Keeping the Highlands beautiful - Street Cleaning cuts reduced by two thirds
13th February 2017
Proposals going before The Highland Council on Thursday propose a reduction of £220,000 from a total budget of £3.029 million.
Budget Leader, Cllr Bill Fernie said: "In our original proposals were looking at a cut of £660,000 from the street cleaning budget, so the cut we are now proposing is significantly less by two thirds. We recognise that Street Cleaning makes a significant contribution to the attractive appearance of the Highlands for visitors, businesses and residents and therefore we have worked with officers to see how we can make a smaller cut, but mitigate the impact of this as much as possible.
“The effects of this saving can be mitigated through the development of a more strategic approach to tackling litter through increased engagement and enforcement, and the development of infrastructure to minimise the amount of litter created.
“The Council currently has a very high standard and over the last 6 years has been consistently ranked as in the top 5 councils for street cleanliness. It is proposed that existing standards are maintained in areas of high footfall such as City and Town Centres, and around tourist attractions and educational establishments. The savings will be realised by reducing street cleaning activity in residential areas and low usage routes throughout the Highlands. Mitigation can also be provided through improvements in efficiency and productivity through increased mechanisation and use of technology."
Cllr Fernie added: “We cannot as a council work in isolation to keep the streets clean. It is also a responsibility of individuals to keep their environment a pleasant and tidy one. Many countries are far less tolerant of littering in their culture and I hope that we can work with communities to build a different attitude towards our environment where everyone plays their own part in keeping the Highlands beautiful.”
The Council has a duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to keep its streets free from litter. The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse 2006 provides standards to which Councils should clean their streets, and a measurement system that allows Councils to monitor their performance both internally and nationally.
This measurement system, the Local Environmental Audit Management System, suggests that a score of 67 or above is acceptable. The latest audit of the cleanliness of the Council's streets undertaken by Keep Scotland Beautiful in August 2016 identified that the Council’s current score is 88.1
The indicator currently being used nationally by the Local Government Benchmarking Framework is the percentage of streets that are in an acceptable condition. Over the last 6 years the Council has consistently been ranked in the top 5 Councils in Scotland in terms of street cleanliness. There was a dip last year but the latest validation audit by Keep Scotland Beautiful indicates that the Council’s performance has improved significantly since then.
Members of the Communities and Partnership Committee have approved a new Polling Scheme to come into effect for the Election to Highland Council on the 4 May 2017. The decision comes after a review of Polling Places during which the public, politicians, community groups and those with expertise in access to premises for disabled people were invited to comment on the existing and proposed changes arrangements for Polling Districts and Polling Places.
The pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan is nominated for prestigious planning industry award. The Plan was developed by a working group consisting of Marine Scotland, Highland Council and Orkney Islands Council who are a finalist in the category for Excellence in Plan Making Practice at the Royal Town Planning Institute's (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence (external link) 2017.
The Highland Council has agreed a budget for 2017-18, which includes a council tax increase of 3%. A package of £10.689m savings were agreed for 2017-18, on top of £5.824m savings agreed in previous budgets.
From 1 April 2017 the Scottish Government is changing the basis on which properties are assessed for Council Tax and this will increase the charge for Council Tax properties that are banded E to H. The Highland Council has no discretion in this matter and must apply these increases to the Council Tax charges from 1 April 2017.
New cutting-edge careers spaces aimed at inspiring youngsters have opened in Inverness. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) Chair John F.
The Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson (Independent), has welcomed KLM's announcement today of a second daily service from Inverness to Amsterdam starting from 15 May 2017 to complement the existing service. Cllr Davidson said: "This news of a second daily flight between Inverness and Amsterdam is splendid news! This expanded service means we are better able to make the most of global connections between Schiphol and key markets throughout the world.
In another challenging financial year, the Highland Council Administration has pledged to protect education services in the 2017/18 budget. The Highland Council will consider next year's budget at its meeting on Thursday 16 February.
Member of the Caithness Area Committee have given the go-ahead to a project to improve the safety of pupils walking and cycling to and from Miller Academy in Thurso. £20,000 will be spent creating a footpath and installing a barrier with linings on the ground to make the usage of the drop off area at the school safer for pupils.
The long-term future of a section of Harbour Quay in Wick was secured last week when The Highland Council sold the historic buildings to Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL), ahead of plans to develop the disused buildings as part of the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Base for the Beatrice offshore windfarm development. This landmark transaction welcomes significant investment and job creation within the Conservation Area of Lower Pulteneytown.
Prospective candidates at the forthcoming Highland Council elections on 4 May 2017 and their agents are being invited to attend one of a series of six awareness briefing sessions being held by the Returning Officer, Steve Barron, Chief Executive of The Highland Council. The sessions will take place in Inverness, Fort William, Portree, Dingwall, Golspie and Wick.
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