Local Authority News
The Highland Council is pleased to announce that the main phase of the work to construct the Kingussie Flood Alleviation Channel is now underway. The project is a joint venture between the Council and Pitmain Estate and is located on the Estate's land above the village of Kingussie.
The Highland Council achieved a 6% reduction in its year-on-year carbon emissions in 2016/17, equivalent to a saving of over 4,000 tonnes of CO2. In addition, thanks to a variety of energy efficiency measures implemented throughout the organisation, the Council saved almost £180k compared to the previous year, despite increasing energy costs.
The Highland Council have reviewed and updated the administrative procedures around miscellaneous and animal establishment licensing making it easier for people to access information and provide feedback. An online register of all applications is now published on the Council's website and the procedures are clear on how individuals or groups can raise concerns or object to applications for these types of licence.
Parent representatives from 206 Parent Councils across the Highland region have been invited to attend the Highland Parent Council Partnership conference which will be held on Saturday 18 Nov 2017 from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Guest speaker at the conference - to be held at Highland Council, Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness - will be John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.
The Highland Council remains on track to provide much-needed affordable homes for a growing population with a pledge in its Strategic Housing Plan 2018-2023 to approve 500 units each year of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership. Members of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee today (Wednesday 8 November) had the opportunity to discuss the Housing Investment Plan for 2018-2023 and to reaffirm the council's commitment to deliver new homes in the Highlands.
Following the collapse of a 15 metre section of road at Soldiers Rock on the Knoydart peninsula late on Tuesday 24 October, work is progressing on repairing the landslip on the single track road. A full inspection of the affected road has been carried out and a Highland Council engineer will be on site on Wednesday this week to carry out preliminary work before detailed survey work is carried out on Friday.
Resident's from across the Highlands have provided positive feedback to the council's latest Citizen's Panel survey. Each year the panel of just over 2300 adults are asked for their views on the performance of the council and to provide information on their attitudes to a range of issues affecting them, their families and their neighbourhoods.
Highland Community Planning Partners have confirmed that they are now ready to receive a number of Syrian refugee families to Dingwall in the next few months. A group of officers and volunteers from The Highland Council, Police Scotland, NHS Highland, and Highland Third Sector Interface are working together to put preparations in place for housing, education and health support for the families.
Following the decision of a Member recruitment panel today, Derek Yule has been appointed to the role of Depute Chief Executive which he will undertake alongside his new role of Director of Corporate Resources. Highland council have taken the opportunity to further reduce management level staff by combining two roles to make further savings.
Members of The Highland Council have agreed that the Council will examine and report back on the feasibility of applying under the provisions of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 for a Rent Pressure Zone for Inverness and for any other community in the Highlands facing similarly expensive housing rents. Members approved a motion presented by Cllr Richard Laird (Inverness Central Ward) and Cllr Ron MacWilliam (Inverness Ness-side Ward) which stated: "The Highland Council notes the unprecedented high rents for private sector housing in Inverness and many other areas in the Highlands and the pressure this places on both the Highland Housing Register and those individuals and families seeking a home in the city." Council Housing Officers will be asked to explore and examine the feasibility of applying for Rent Pressure Zones - if required - and to report back to a future meeting of the Council.
Redesign of the Council means it will be more open-minded to new ways of delivering services, more commercially-minded to raise income to sustain services and jobs across the region and more community-minded to involve more people in Council decisions and community-run services. One way of being more open-minded is to undertake reviews of services to identify where blockages and delays occur, to cut out waste and improve services for people using them.
The Highland Council has agreed to work with CoSLA and other partners to undertake research on options to enhance local control of taxation. Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson, who put forward the motion with Councillor Jimmy Gray, said: "Over the past 50 years the proportion of local taxation in Local Authorities has decreased from around 50% to some 18%.
Late last night the Highland Council ‘s Roads Inspector received a phone call advising him that that a 15 metre section of the road at Soldiers Rock on the Knoydart peninsula had collapsed. This 4.8 mile single track road between Scottas and Airor is a lifeline road for the communities beyond the slip which include Airor, Doune and Sandaig.
"The forward look of the Council is one of ambition, improving outcomes and working across Communities". This is the view of the external audit report on The Highland Council.
The Council has a legal duty to provide certain advice and information services on debt, welfare and housing for local residents. Employment rights advice is also provided but there is no statutory duty on the Council to provide this.
Highland Council is fully supportive of the aim to close the poverty-related educational attainment gap between children and young people from the least and most disadvantaged communities. In Highland, 1537 Primary and 1006 Secondary School children live in the most deprived data zones.
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 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.
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.
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.