ABERDEEN SOUTH & NORTH KINCARDINE CONSTITUENCY (Scottish Parliament)
AUDREY NICOLL MSP
An Aberdonian, Audrey Nicoll (nee Gibb) was elected as the MSP for ABERDEEN SOUTH & NORTH KINCARDINE on 6 May 2021, succeeding Maureen Watt.
Audrey was a police officer for 31 years, followed by 5 years as a lecturer at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. She became an SNP councillor for the Torry & Ferryhill ward of Aberdeen City Council when she won a by-election on 21 Nov. 2019.
Convenor of the Criminal Justice Parliamentary Committee from 22 Jun. 2021.
Her husband, Alex Nicoll, is the SNP Group Leader in Aberdeen City Council, and they have a son, Sam.
Contact AUDREY NICOLL at her CONSTITUENCY OFFICE:*
51 Victoria Road,
Tel. 01224 876743 * Text relay calls welcome.
Office Hours: Monday to Friday. 10.00am to 4.00pm.
Tel.: 0131 348 5490 (Parliament).
* Staff are currently working from home.
When e-mailing the MSP’s office, please supply your ADDRESS in the constituency and other contact details. Also check out other news in FACEBOOK and TWITTER, by clicking on the links on this page.
CORONAVIRUS could be with us for some time
We have “come through the worst” of the Omicron variant, but it is essential that we do all we can to control it. Get vaccinated, and wear your mask in indoor settings, including shops and buses. Social distancing and working from home are still advised. Nicola Sturgeon says: “COVID is still with us, and could be for some time yet –- so we simply cannot afford to let our guard down.”
How we can help UKRAINE
AUDREY NICOLL MSP says: A phenomenal number of constituents have contacted me asking how they can donate and send supplies to people in Ukraine. The First Minister sent the following to MSPs outlining how we can help. If you want to help in any way, please log onto the Ready Scotland/Humanitarian website.
Tackling the COST OF LIVING crisis
KATE FORBES has announced that there will be more funding for families, in an effort to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.
Speaking on February 10, the Finance Secretary said that her 2022-23 Budget will include an extra £290million to be spent on “targetted assistance” for families on the lowest incomes, to help them to cope with steadily rising shop prices and energy bills. The measures were warmly welcomed by Audrey Nicoll, the SNP MSP for Aberdeen South & North Kincardine. The main points were:–
* £150 will be offered to every household in receipt of Council Tax reduction (in all bands).
* Local authorities will be allocated funding to pass on £150 to other occupied households, in Council Tax bands A to D. Councils will have the choice of delivering this either as a direct cash payment or as a credit to Council Tax accounts.
The cash is in addition to the £120million allocated to local government to hold down Council Tax increases in the coming year.
It is estimated that these measures will benefit 1.85million (or 73%) of Scottish households.
* £10million will go into the Government’s Fuel Insecurity Fund for 2022-23, to help households most at risk of disconnection or self-rationing due to unaffordable fuel costs.
* Businesses adversely affected by the pandemic will receive additional support. This will include £16million for cultural and major events, and £3million for small and medium-sized enterprises.
* The childcare sector will also receive a further £6.5million.
### For more details, click on the SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT link on this page.
WORKPLACE Equality Fund
Originally set up in 2018, the Scottish Government’s Workplace Equality Fund aids employers in identifying, addressing and diminishing long-standing barriers facing particular priority groups in entering and progressing within the labour market.
The fund focuses on providing support for one or more of the following priority groups:– women; women returning to the workforce following a career break; disabled workers; minority ethnic workers; over-50s workers; workers experiencing gender-based violence; workers experiencing symptoms of the menopause; workers experiencing social isolation and/or loneliness; and veterans and their spouses.
On January 20, Audrey Nicoll MSP commented: “Through the Workplace Equality Fund, charities, third sector organisations, public sector organisations and private sector businesses can apply for up to £75,000 in each year of the fund to carry out activities that will improve diversity in the workplace. Applications are open until 11 April 2022, for any organisations or businesses that wish to apply for funding.”
A new deal for TENANTS
AUDREY NICOLL MSP welcomed the opportunity to speak in the 21 Dec. 2021 Holyrood debate regarding A New Deal for Tenants — affecting over 1.85million people living in Scotland’s rented sector. This is an extract from her address.
Presiding Officer. I draw Members’ attention to my register of interests. I am a councillor in Aberdeen City Council. A New Deal For Tenants is a crucial consultation to address long-standing issues in the rented housing sector — specifically: security, affordability, standards and regulation.
Like other North-East constituencies over recent decades, Aberdeen South & North Kincardine suffered sustained high rents, courtesy of the energy sector. Yet the reality is we continue to host poor-quality rented stock, particularly in Aberdeen City. Typically, dated council housing stock, now impacted by damp and mould, has largely gone unactioned. 59% of homes in Aberdeen are not energy-efficient, resulting in high fuel bills, high carbon emissions and residents unable to heat their homes to a comfortable level. Indeed, I currently have a local consultation under way with residents living in some of the poorest quality housing in my constituency, to identify the housing issues most impacting on them. And responses to date have been stark.
The local economy — once propped up by oil & gas — has been in decline, and this is reflected in the private rental sector where, between 2010 and 2014, rents consistently rose above the Scottish average, only to decrease rapidly since. This means today rents are largely the same as they were a decade ago. Some private housing developments that had commenced before then have become unprofitable or even collapsed, impacting the supply of badly-needed social housing, and also the delivery of developer obligations such as schools. We face the bizarre paradox where there is now an overprovision of private rented properties. Yet, in June 2020, the waiting list for council houses was over 6,000.
Regrettably, Aberdeen City Council‘s commitment to build 2,000 new homes has fallen short, with only 900 completed to date — adding to an already significant shortage of affordable housing in the city. Presiding Officer. It is safe to say local change is needed, starting with genuine commitment to build more high-standard affordable homes and, where feasible, retrofitting existing homes to make them warm, dry and more liveable. I welcome our commitment to build 110,000 affordable homes over the coming decade but, within that, I want to see local projects driven by what is required in housing areas, and not what developers choose to include in a project specification. In other words: “the tail wagging the dog.”
On 3 December 2021, AUDREY NICOLL MSP said: “It was great to join Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Higher Education, Further Education, Youth Employment & Training, at North East Scotland College today, to launch College Sector Statement of Ambition 2021-2026, that sets out how our colleges will support Scotland’s economic recovery.”
► North East Scotland College (NESCol) was established on 1 November 2013, with the merger of Aberdeen College and Banff & Buchan College. (Aberdeen College came from the amalgamation of the former Aberdeen Technical College, Aberdeen College of Commerce and Clinterty Agricultural College).
The main NESCol campus is at Gallowgate (pictured) in Aberdeen, with other city sites at Altens and Clinterty. The college has a campus in Fraserburgh, learning centres in Ellon and Inverurie, and operates the Scottish Maritime Academy in Peterhead. Training is also provided in a number of community settings in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. The college has over 7,000 full-time and 14,000 part-time students. The major subject areas are: engineering, science & technology, creative industries, computing & business enterprise and service industries.
New RAILWAY STATIONS for south Aberdeen?
Could the Aberdeen suburbs of Cove and Altens, and Newtonhill in Aberdeenshire, be in line to get new rail stations?
This is one of the possibilities being considered by NESTRANS, the transport partnership for Aberdeen City and Shire. To guage public opinion, it has commissioned American consultants AECOM to undertake a multi-modal study of the “transport corridor” between Aberdeen and Laurencekirk. The main aim of the study is to identify options for achieving increased rail and bus public transport, and also cycling and walking along the route. The survey will build on previous research over recent years, and is being supported by Transport Scotland’s Local Rail Development Fund.
► The North East of Scotland Transport Partnership (or NESTRANS) began work as a statutory transport partnership on 1 April 2006. The partnership covers the City of Aberdeen and the wider Aberdeenshire area. Its Board is made up of Councillors from Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, as well as members appointed by the Transport Minister. It is one of the seven Scottish transport partnerships, which provide a co-ordinated approach to transport planning and delivery between local authority areas in the country.
On 21 September 2021, Audrey Nicoll MSP encouraged her constituents to submit their views on the consultation. The online survey ran from 20 Sept. to 18 Oct. 2021. For more details, go to the NESTRANS website.
Saving St. FITTICK’S PARK
Under a Local Development Plan by Aberdeen City Council, the status of Saint Fittick’s Park and Doonies Farm in the Torry area of the city have been changed from protected greenspace into opportunity sites for industrial development, as part of an Energy Transition Zone (ETZ).
There will be sites for wind turbine construction and other infrastructure, in the hope that this will encourage ‘green’ companies to come to the area. In addition to being the MSP, Audrey Nicoll is also a Torry local councillor. On 16 September 2021, she said: “I welcomed the opportunity to speak in yesterday’s important debate in Parliament about St Fittick’s Park — a hugely important issue for my constituents in Torry, and for people who regularly enjoy the benefits of this local asset.” The following are extracts from her statement:–
“In February 2020, St. Fittick’s found itself included in the draft Aberdeen City Council Local Development Plan (LDP), just weeks before approval as an area assisting energy transition. I put on record I supported an amendment proposing the sites be removed from the LDP and alternative sites found. This was defeated at vote. Hundreds of e-mails followed — literally hundreds. Didn’t I realise this was the last green space in Torry? Where are we going to go now? Friends of St. Fittick’s and others have made a powerful case to save the park.”
“An ETZ is an important economic opportunity for diversification from fossil fuels, and could have real benefit for the workforce of Aberdeen. However, it must be underpinned by broader Just Transition policy principles, where communities such as Torry are genuine partners and derive real and meaningful benefit. I welcome the commitment of ETZ Ltd. to community engagement and constructive dialogue, and I very much hope that all the decision-makers involved in the project embrace the principles of strong partnership — not just consultation. Community wealth-building and creative approaches that genuinely benefit the people of Torry. To conclude, Presiding Officer. There are options available in this regard. However, there is only one St. Fittick’s Park.”
On 17 August 2021, AUDREY NICOLL announced the opening of her AS&NK Constituency Office at 51 Victoria Road, Torry (pictured).
An experienced staff has also been appointed to assist in her Parliamentary duties. However, until restrictions are lifted they will be working from home, which is still recommended for the time being.
COUNCIL salary donated
AUDREY NICOLL MSP has been an Aberdeen City Councillor for Torry & Ferryhill since 2019.
Following the example of SNP colleague Jackie Dunbar MSP, she says she will donate her Council salary to “a range of good causes.” On 16 June 2021, Audrey added: “I’ve already been in touch with several fantastic local groups, and am privileged to support some amazing community-based projects, organisers and volunteers!”
** On 7 July 2021, she said: “I’m delighted to make a donation to the Cove Woodland Trust SCIO,to support this valuable community asset. A godsend for many during the pandemic, it is there 24/7 for all to enjoy. Thanks to all volunteers and organisers, and I’m looking forward to progress updates on the petanque court development.” The Trust owns and manages an area of approximately 16 acres (pictured), as natural woodland and a community park on behalf of the residents of Cove and Altens. The area is being improved by planting trees, improving paths, and adding to the facilities available to the public on the land.
** Future Choices said, on 20 July 2021: “It was a pleasure to meet with Audrey Nicoll, MSP for Aberdeen South & North Kincardine, to discuss with her the various challenges that Future Choices has gone through recently. Audrey was so understanding of both the huge challenges faced by disabled people and their carers, and happy to support the charity as much as possible in the near future, which we are incredibly grateful for. Audrey has donated £300 to our cause, and this will allow us to fund transport for those who are vulnerable and their carers in the Aberdeen South area to get to our weekly limited lunch club.”
EMPLOYMENT opportunities and initiatives
In a Parliamentary Question on 9 June 2021, AUDREY NICOLL MSP asked the Scottish Government about local employment opportunities for people, especially young people, as Scotland moves to a net-zero economy.
As this was an especially important issue for Aberdeen and the North-East, she was encouraged to hear that, among the plans, is a Green Jobs Workforce Academy and a Young Persons Guarantee, to help people find work in this emerging sector.
The creation of a Green Jobs Workplace Academy was announced by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes in her Budget statement on 28 January 2021. This will ensure that those re-skilling or facing redundancy can take advantage of green job opportunities as they emerge. These are expected to come from: (a) the transition to renewable heat, which could create between 16,000 and 17,000 skilled jobs over the next decade; (b) “the more-than ten-fold increase” in Scotland’s offshore wind sector which the Scottish Government deems possible by 2030; and (c) continued development of mature technologies, such as onshore wind and solar, and innovative ones like tidal and “floating wind”, needed to meet our net-zero target. The Academy will receive financial input of £100million from the Green Jobs Fund.
The Young Persons Guarantee means that everyone aged between 16 and 24 in Scotland will be guaranteed “an opportunity at university or college, an apprenticeship programme, employment including work experience, or participating in a formal volunteering programme”. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the youth guarantee is aimed at ensuring young people do not carry the economic scars of the coronavirus pandemic into adulthood. The £60million initiative will be backed by additional money for apprenticeships.
FIRST SPEECH in the Parliament
AUDREY NICOLL made her first Parliamentary speech as Aberdeen South & North Kincardine’s MSP on 1 June 2021.
She said: “I was honoured to make my first speech during the debate on the Scottish Government’s NHS Recovery Plan. It includes plans to address waiting times, launch a National Care Service and provide support, including mental health, for vulnerable people affected by the pandemic.” This is the first part of her address.
Thankyou Deputy Presiding Officer. It is truly an honour to be elected to this special place, as our nation begins its recovery from COVID-19. My grateful thanks to my campaign team, my loving family, activists and all my constituents in Aberdeen South & North Kincardine. I pay special tribute to Maureen Watt, the first Minister for Mental Health, for her lifetime commitment to the constituency. She will be a very hard act to follow. I go shamelessly big-up on Aberdeen South & North Kincardine — home to a thriving food and drinks industry, higher education, innovation and a stunning coastline. It is also home to a global energy sector. However, the sector is now experiencing a significant downturn, placing jobs and livelihoods at risk. This situation has been compounded by the pandemic and a disastrous Brexit, and created a perfect storm that has had a profound effect on many, specifically their mental heath.
Following a 31-year policing career, I joined the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedic Practice at the Robert Gordon University, delivering nurse education across the health and policing intershift. Never did I imagine that when lecturing to my First Years on global health challenges, weeks later that they would be facing the prospect of their first placements on the front-line of one. I pay tribute to them all, to all NHS staff and all my colleagues who also returned to the front-line. I pay tribute to former colleagues in the emergency services, particularly Police Scotland, who had to balance daily law enforcement duties using emergency COVID legislation, and responding to the growing demands for mental health distress. Deputy Presiding Officer. I’m pleased to focus my first speech on mental health, in support of the motion today.
The SNP : Delivering for ABERDEEN
AUDREY NICOLL reminds us what the SNP Government has delivered in the city since 2007:–
► Investing in 13 new schools, including Lochside Academy.
► Providing 9,141 new homes, including over 1,600 Council and Housing Association homes.
► Supporting small businesses, with over £230million from the Small Business Bonus.
► Helping families on low incomes with the Best Start Grant, the Scottish Child Payment and the Carers Allowance Supplement.
► Completing the £745million AWPR Aberdeen bypass.
► Upgrading the A92-A96 Haudagain junction and replacing homes in Middlefield.
► Starting work on the £350million South Harbour in Nigg Bay.
Preparing for our NATION’S FUTURE
The SNP Government’s SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM BILL was published on 22 March 2021. It includes:–
►The TIMING: A decision for the Scottish Parliament to take.
►The QUESTION: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Yes/No.
►The FRANCHISE: Extend the right of foreign nationals to vote.
Read more at: https://www.gov.scot/
STUC backs REFERENDUM
At its meeting on 21 April 2021, delegates to the Scottish Trades Union Congress backed this motion:–
“Congress believes that the right to hold a Referendum should lie with the Scottish Parliament as elected by its people. Congress calls on the General Council to be proactive in ensuring this right to sef-determination is upheld, including the holding of a Referendum on Independence, with or without the consent of the UK Government.”
UNISON’s Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said: “UNISON is proud of the role it played in delivering devolution We were part of the movement which came together from across Scottish society, and which won a Scottish Parliament over 20 years ago. The principle then was that the form of Government of Scotland is a matter for the people of Scotland to decide.”
The SNP’s ACHIEVEMENTS for Scotland
AUDREY NICOLL says: “Since 2007, every home in Scotland has benefited in some way from SNP Government policies.”
We have transformed education, strengthened our NHS, created a new social security system with new game-changing benefits, and built thousands of affordable homes ♦We’ve used our powers to build a fairer country, by making Scotland’s tax system more progressive –- and launched the Scottish National Investment Bank to invest in our future. ♦ Internationally, Scotland has been recognised for its global responsibility, progressiveness and social conscience –- receiving praise from the UN for our climate action, for example. ♦ After a decade of Westminster cuts, we’ve got on with the job of delivering the best public services anywhere in the UK.
Here are some of our top achievements:–
1. Baby Box. Giving every baby born in Scotland the best start in life, by providing families with a Baby Box filled with essential items needed in a child’s first six months.
2. Childcare. 600 hours of early learning and childcare, saving families up to £2,500 per child per year. In August 2020, over 60% of funded children were accessing 1,140 hours, worth around £4,500 per child per year.
3. Free Tuition. Students in England face tuition fees up to £27,750. Scottish students receive university tuition free.
4. Period Poverty. Scotland is the first in the world to make sanitary products available to all those who need them, free of charge.
5. Record high health funding. Our latest health and care portfolio spending will exceed £16billion, with resource funding up by over 60% under the SNP.
6. Free prescriptions. Prescription charges were abolished in Scotland –- now cost £9.15 per item south of the border.
7. Lower Council Tax. Every Scottish household benefits from cheaper tax bills – on average £500 less than England, and we’re delivering a national Council Tax freeze.
8. Care For All. Free personal and nursing care has been extended to everyone who needs it, regardless of age.
9. Free Bus Travel. Over one million Scots now enjoy free bus travel across the country, including over-60s and disabled people –- and we’re now expanding it to all under-19s.
10. Scottish Child Payment. This new benefit for families, the only one of its kind in the UK, has been called “game-changing” by anti-poverty campaigners, and will help lift around 30,000 children out of poverty.
Boost for VICTORIA ROAD SCHOOL project
The 19th century school closed in 2008, and initial plans to demolish the well-loved granite building were fiercely opposed by locals.
Their perseverance paid off when the Grampian Housing Assoc., in partnership with the Torry Development Trust, acquired the site from Aberdeen City Council in Sept. 2018. The partnership’s plans to transform the existing building into affordable housing got a major boost when the project received £1.4million from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.
Audrey Nicoll, who is a Torry councillor in addition to being the SNP’s Aberdeen South & North Kincardine candidate in May 2021, expressed her appreciation on 27 January 2021. She said: “The volunteers on this project have worked unbelievably hard to ensure the building meets the needs of the community. I welcome the funding from the Scottish Government to regenerate and revitalise key community buildings throughout the country. The Victoria Road School Development will benefit from a share of more than £25million of funding going to remote and disadvantaged communities to support regeneration and employment. This could not have come at a better time.”
► And the latest on TORRY ACADEMY. On 1 Feb. 2021, Audrey Nicoll said: “At last week’s meeting of Aberdeen City Council’s Capital Programme Committee I asked for an update on the situation at the old Torry Academy. Council officers are aiming to complete demolition of the building by May, with construction of the new Primary School and Community Hub commencing in June. I will be monitoring progress on this.” On March 13, Audrey said: “Big sigh of relief the demolition is now underway and building work can commence as soon as possible. The project cannot be delayed any further. This facility will be so important for Torry children picking up their learning again in their new school.”
SCOTTISH CHILD PAYMENT
The Scottish Government Budget for 2021-22, presented by Cabinet Secretary for Finance KATE FORBES on 28 January 2021, included substantial funding for social security & welfare, including the ground-breaking Scottish Child Payment (SCP).
To help with the costs of supporting a family, parents can now claim £10 a week for every eligible child under 6 years of age. Decisions on applications will begin on February 15, with the first payments reaching families a week later. Claimants are encouraged to apply now, to ensure their payment is calculated from this date. However, Social Security Scotland is expecting a high number of claims, which may cause inevitable delays. Successful applicants will receive their payment every four weeks. Parents can use the extra money for things like general childcare, nappies and other essentials and travel costs, etc. Only one person can get SCP for a child. This means that if two people apply for the same child, Social Security Scotland will decide who is to get the money. This payment does not affect any other UK or Scottish Government benefits that a parent, or any person in his/her household, currently receives.
The additional support announced for families with young children was warmly welcomed by Audrey Nicoll, who said: “One of the highlights of the Budget was the £3.5billion earmarked for Social Security and welfare payments. This includes £68million for the Scottish Child Payment, which will have the potential to lift 30,000 children out of poverty.” Over the course of the Holyrood five-tear term, a re-elected SNP Government would double the payment for every eligible child to £20 per week.
### For more information, Google “Scottish Child Payment.” Or call Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222.
For details of the Budget, click on the SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT link on this page ►
SOUTH HARBOUR opens this year
The £350million South Harbour in Nigg Bay is due for completion in October 2022. Delays in its construction were mainly caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Initially, the principal contractor was the Spanish Dragados SA, which began work on the North Breakwater in June 2017. However, three years later, the company decided to quit its involvement, citing the effects of the pandemic. Northern Ireland’s Ashleigh Contracts Ltd. was then appointed to complete work on the breakwater in July 2020.
Van Oord of Rotterdam, Netherlands was mainly responsible for the South Breakwater at Greg Ness, while Beattie FRC Ltd. of Grangemouth constructed the crown wall along the length of the completed North Breakwater. The French Advanced Precast Systems (APS) manufactured about 9,000 giant concrete accropodes on-site, which now line both breakwaters. Once operational, the harbour will add 1,700 metres of quay length to service the offshore oil, gas and wind industries, cruise ships and ferries. It is envisaged this will create significant economic growth opportunities for the harbour and its customers, and the new port is considered of national infrastructural significance by the Scottish Government. Major funding for the project came from the European Investment Bank (€275million), Scottish Enterprise and the Aberdeen City Deal. In January 2022, this was augmented by a £30million loan from the state-owned Scottish National Investment Bank. Aberdeen Harbour Board said that the four quays of the port will be named Castlegate (North), Dunnottar (East), Balmoral (West) and Crathes (South), “in honour of the history and heritage of the North-East.”
In order to provide water deep enough to accomodate very large vessels, extensive dredging and some blasting of rock was necessary. The inevitable noise from revetment or blasting led to a considerable number of complaints from Torry residents. Local councillor Audrey Nicoll passed on their concerns to the Harbour Board, who responded: “We have brought the complaints from residents to the attention of our contractors and will continue to work with them to ensure their noise is being kept to a minimum. We will also be closely monitoring the data from our live noise monitors, particularly at night.”
It was to be expected that improved road links to the new harbour would be required. An initial plan to provide a link between Souter Head Road and the Coast Road was dropped. Local residents and SNP Cllr. Miranda Radley (who had pledged to oppose the route in her by-election campaign in November) had pointed out that this would have led to an unacceptable number of heavy goods vehicles in the Burnbanks village area. It is now recommended that the harbour will be mainly accessed via Wellington Road, Hareness Road and the Coast Road. The latter will be widened, and a new bridge constructed over the railway. On 7 Feb. 2021, Audrey Nicoll said: “At this week’s City Growth & Resources Committee meeting, the SNP members informed councillors of the significant safety concerns raised by residents. We proposed that HGVs should be prevented from accessing the harbour through the residential streets of Torry and Cove. However Tory, Labour and Independent councillors united to vote AGAINST the proposal.”
### For more information, click on: http://www.aberdeen-harbour.co.uk/
Kincardine WIND FARM
The world’s largest offshore floating wind farm is nine miles east of Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, and south of the ABERDEEN BAY Wind Farm.
Grupo Cobra (part of the ACS Group), of Madrid was in overall control of the £350million Kincardine Wind Farm development. It began with the trial installation of a 2.0MW turbine by Bourbon Subsea Services of Marseille, France in Oct. 2018.
The 3,000-tonne, triangular “WindFloat” semi-submersible floating platforms were designed by Principle Power Inc. of California and constructed by Windar Renovables SL at Aviles and Navantia-SEPI at their shipyard at Fene-Ferrol in Spain. Boskalis NV of Papendrecht, Netherlands shipped the foundations to Rotterdam, where five 590ft. tall, 9.5MW turbines, manufactured by MHI Vestas A/S of Aarhus, Denmark, were mounted on them.
Boskalis then towed the completed turbines to the Kincardine coast, and installed them in Dec. 2020–July 2021. A cable connection goes to Altens (east of the railway) and thence to the SSE Redmoss substation at Langdykes Road, Aberdeen. The wind farm is scheduled to generate enough power for 55,000 households for the next 25 years.
AUDREY NICOLL interview, 6 Nov. 2020
Q. Can you explain your motivation for wanting to become an MSP?
A. I have spent my working life in public service, serving as a police officer for 31 years, followed by five years of university lecturing. During this time, I was elected as a Councillor in the constituency. I am passionate about helping people who are at a vulnerable point in their lives. My professional background has helped me embrace my role and deliver results. I am now ready to use my talents and skills in a new sphere of political life, representing the constituency and, of course, securing the only option for the people of Scotland: independence.
Q. What first got you into politics?
A. The devastating outcome of the 2014 Referendum was a turning-point, when my long-standing interest in Scottish politics became a deeper personal passion. My husband is SNP group leader in Aberdeen City and I gradually became part of the SNP “family” in Aberdeen. Witnessing the consequences of Tory austerity in my policing role and the 2016 EU Referendum further reinforced my belief that the SNP is the only viable option for the future of Scotland.
Q. What’s your career experience beyond politics?
A. During my time in uniformed and specialist policing roles I was immersed in both operational delivery and policy development for public protection. After retirement, I lectured in the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedic Practice at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. I have built a wealth of professional experience in law and justice, health and education which I now use in my role as a Councillor.
Q. Why should the people of your constituency vote for you?
A. I know the constituency well. I am an Aberdonian and know the area’s history, demographics, attributes and challenges. I worked throughout the area for many years, in my policing role and as councillor for Torry & Ferryhill. I understand the challenges and expectations of elected office, and have invaluable insight into what we must do to develop our city for the future.
Q. If you’re elected, what do you hope to achieve?
A. The next Parliamentary session will see the social, economic and health impact of Covid-19 frame much of the work of MSPs. I want to support the development of economic policy that moves in line with public health policy, ensuring equity of access to support and opportunities by everyone who needs it. At a constituency level, I want Aberdeen to be the home of the energy transition that will offer opportunities to create new sustainable jobs. I want new rail stations built to improve connectivity in Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen, and even greater investment in safe, secure housing.
Q. With the powers of independence, what’s the one thing about Scotland you would change?
A. Scotland has seen a disproportionately low fiscal benefit from the North Sea oil and gas sector with significant revenue flowing directly to the UK Government. While this sector declined, the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government outlines a commitment to support businesses in growing and diversifying towards energy transition. Independence will bring an opportunity to have greater fiscal control, and also to set the pace for achieving our net-zero emissions target.
Q. Tell us something unusual about yourself?
A. I was vetted to top-secret level by the security service during my police career and remain passionate about protecting our national security, countering extremism, and tackling polarised debate and rhetoric in communities.
WINNING FOR SCOTLAND!
The SNP won all three ABERDEEN constituencies in the Scottish General Election on 6 May 2021.
Election Result: ABERDEEN SOUTH & NORTH KINCARDINE
Audrey Nicoll SNP 16,500
Liam Kerr Con. 14,829
Lynn Thomson Lab. 4,505
Ian Yuill Lib. Dem. 2,889
Stephen Jamieson Libert’n. 286
SNP HOLD. Maj. 1,671. Turnout 64.0%.