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.
Last week, The Highland Council issued rent suspension orders (RSO) in relation to a number of properties being operated as unlicensed houses in multiple occupation (HMO). The orders, which have been served on the owners and tenants, mean that the tenants are no longer under any obligation to pay rent to their landlord.
The Leader of The Highland Council Councillor Margaret Davidson welcomed the First Minister's announcement of a Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to deliver much needed improvements to tourist infrastructure to support the rising numbers of visitors to the Highlands. This comes the week after figures were published for August which showed Highland visitor attractions were performing 17% higher compared to August last year, a result that is backed by accounts from residents and businesses that the area has been hugely popular with visitors this season.
The Highland Council is ready for winter and prepared to grit council roads as the council's winter maintenance programme starts on 14 October. Trunk roads in Highland are the responsibility of Transport Scotland and their operators Bear Scotland.
Trading Standards are looking for young people to take part in test purchasing exercises. We want to find out which shops are breaking the law by selling age restricted products to young people under 18.
Caithness Civic leader Cllr Willie Mackay (centre) cuts the tape at the opening of the newly refurbished half mile Killimster Moss stretch of the B876 Wick to Thurso road. Looking on are some of the Highland council workers praised for the project which was done on time and within budget.
Caithness Civic Leader Cllr Willie Mackay has welcomed the reopening of the B876 Killimster Moss Road. A stretch of the Caithness Wick to Thurso road at Killimster Moss was refurbished over a four week programme of improvement and reopened on Friday 29 September.
A chance to have your say. Voters are being invited to have their say on a review of polling places throughout the Highland Council area The Council has today (Monday 2 October 2017) launched a consultation over its review of election polling districts and polling places.
The Scottish Government is allocating £1 million to improve school libraries over the next three years. Launched today by the Deputy First Minister, the School Library Improvement Fund will be open for education authorities to apply for funding on behalf of school libraries in their area.
The Scrutiny Lead for The Highland Council, Cllr Matthew Reiss responded to the decisions made today by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) at their meeting in Inverness. He said: "We are naturally deeply disappointed by the decisions today to close the Inverness Control Room and to spread the National Database Enquiry Unit between Inverness and Govan.
The by-election for a councillor to represent the Tain and Easter Ross Ward on The Highland Council has been won by Alasdair Rhind (Independent) who was one of six candidates who contested the vacancy. The bi-election was brought about by the resignation of Jamie Stone following his success in the Westminster elections He joins Councillors Fiona Robertson (Independent) and Derek Louden (SNP) in representing Ward 7 on The Highland Council.
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