Leader raises concerns over handling of emergency calls in the Highlands
11th January 2017
The Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has written to the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Annabelle Ewing MSP, in relation to the recent press coverage on concerns raised about the handling of emergency calls in the Highlands and Islands.
Councillor Davidson said: "It does raise concerns over the Government's decision to close the Inverness Fire control room and transfer responsibility for handling emergency calls to Dundee. This is within the broader context of the impending transfer, this summer, of Police call handling from Inverness to a national service centre, which cannot become operational unless Police Scotland meets over 30 recommendations from the Penman report after the Lamara Bell incident.
"It is critically important that communities across the Highlands have confidence that when they need emergency assistance, it is provided as quickly and as effectively as possible.
"We have had an excellent service from our Fire and Rescue Service in the Highlands over the years and have good relationships with local staff, however, the continued move to centralisation of services away from the North has a detrimental impact on both local decision making and public confidence."
She went on to say: "I look forward to discussing these issues with the Minister at our meeting which is being arranged."
In the meantime, the Leader has written to the Chief Fire Officer to establish the facts of the matter and Chair of the Communities and Partnerships Committee, Cllr Hamish Fraser has been in discussion with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager for Highland.
Cllr Fraser added: “The Local Senior Officer has given me strong reassurances and I have now received initial information regarding some alleged incidents about the tasking fire appliances to respond to emergency calls in the Highlands. We will need to consider this information and have further discussion to seek assurances on the performance of the new control room and the appropriate deployment of emergency services across our area."
The Highland Council has responded to the news that the Board of The Highland Military Tattoo have taken the decision not hold another Tattoo. Provost of Inverness and Area Cllr Helen Carmichael said: "While we respect the decision of the Board of Directors of the Highland Military Tattoo, this is very sad news for the Highlands.
The Highland Council's chargeable garden waste brown bin collection service started on 3rd July 2017 and to date approximately 32,000 garden waste brown bin permits have been purchased. This accounts for 48% of households that previously received the Garden Waste Collection Service.
Pilot gives access to more than 120 libraries - and 1.6 million books. A pilot for a single card that can be used in any library has been launched in the north east.
The Highland Council received two awards at last week's Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning. One Award was in the "Process" Category for the Highland eDevelopment project and the second was in the "Place" category for the Nucleus Building in Wick.
The Highland Council is pleased to announce that the main phase of the work to construct the Kingussie Flood Alleviation Channel is now underway. The project is a joint venture between the Council and Pitmain Estate and is located on the Estate's land above the village of Kingussie.
The Highland Council achieved a 6% reduction in its year-on-year carbon emissions in 2016/17, equivalent to a saving of over 4,000 tonnes of CO2. In addition, thanks to a variety of energy efficiency measures implemented throughout the organisation, the Council saved almost £180k compared to the previous year, despite increasing energy costs.
Communities and developers will be invited to have their say in shaping a refreshed approach to dealing with developer contributions for developments across Highland. At today's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, members gave the go ahead for a six week public consultation on the Draft Developer Contributions Supplementary Guidance which will begin in early 2018.
Parent representatives from 206 Parent Councils across the Highland region have been invited to attend the Highland Parent Council Partnership conference which will be held on Saturday 18 Nov 2017 from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Guest speaker at the conference - to be held at Highland Council, Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness - will be John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.
The Highland Council have reviewed and updated the administrative procedures around miscellaneous and animal establishment licensing making it easier for people to access information and provide feedback. An online register of all applications is now published on the Council's website and the procedures are clear on how individuals or groups can raise concerns or object to applications for these types of licence.
The Highland Council remains on track to provide much-needed affordable homes for a growing population with a pledge in its Strategic Housing Plan 2018-2023 to approve 500 units each year of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership. Members of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee today (Wednesday 8 November) had the opportunity to discuss the Housing Investment Plan for 2018-2023 and to reaffirm the council's commitment to deliver new homes in the Highlands.
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