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.
During a debate about the future of Highland Council finances, Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson, has challenged the Scottish Government to be more open about the funding they provide for local councils across Scotland. "In recent years' we’ve seen too much smoke and mirrors when it comes to the Scottish Government handing out their annual grant to local councils.
The Highland Council has agreed to set up a Commercial Board amongst a range of other recommendations to redesign the Council, including strengthening local democracy. The establishment of Commercial Board aims to create a step change in income generation with a social purpose in mind.
Highland Council is delighted and honoured to have been announced as the ‘Most Improved Local Education Authority' and top performing Council in Scotland in Stonewall's seventh annual Education Equality Index. This extremely welcome announcement was made at Stonewall's Education for All conference held yesterday (28 June) at the University of Birmingham.
FREE Wifi will be extended across the city centre in Inverness this summer. The free service, "Ness Wifi", will be rolled out in the second phase of the Inverness City WiFi project.
Highland council will hear from the finance director Derek Yule on Thursday 29th June 2017 when he speaks on his paper "Financial Outlook 2018 - 2023". The outlook for council finances as set out in the paper Financial Outlook 2018 - 2023 is for five years of cuts and reductions in services as the forecast is for reduction in grant income of 2%, 3.5% or 5% which would produce a budget gap of £129 million to £187 million over 5 years.
A new service for the bereaved in Highland is launched today by The Highland Council called ‘Tell Us Once'. The service will ensure that when a death is registered in the Highland area, a notification is automatically issued to most government agencies which removes the need for grieving families to notify multiple public bodies.
A £10 million fund to build affordable homes across the Highlands has been announced by Housing Minister Kevin Stewart today (23rd June). The Highland Infrastructure Fund is a partnership with The Highland Council and will support and accelerate the delivery of affordable housing across the region.
The Leader of The Highland Council has written to HMICS to express concerns regarding a potential change to the creation of a single National Database Enquiry Unit (NDEU) for the whole of Scotland, based in Inverness. Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson said: "I have written to the Mr Penman HMICS to express my concerns regarding the proposed changes to the Inverness Police Control Room.
The Highland Council's People Committee has agreed membership of the Council's new Adult Services Development and Scrutiny Sub-Committee. The Adult Services Development and Scrutiny Sub-Committee will ensure specific consideration is given to the delivery of adult social care services, as part of an integrated approach to all community care services, and will oversee on behalf of the People Committee, the commissioning of social care services for adults from NHS Highland.
The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan (PFOW MSP) has won the Excellence in Plan Making Practice category at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2017. The awards were held in London on 15 June.
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