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Team effort on £712,695 fund for green transport projects around Huntly

By Pat Scott

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THE future looks green and increasingly pedal powered for Huntly and the area round about.

A fund of £712,695 has been secured by Huntly and District Development Trust (HDDT) for improved active and low carbon transport and travel opportunities.

Transport Scotland has contributed £213,808 and £285,078 has come from the European Regional Development Fund for investment in green and active travel hubs across two sites through the Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge Fund.

Other funding partners are Aberdeenshire Council which is contributing £80,000, Vattenfall’s Clashindarroch wind farm fund - £23,647 and HDDT itself is committing £110,161 to the project.

A separate successful bid to Paths for All’s Smarter Choices Smarter Places, matched by HDDT will fund a new locally based job as e-bike hire coordinator.

A town centre hub is to be created at 11 Deveron Street, which HDDT have bought, which will make it easy for people to access information and the equipment to move to a more active and low carbon lifestyle.

The hub will be the base for the hire of electric bikes and have details on walking and cycling routes, Huntly Car Club, public transport options and the Huntly Community Minibus.

Ten new electric bikes, smart lockers and improved community bike storage are part of the plans.

The hire coordinator will undertake a range of public-facing roles in the town centre and at Greenmyres to allow even more people to try e-bikes.

During lockdown, as people turned to outdoor pursuits, the e bikes were largely fully booked. Following a successful trial of hire bikes from HDDT, Glass Community Association is preparing to invest in their own for hire.

A satellite low carbon hub is to be created at Greenmyres - six electric vehicle charging points will be installed and powered by green electricity from HDDT’s turbine at the site.

A battery will store excess power from the turbine to charge electric vehicles when there is no wind and solar PV will be installed on the roof a workshop to charge the e-bikes.

Trust chairman, Jamie Wilkinson, is delighted with the progress and said: “HDDT is all about creating opportunities for our area as the world changes around us.

"This is a great example of how we are working with partners to help our community simultaneously meet a number of challenges - the urgent move to net zero, help us all become more fit and healthy, revitalise our town centre and make Huntly and district more attractive to visitors. We are delighted to be creating another local job.”

A spokesman for Vattenfall said: "I am delighted that the community fund is playing such a major role in supporting investment in a low carbon traffic and transport hub at Huntly.”

Preparatory work on the town centre and Greenmyres hubs will start in January and the project will be completed by September 2022. It is hoped the hire coordinator can start work around Easter.

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