Xmas light charge a ‘travesty’

A shot from last year's Christmas light switch on
A shot from last year's Christmas light switch on

Two local councillors have spoken out against proposals by Aberdeenshire Council to charge community groups for the cost of electricity used by Christmas light displays.

The move followed a meeting of the Garioch Area Committee where councillors were asked their views on the proposed new policy for festive light displays.

Among the proposals from the council were that community groups should be liable for the cost of the electricity used by the festive displays.

At the meeting, both councillors spoke out against the charges as an unfair burden on voluntary groups.

Commenting, East Garioch councillor Glen Reid said: “Across our towns and villages, volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year to raise the funds to maintain and erect the communities Christmas lights.

“The council must not add another expense to the burden that these people already face.

“There is a real prospect, if they are asked to pay for the electricity supply on top of all the other charges, that eventually some of our communities will end up with no lights for their celebration and that would be a travesty.”

Inverurie and District councillor Neil Baillie agreed adding: “I welcome the recommendations of improving the health and safety associated with voluntary community groups putting up festive lights and fixtures.

“However, there must be further consultation with them on this plan to help reduce any financial burden on the volunteers who fundraise for festive lights.

“This can be done by helping with the cost of electricity, public liability insurance and survey fees for identified groups.

“We have to recognise and help the community groups and volunteers who give up their own time, and work hard to light up the North East at the festive time of year we all enjoy.”

The issue is set to be decided at a meeting of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee later this month.