Stonehaven’s Christmas tree is being monitored during stormy weather after it was almost knocked down in high winds earlier this month.
Police were forced to cordon off a section of the busy Allardice Street on December 6 after the tree began to lean dangerously towards the road in high winds.
Community councillor Phil Mills-Bishop, who helped to organise the tree, said: “A member of the public contacted me about their concerns on the tree. I contacted Aberdeenshire Council Emergency telephone number to be told it was not their responsibility and I should call the Police. I had no option but to call the Police. They responded immediately and were great, but they were not able to stand down until the tree was declared safe. I could not do that, I am not an engineer.
“Aberdeenshire Council originally said it was the responsibility of the community council. The organising, decorating and co-ordinating which I did on behalf of the Community Council is no problem but when it comes to erecting the tree in the Public space and in terms of Health and Safety, none of the Community Council are qualified or would want to be responsible for saying that a 35ft Christmas Tree weighing in a a ton or more is secure and safe. That has to be the responsibility of Aberdeenshire Council. Eventually Aberdeenshire Landscaping relented and sent an engineer who rearranged the securing wedges and declared it was safe and we all went home. As an added precaution I arranged for the star on top of the tree to be removed. It was heavy and causing the top part of the tree to bend over in the wind. I now have the mobile number of the Aberdeenshire Council engineer to call out should situation necessitate it with forecast high winds.”
Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Roads and Landscape Services, Philip McKay, said: “Officers have been checking the steadiness of the Christmas tree in Stonehaven and are satisfied with the arrangements currently in place. However, as is the case with living trees, during extreme weather events stability can sometimes be compromised, and appropriate remedial action will be taken if necessary.”