This is a short message to update you on activities relating to the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP). Enabling activities: Following last week's news that the Reporter appointed to lead the Public Local Inquiry (PLI) into the Berriedale Braes Improvement Scheme had recommended that the proposed Improvement Scheme should go ahead unamended, it was good to hear this week from Humza Yousaf MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands, that work will now be undertaken to progress the scheme through the remaining statutory processes.
Highland Council is reminding pupils, parents and carers how to find out if their local school is closed or school transport is affected in anticipation of Storm Barbara hitting the north west of Scotland. Information on school closures is uploaded to the Council's school closures website www.highland.gov.uk/schoolclosures from 7am each morning School closure messages can be heard on the ‘school closures information line' by phoning 0800 564 2272 (with a school PIN number) to get the latest pre-recorded message from the head teacher of r child's school.
The latest findings of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Business Panel survey have been published (Tuesday 20 December). A total of 1,004 businesses throughout the region took part in the survey between 29 September and 3 November.
There could be more Scottish tatties on Christmas dinner tables across the UK this year. While there was a 5% drop in UK production this season, 2016 was a better year for potatoes up north.
DINGWALL, Dingwall & Highland Marts Ltd., (December, 20th) sold 35 prime cattle. Prime bullocks (6) averaged 206.0p (+2.6p) and sold to 216.0p per kg and £1,414.80 gross.
Reacting to the Scottish Government's Budget Settlement for 2017-18, Budget Leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Bill Fernie said:"Disappointingly, our worst predictions are realised in that there has been a real cash cut to councils of £350 million. The devil will be in the detail, but an early analysis equates this to a significant cut in the grant to our core budget.
"Not content with trying to dismantle Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) Board, the Scottish Government are now cutting the budget to this important organisation," said Highlands Regional MSP, Rhoda Grant. “Today we learned that the basic Government grant to the HIE is to be cut by £7.5 million from £74.5 million to £67 million.
Week Commencing 12 December 2016 Energy & business services: Good to see news yesterday (Thursday) that the second phase of the Meygen project has reached financial closure, allowing construction to take place in the inner sound of the Pentland Firth in 2017. The project will be taken forward by Stroma Tidal Power Ltd, a wholly owned company of Atlantis Resources Ltd.
Since the introduction of Decriminalised Parking at Highland Council in October, the demand for Inverness Parking Permits has increased dramatically. This has seen the number of applications and permits issues increase from around 80 per month, to an average of 210 per month in October and November.
Highland Council is introducing pay and display parking at its headquarters car park as part of its Decriminalised Parking Enforcement Schemes. Cllr Allan Henderson, Chair of the Council's Community Services Committee said: "This change has come from a savings proposal agreed by Council in the December 2014 budget for implementation in 2015/16 to save £20,000 per year.
The Highland LEADER Programme is encouraging potential applicants to come forward with project ideas. Funding of over £6.6 million is available for projects that will benefit communities across the Highlands.
Speaking after attending today's COSLA meeting, Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson said: "The Highland Council’s services, along with other Local Authorities’, have been cut to the bone after years of real terms reduction in funding from the Scottish Government. Since 2010/11 the Council has made savings of £135m, with £39m in this year alone.
DINGWALL, Dingwall & Highland Marts Ltd., (December, 13th) sold 41 prime cattle. Prime bullocks (13) averaged 203.4p (+3.4p) and sold to 216.0p per kg and £1,447.95 gross.
Nominations now open for Scottish Education Awards 2017. The search for the Highlands' brightest education stars is underway as nominations are open for the Scottish Education Awards 2017.
Customers across Aberdeenshire, Moray and the Highlands can now benefit from the convenience of using the Stagecoach Bus app to instantly buy and download day tickets to their smartphone. Payments via the app can be made by PayPal, or via debit or credit card.
Energy & business services: I met this week with RES Offshore, who are working on the Dounreay Tri project, which is seeking consent to build a floating offshore wind demonstrator at a site north of Dounreay. Myself and Alan Ogg of North Highland College met with Senior Developer Jack Farnham to discuss the potential for jobs associated with the operation & maintenance of the project.
Members of The Highland Council will be asked to approve a proposed scheme to make workforce reductions at the Council meeting on 15 December. The Employee Early Release Scheme (EERS) is designed to make reductions in the council workforce in a way that is affordable and in line with the reductions in funding available for the 2017/18 budget.
The Highland Licensing Committee is recommending a number of changes to existing taxi fares following an annual review. The proposed changes, which would take effect from end March next year, are: • Increase Tariff 1 running mileage from £1.40 to £1.50 per mile; •Increase waiting time from the current £18.00 per hour to £25 per hour.
New law which makes it illegal to smoke in a vehicle carrying anyone under 18 came into force on Monday 5 December. The legislation was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament last year.
Introducing 'THE OLD SALT STORE' at Heat Centre, Burn Street, WICK, the new in-store shop stocking Cookware, Dinnerware, Bakeware and Drinkware including Le Creuset and Denby. Opening hours Monday to Friday - 0900 hours to 1700 hours Saturday - 1000 hours to 1600 hours.