It’s my Opinion

THE chief executive of Aberdeenshire Council is clearly a man of principle, for why else would he take a bus every week day to go to his work in Aberdeen all the way from Banff?

Colin Mackenzie embarks on his five day a week trip to make his point about saving the planet, being reluctant to leave a large carbon footprint. I applaud the former social worker’s initiative, but hope that more of his officials in the authority will be inspired by his example. It’s certainly a bold step, not usually taken by those so senior in any organization.

I am certainly not going to take anything away from him, but wonder if lesser mortals in Aberdeenshire who drive trucks have heard of the idea, or even know who Colin Mackenzie is?

They certainly don’t seem to know what being green is, or chose to ignore any concession to protecting the environment.

I am not, of course, talking about all drivers who work for the council, rather the one individual who starts his vehicle up at 7.45am and keeps the engine running for over an hour, for no other purpose than to keep him warm, as he sits there in his cab.

Not exactly making a contribution to going green, but probably not the only one who indulges in such damaging practices. There will be others, of that I am sure.

I just wonder if staff of Aberdeenshire Council have been given instructions, or even guidelines on the issue. If not I fear my old chum is wasting his time catching a bus from his Banff home to Woodhill House five days a week.

But perhaps I am being unfair on local councils, or indeed any other employer who faces the task of being productive and at the same time remaining committed to being kind to the environment.

I personally admit to using my car too much, even for short trips around East Gordon, though I’m impressed by Colin’s initiative, and am determined to cut back on driving. Although I am already a regular user of buses and trains, I could do better -and so could my lorry driver friend.

We all have a responsibility to meet green targets, including the Aberdeenshire councillor who disdainfully told a public meeting on bus services that he was too busy to use buses! Really? So, in fact, there is one law for the public - even officials - but another unwritten one for elected members? I think not.

In truth, while there is a belief that we can all play our part, I also think there are nagging doubts in some minds, including my own that we are a million miles away from a solution, and yet when I talk to very young children, including my own grandchildren, there is no question of them at having doubts. They are fully convinced we are on track to get it right, even if they’re not always able to take their mums and dads.

I’m with the children - I hate the use of the word kids, seeing them as sane influences for change.

So let’s back Mr Mackenzie’s initiative, but only if he can get his staff on board.