A view from the Bridge

THE thorny issue of how to deal will illicit traveller camps in the North-east came under the scrutiny of Ellon community councillors this week.

There has been much focus and concern in the town in recent times regarding illegal encampments pitching up at various locations, the latest at Balmacassie.

But Ellon is just one among many communities up and down Scotland wrestling with the problem of how to resolve the tensions when the travellers decide to roll into town and set up camp.

There has been much debate at Government, council and local level about how best to deal with issue, but there is a crying need for someone, somewhere to grasp the nettle and finally find a long-term solution.

It is clear that the acute shortage of halting sites to accommodate the gypsy travellers is doing nothing to help the situation, yet we are continually assured that everything is being done to find a way to allow the settled and travelling communities to live side by side.

This would appear to have a hollow ring to it.

It is all very well identifying possible sites but there is an urgent need to get cracking and set them up, otherwise the solution to this age-old problem is going to remain as far away as ever.

In other news this week, villagers in Blackdog turned out in force for a public hearing into plans for an electricity sub-station linked to the windfarm development going ahead in Aberdeen Bay.

Battling pensioner Edna Booth, who has made her views known on the plans in this paper on more than one occasion, rallied local residents and they responded on Tuesday night by thronging the meeting and letting councillors and the developers know the strength of their feelings.

Villagers are concerned about the health risk as the project is proposed for a landfill site. Representatives of the developers say the risk is a low one and they will take every precaution to ensure safety before the work is carried out.

Formartine councillors are due to debate the issue again on Tuesday after holding off a decision last month to allow for a site visit and the public hearing.

They visited the location the other night, with local residents hard on their heels. The sub-station is believed to be vital for the 11-turbine development by European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), so it will be interesting to see the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting.

In sport, could the Barcelona bubble finally be about to burst? The Catalans are all but out of the Champions League after an awesome Bayern Munich trounced them 4-0 in their semi-final first leg in the Allianz Arena.

Barca were simply ripped apart and the looks on the faces of Xavi, Iniesta and others at the end said it all.

They have entertained with a brand of skilful, flowing football which has been a joy to watch. Despite leading La Liga by a handsome margin, the signs have been there that the Nou Camp side are not the force they once were. Time will tell.