Local Authority News
The Highland Council, with support from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, is inviting Highland businesses to apply for funding to support the costs of green skills training for their workforce. Cllr Ken Gowans, Chair of the Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee explained: "This Challenge Fund has been set up to support Highland businesses who wish to invest in their workforce and develop their green skills.
Local authorities will be able to charge a premium of up to 100% on council tax for second homes under legislation aiming to increase the availability of housing. If approved by Parliament, the secondary legislation would bring second homes into line with long-term empty homes, which can already be subject to a 100% premium on the full rate of council tax.
Derek Brown takes up the post of The Highland Council's Chief Executive from today, 4th September 2023. Derek comes to the Highlands with extensive experience in his previous roles as Deputy Chief Executive of North Lanarkshire Local Authority, a Professional Advisor on the National Improvement Framework, Derek started his career in teaching.
From Monday 4 September, nominations are invited from people seeking election to all Community Councils. This is your chance to help represent the views of your community to The Highland Council and other public agencies.
A report was presented to members of the Communities and Place Committee yesterday (Thursday, 31 August) outlining a number of Bereavement Services projects currently being progressed to maintain burial ground capacity and crematorium services within the Highlands. The update focused on matters around the progress of burial ground extensions and also on work which has been commissioned to review the options for a cremator replacement at Inverness Crematorium.
Members of the Communities and Place Committee of Highland council were briefed on an imminent legislative change being brought forward by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), concerning the collection, storage and treatment of Upholstered Domestic Seating at Council facilities throughout the region. Currently the Council directs all Upholstered Furniture to landfill, however, yesterday's update outlined the operational and financial implications to the Council in adopting this legislative change and diverting Upholstered Furniture from landfill.
Highland Councillors on the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee have welcomed and approved the Health and Social Care Service Plan for 2023/24. The plan's vision is: "for all of Highland's children, young people, families and adults supported by the Council to have the best possible outcomes in life.
Members of the Caithness Area Committee, who met on Monday, 21 August 2023, considered and agreed funding for an application submitted to the area's Community Regeneration Fund. The Wick Development Trust successfully secured £90,000 towards Phase 2 of their overall development plan, with this phase focusing on the development of a Toilet Block & Facilities building at Wick River Campsite.
High Life Highland's Adult Learning for Refugees team recently hosted a creative project for Afghan resettler communities, funded by the Scottish Refugee Council as part of the ‘Scottish Refugee Festival'. The theme of the Festival this year was ‘Hope' hence the event was aptly titled ‘The Afghan Kites of Hope' in honour of the tradition of kite-making, a custom now prohibited by the Taliban in their home country.
The priorities by which The Highland Council will treat roads in Caithness this winter have been approved. At the Caithness Committee meeting today (Monday 21 August 2023) members approved a winter maintenance plan for the area which includes priority road lists and maps showing the priority gritting routes.
Members of Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee (17 August 2023) agreed the updated Delivery Plan following formal notification of funding received through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). The controversial part of this is that funding is much less than it would have been previously if the UK had remained in the EU.
Highland Council's Economy & Infrastructure Committee on 17 August 2023 agreed two reports that relate to developer contributions and the next steps for the preparation of a new style Development Plan for Highland. One of the reports confirmed how a new Development Plan aims to represent all partners and communities across Highland.
Highland Council's new Rapid Road Repair Team is moving a step closer to reality as Members of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee today (17 August 2023) noted that the recruitment of operatives is at interview stage. At full Council on 2 March 2023 the local authority agreed to provide £1.266m of funding for a temporary Rapid Road Repair Team for 2023/24.
Highland Council's Trading Standards Team is appealing for help from reputable businesses and the public in the battle to tackle illegal sales of vaping products. The team is very active tackling the problem and is grateful for the support already received from the community.
The Highland Council can confirm that on Monday 4 September the process for the 2023 Community Council elections will begin. From this date nominations will be invited from people seeking election to all Community Councils across Highland.
At Full Council on 2 March 2023, the Council agreed to provide £1.266m of funding for a temporary Rapid Road Repair Team in 2023/24. This was to provide centrally managed, strategic support to enable road repairs in targeted areas across the Highlands.
At yesterday's (Thursday 10 August 2023) Housing and Property Committee, Members were updated on the progress of the ten major school projects, the actions taken and the revised programme dates for the proposed new Nairn Academy building. Housing and Property Committee Chair, Cllr Glynis Campbell Sinclair said: "Despite the complexities of the current financial constraints the report highlights the immense work being undertaken to drive progress with all projects to design, pre-planning and build stage.
NHS Highland and the Highland Council are engaging on the Strategic Plan for Adult Services 2024-27. This is the strategic plan for the delivery of integrated health and adult social care services in the region covered by the Highland Health and Social Care Partnership.
Highland Council has been named as one of the host local authorities when vehicles taking part in the 2023 EV Rally of Scotland (EVROS) start their journeys on 16 August. The two-day event, which aims to showcase electric vehicle technology and the charging infrastructure network in Scotland, will stop at locations in Highland.
Housing and Property Committee met yesterday (Thursday 10 August 2023) and discussed the impact that the ‘cost of living' has had on tenants experiencing rent arrears. Despite the challenges, Highland rent arrears remains significantly better than national benchmarking averages.