
Clearly, the SNP and Greens’ real priority is the breaking up – not the building up – of the United Kingdom.