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Speyside shows way ahead in green travel

By Lorna Thompson

A GREEN transport event this weekend will show how investment is opening up travel options for people in Speyside.

Moray Council will host the event at Alice Littler Park in Aberlour on Sunday, June 16, from noon-4pm.

Organisations including Home Energy Scotland, Sustrans, HiTrans, Outfit Moray, Living Streets, Moray Carshare and Dicksons of Inverness will be on hand to discuss how sustainable transport initiatives are changing how people go about everyday travel in the area.

Visitors can try out electric bikes and cars, and a range of other bikes.

The initiative forms part of an £810,000 grant awarded to the council by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge project, and Transport Scotland, to encourage Speyside communities to explore options to swap to low-carbon and active travel modes for everyday journeys.

An electric car charging point.
An electric car charging point.

Council convener Councillor Shona Morrison said: "Speyside has welcomed significant investment in low-carbon travel initiatives, which will help transform the way people travel in the area.

"I’m interested to hear from residents and visitors alike how they’re embracing these opportunities."

In August last year plans were made to set up a low-carbon car charging hub in Speyside with the money, as well as fund an upgrade of the Speyside Way from Craigellachie to Carron to make the path suitable for cyclists and provide a safe route linking communities away from the busy A95 trunk road. The council said its contractor was due to start significant construction work on the Speyside Way within the next fortnight. This is due to be completed by the end of October.

It was also planned to install two rapid chargers at Aberlour – one for charging public buses. A fast charger was also planned for the local car club to promote car and e-bike use by its members. The charging hub was to include open cycle storage and bike repair stations along the Speyside Way.

Locations for the electric vehicle chargers now have been finalised in discussions with the local community. Work has started on procuring the EV chargers for installation later this year. The council said cycle storage has been purchased for installation at Fiddich Park car park, Craigellachie, and within Aberlour, and will be installed within the next two weeks.

Moray Carshare will be setting up an e-car and e-bikes sharing scheme and this is expected to go live in October, once one of the car chargers has been installed to support it.

All works must be completed by December this year when the funding runs out.

Meanwhile, a pioneering electric bus service which cuts emissions by up to 70% is being piloted this week in rural Moray.

For the first time communities between Aberlour and Forres will be connected by public transport through investment from the Scottish Government's Green Bus Fund and ERDF funding. The HiTrans project will be operated by the council. The m.connect service launches on June 13.

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