Local Authority News
At the Caithness Area Committee on 22 October 2020 members unanimously confirmed their full support to the business case for Wick John O'Groats Airport to receive Public Service Obligation (PSO) status by putting forward a motion and reinforcing their commitment to working with stakeholders and partners to deliver this as a matter of urgency. The motion lodged recognises the fundamental strategic importance of Wick John O’Groats Airport to the economy of the region, and the energy, business and tourism sectors in particular.
Members of the Caithness Committee have identified fuel poverty as their number one concern and are pleased to announce that the member-led capital housing budget has increased to 10% as they welcome £2,253,000 of investment which will be used to carry out improvements to the housing stock across the county. A specific priority of the capital programme is improving heating and make homes more energy efficient, with over £1,300,000 of budget approved to replace the oldest and most inefficient heating systems with a further £150,000 for one-off heating replacements.
Highland Council Trading Standards supports FASathon - the Friends Against Scams marathon day Highland Council Trading Standards is encouraging Highland residents to take part in ‘FASathon', the Friends Against Scams marathon day, on 21st October 2020. The aim of the FASathon campaign is to get as many people as possible to complete the free Friends Against Scams online awareness session to learn about the different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others against scams.
By intervening, Local Government has reduced the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for the most vulnerable in our communities, COSLA said today (Wednesday). COSLA also said that is why their Blueprint outlines the lead role of Local Government in securing a fair and inclusive recovery with a strong focus on human rights, tackling poverty and addressing inequalities.
In advance of the 2021 tourism season, Members of The Highland Council's Tourism Committee have agreed that the local authority will continue to work and engage with partners, national agencies and local communities to meet the challenges and opportunities that exist in the region for motorhomes and wild camping tourism. Councillor Maxine Smith, Tourism Committee Chair said: "While coronavirus and the increased demand for staycations in the UK have played a large part in the massive increase in demands placed on the Highlands of Scotland from across the UK, the evidence does show that motorhome ownership and hire has been increasing over recent years.
The Highland Council has published new information on the Coronavirus Covid-19 button on the front page of its website on how people can access the new Covid-19 Self-Isolation Support Grant. https://www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus Funded by the Scottish Government, the new grant is available for individuals who are asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Protect Service, in receipt of low-income benefits and who will lose income as they are unable to work from home.
The Highland Council would like to thank householders who have purchased a Garden Waste Collection Service permit for 2020/21. The current permit started on the 1st of September and will run until the 31st of August 2021, with collections continuing until the end of November.
Highland Council is currently looking at options to secure the future of the lifeline ferry service at Corran Ferry, Lochaber. The local authority is responsible for operating the Corran Ferry service, which is the busiest single vessel route in Scotland.
The Highland Council is reminding the public that although their offices and buildings remain closed to the public a full range of support and information is still available. Access into all service point buildings continues to be currently restricted for people to complete birth registrations and other high priority registrations by appointment only, and following all current social distancing and hygiene guidance.
Additional spending powers and funding for councils. A package of financial flexibilities and extra funding for councils which could be worth up to £750 million has been agreed by the Scottish Government in partnership with COSLA.
The Highland Council Trading Standards team have been made aware of a phishing scam that may be targeting highland residents. The scam takes the form of a text or email and claims it is from the HM Courts and Tribunals Service.
As the October holidays approach - school communities, their pupils and staff in the Highlands are being thanked by the Chair of Education and Leader of The Highland Council. Councillor John Finlayson, Chair Highland Council's Education Committee said: "As we come to the end of a tough, busy, and successful first Covid-19 school term I would like thank all staff that work in and support our schools to let them know that we appreciate how they have coped in these difficult times.
The by-election for The Highland Council's Ward 12 - Aird and Loch Ness has been postponed for public safety due to the coronavirus pandemic. Returning Officer, Donna Manson is implementing clause 70 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 that allows Returning Officers to postpone Local Authority Elections in Scotland and will set a new by-election date for 2021 once all available dates have been considered.
The Highland Council is pleased to announce that from Saturday 3 October the majority of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region will see their opening hours extended to include a Saturday or Sunday for members of the public to dispose of their household waste. The HWRC in Kingussie and Grantown, which have been temporarily closed until now, will also be re-opened on Saturdays only from 3 October 2020.
Councillors have agreed a cautious and prudent approach to the Highland Council's Revenue Budget for 2020/21. Depute Leader Cllr Alasdair Christie said: "We know how hard these past 6 months have been for individuals, groups, schools, care providers and businesses.
Historic construction work is set to begin this week to maintain the only remaining east coast car ferry in the UK. For centuries ferries across the firths of the east coast of Scotland were integral to the national transport network.
At yesterday's (30 September2020) meeting of the Council's Education Committee, Members agreed on the approach to the distribution of Counselling funding, and on the approach to use additional funding to support Education Recovery through additional teaching resource and digital inclusion for the financial year 2020/2021. Chair of the Education Committee, Councillor John Finlayson, said: "It is great that Members have agreed our approach to utilise the monies we have received from funding streams to support our young people and our education recovery.
Secondary schools in Highland saw a significant improvement in attainment results in S4, S5 and S6 SQA results in August 2020. Chair of the Education Committee, Councillor John Finlayson, said: "I wish to congratulate our young people, their families and our school staff across Highland for the significant improvement trends in attainment in S4, S5 and S6 year groups.
Proposals that could provide Highland Council employees with a new ‘independent, dedicated and confidential route' to report malpractice and wrongdoing concerns have received support from Highland Councillors. Following robust discussion, Members of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee have endorsed the movement of the management of the Council’s Whistleblowing Policy and its processes to the Council’s Fraud Team.
Second phase of Consultation on BT's 2020 proposal to remove 107 public payphones from across Highland/ With just two weeks to go before the consultation closes, Highland Council is seeking final feedback from the public on BT's proposal to remove 107 public payphones from across the Highland region. This second phase of consultation will close on 10/10/2020.