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.
The Highland Council's Planning Performance Framework has been agreed for submission to the Scottish Government. All Planning Authorities in Scotland are required to submit an annual Planning Performance Framework to the Scottish Government, setting out how they have performed over the previous financial year.
Leader of the Highland Council Margaret Davidson commented following her meeting with Police Scotland on 16 August 2017, saying: "I am very grateful to ACC Hawkins and other officers for a very candid and useful meeting and for providing the information which we requested. "I remain, however, extremely disappointed in the recommendation going to the SPA and the poor governance in that decision making process.
Members have today approved proposals to expand the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal funded free open public Wi-Fi system to 14 towns across the Highland. Towns recommended for the free Wi-Fi programme are Alness, Aviemore, Dingwall, Dornoch, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Invergordon, Nairn, Portree, Tain, Thurso, Ullapool and Wick.
The Council has agreed to updated developer contributions for the delivery of new schools in the Inverness area. Taking account of the forecasted phasing of housing sites, school roll forecasts indicate that 13 Primary Schools in Inverness will be under pressure within the next 5 years.
Motorists are advised of a temporary road closure in Caithness to allow repairs to be carried out to approximately 1km of the B876 at Killimster Moss. The road will be closed from 8am on Monday 28 August 2017 until 6pm on Saturday 30 September 2017.
The Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson, has urged the Scottish Government to start using devolved powers to mitigate the impact of benefit changes in the Highlands. The call follows a meeting with Inverness MP, Drew Hendry, where she discussed the problems created by the introduction of Universal Credit.
The Council is to review developer contributions for schools in the Inverness area. Taking account of the forecasted phasing of housing sites, school roll forecasts indicate that Primary Schools in Inverness are under pressure and require significant additional capacity to support growth.
One hundred and forty two probationer teachers who are on the Teacher Induction Scheme and a few probationer teachers on the Flexible Route were recently welcomed to the Highlands (on Friday 11 August 2017) at an induction course held in Smithton Free Church Hall. Bill Alexander, Highland Council's Director of Care and Learning welcomed the probationers saying: "It's really good to see so many young people starting their careers in education here in the Highland and I wish them all well.
Highland Council has written to the Wick Stakeholder Group, Wick High School Parent Council and Newton Park Primary School Parent Council to provide a statement of assurance regarding the new Wick Campus facility. The letter states: We refer to discussion at recent Wick stakeholder group meetings, at which a request was made for the Council to provide a statement of assurance regarding the new Campus facility, and to address media reporting and local concerns over recent months.
Members are to be asked to approve proposals to expand the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal funded free open public Wi-Fi system to 14 towns across Highland. Town centres recommended for the free Wi-Fi programme are Alness, Aviemore, Dingwall, Dornoch, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Invergordon, Nairn, Portree, Tain, Thurso, Ullapool and Wick.
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