Local Authority News
Discussions have taken place this week on what the Council's role in respect of the emerging hydrogen economy should be and how best to advance hydrogen opportunities across the Highlands. The Leader of The Highland Council met with representatives from Scottish Power to focus on hydrogen generation and this was followed by a meeting, arranged with officers from across Council services, that included a presentation by Fiona Landy from the Hydrogen Accelerator.
The Leader of the Council and Provost of Inverness today welcomed recent history graduate Sophie Gartshore to her role of Data Curation Graduate Placement in the Spirit of the Highlands project team. Sophie was attending her first virtual meeting of the Spirit of the Highlands Delivery Group, a group co-chaired by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism Fergus Ewing and Cllr Helen Carmichael, Provost of Inverness and Area.
The Highland Council has started to consult with their tenants about proposals for a rent increase in council owned homes for 2021 - 2022. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the traditional forms of consultation cannot safely take place.
The Highland Council has confirmed that a new date has been set for the Ward 12 - Aird and Loch Ness By-Election The original date of poll was Thursday 5 November but given the current public health advice applying in Scotland, the Returning Officer made the decision to postpone the by-election. Under normal circumstances a by-election must be held within three months of the vacancy arising, however under the provisions of Section 70 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 the filling of the vacancy can be postponed where it is reasonable and appropriate to do so and a date should be fixed for the poll to be held as soon as it reasonably practicable.
Highland Housing Register Allocation Policy - Public Consultation There is still time to tell the Highland Housing Register landlords what you think about changes to the way that their houses are let and who gets priority. The consultation has been extended to Monday 7 December The landlords contacted everyone who is on the Highland Housing Register re-housing list.
Highland Councillors have noted the scale of achievement by Council staff in meeting the Traffic Commissioner's compliance requirements for the local authority's fleet and welcomed a phased approach to the ‘greening’ of its vehicles. Cllr Allan Henderson, Chair of the Council’s Communities and Place Committee said: "Maintaining a legally safe and compliant fleet of vehicles is essential and is no mean feat for an organisation the size of Highland Council.
A pricing regime has been agreed in Highland for the provision of Export Health Certificates which will be required by UK businesses from 1 January 2021 to export products of animal origin to the EU. Chair of The Highland Council's Communities and Place Committee Cllr Allan Henderson welcomed the work carried out to date by Council officers in supporting exporting businesses to the EU, he said: "The Environmental Health Team has a very important role in providing certification for Highland businesses exporting animal products to the EU.
New fees for residential caravan site licence applications have been approved by The Highland Council's Communities and Place Committee. The new fees are estimated to affect around 20 residential caravan sites in Highland region.
The Highland Council is to consult on draft management rules for its 268 burial grounds across the region and crematorium located at Kilvean in Inverness. The Council has a statutory duty to manage burials, oversee memorial safety and cremations for around 1500 burials and 1200 cremations each year.
The Highland Council has welcomed clarification from the Scottish Government that hotels are eligible for the Business Restriction Grant. As hotel restaurants and bars follow the same rules as other restaurants and bars with last entry at 21:30 and closure by 22:30, they have now been included as eligible businesses to receive grant from this scheme.
Motorists are being advised by The Highland Council that there will be a temporary road closure to the section of the U3520 Girnigoe Street, closed between its junction with the U3547 Henrietta Street and its junction with U3523 Glamis Road, at 09:30 until 15:30 on Thursday 3 December 2020. The closure has been made to allow KIER to carry out Iron work repairs.
The Leader of The Highland Council Margaret Davidson and Chair of the Brexit Working Group Jimmy Gray welcomed the Scottish Government's position paper on the replacement for European Structural Investment Funds. This paper was as a result of a wide consultation process in which the Highlands & Islands made a significant contribution towards.
The category B listed suspension Infirmary footbridge in Inverness which traverses the River Ness between Ness Walk and Ness Bank may need to close for public safety until The Highland Council considers and secures funding for necessary repairs. This was the message that the Council's Roads Operations Manager, John Taylor informed Members of the City of Inverness Area Committee this week.
Members of The Highland Council's City of Inverness Area Committee have today agreed a proposed £4,786,000 investment in council housing for 2021-22. The one-year Inverness Area Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Capital Programme is part of the Highland wide HRA Capital Plan for 2021-22 which will see over £15m invested in improving the housing stock across the region.
A new useful guide has been produced to provide people across the Highlands with information and advice on the financial and other support that is available to them. The Highland Council, along with NHS Highland Public Health, Independent Food Aid Network and the Trussell Trust, have brought a wide range of relevant financial advice and support with contact details together in a user-friendly format aimed at people who are struggling to make ends meet.
Dr Tim Allison, Director of Public Health for NHS Highland, opened today's meeting with a presentation on Covid-19, including a Highland perspective. Cllr John Finlayson, Chair of the Committee, said: "I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr Allison for his informative presentation on the virus that he delivered to Committee this morning." The presentation began by providing a brief background to Covid-19 before then providing an explanation of how the virus transmits between individuals and the presence of coronavirus in the Highland region.
At today's meeting (18 November) of the Council's Education Committee, Members were provided an update on the ongoing rollout of 1140 hours of funded ELC provision in settings across Highland. A report to the Committee outlined that of the 241 settings across the region, 202 Highland settings will be delivering 1140 hours by spring 2021.
The Highland Council is today (17 November 2020) launching a consultation giving the community until 12 March 2021 to comment on the proposed contents of the Common Good Fund Asset Register for Wick. The Highland Council does not currently hold a Common Good Fund for the former Royal Burgh of Wick.
This week, The Scottish Government has confirmed that The Highland Council area will again be placed into Protection Level One in The Scottish Government's 5 tier framework. This means our communities will for now continue to able to operate with fewer restrictions for our hospitality, retail and leisure sectors than other parts of the country.
More than 1,250 new teachers and support staff have been recruited as a result of £80 million of support announced in the summer. Education Secretary John Swinney pledged the ring-fenced package of funding to help local authorities' recruitment for the re-opening of schools.