The Highland Council responds to the impact of severe weather
9th January 2015
THE Highland Council has been working with partners in other agencies to plan for the impact of the severe storms overnight and throughout today. Senior staff have been taking part in regional and local multi-agency meetings to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place and staff across the council have been working extremely hard to deal with the impacts of the weather and provide service continuity.
Due to the severe weather, power supplies, computer networks and some phone lines have been affected this morning. Most services have been restored, but there may be disruption continuing during the day at some sites due to power outage and telephony issues.
13 Service Points are currently closed due to loss of power. Service Point closures are now linked to the severe weather page on our website. http://www.highland.gov.uk/info/591/council_and_government/590/service_points_closed
The Service Centre has been extremely busy with high call volumes. As at 1pm today, the Centre had received 1315 calls. The normal call volume is around 1000 calls per day.
Around 98 schools were closed today, however we would expect that most schools will re-open as usual on Monday. Decisions on school closures are made locally by Head Teachers who assess local circumstances and conditions. Some structural damage is currently being assessed at Brora and Kyleachin schools.
Deputy Chief Executive Michelle Morris said: "As several thousand households are still without power, we are working with our partners to ensure vulnerable residents are cared for. We would also encourage people to look out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours who may be without heat or light.
"Many roads across the highlands continue to be affected by fallen trees and debris. Teams of staff have been working very hard, during the night and throughout the day, to clear branches and make the roads safe. The forecast is for further strong winds this evening and overnight, which may result in more trees and branches falling on roads.
“There is also expected to be snow at all levels tomorrow and Sunday with a yellow weather warning in place. Road conditions, therefore are likely to continue to be difficult and caution should be exercised when travelling."
The latest road report shows the following road closures:
· A838 near Merkland
· B9176 Struie Hill Road
· B9154 Daviot to Dalmagarry closed (trees at Moy Station)
· B9163 Black Isle - tree damage to the Newhall Burn bridge, between (Jemimaville and Balblair)
In addition there are minor road closures:
· Galcantray to Croy (Tree resting on building)
· C1242 Kilbeg/Ostag Tarskavaig road (culvert collapse).
Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has moved to reassure communities about forthcoming budget decisions. She said: "No decisions will be made until the Council meets on 15 February.
At Highland Council work has been ongoing for some months to prepare a Revenue and Capital Budget for 2018/19 and beyond, with the anticipation of a significant cut to available funds. The Scottish Government's proposed grant settlement was announced on 14 December 2017.
Around £3 million of funding has been agreed for a ground-breaking Highland project that could transform the lives of people with complex health needs as part of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. The business case for the ‘FitHome' assisted living project was approved in November last year with £3m funding from the Scottish Government.
An article in the Press and Journal today 9th January 2018 highlights the cuts in staffing levels across Scottish councils with Highland being one of the highest. In 2009 Highland had 9953 Full-time Equivalent Staff and in 2017 it had dropped by 21% to 7838.
Highland Council Trading Standards team has recently seen an increase in scams targeting Highland businesses. The most common scams reported by businesses relate to marketing and publishing but other frauds such as those involving demands for payment for unsolicited goods sent to businesses (such as ink cartridges which were never ordered) are also on the rise.
Cognitive improvements to be included in Blue Badge scheme The disabled person's parking badge pilot, which was launched in April 2016, has been made permanent by the Scottish Government. The eligibility criteria were revised and extended under a pilot to allow carers and relatives of people who pose a risk to themselves or others in traffic to apply for a disabled person's parking badge, provided they meet the criteria.
People looking to pick up a New Year bargain in the sales on the internet, by mail order or on the high street are being encouraged by The Highland Council's Trading Standards team to be aware of their consumer rights and to stay safe online from scams and fake websites that try to dupe inexperienced online shoppers trying to buy a bargain. Consumers have extra protection when they shop online.
The British Hospitality Association secured a major victory today (21 December2017) as the Scottish Government confirmed that any plans for a ‘tourist tax' in Edinburgh - or any other Scottish cities - are firmly off the table. The BHA has been campaigning consistently for over six years against the implementation of any such additional and uncompetitive tax and is delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised our reservations.
Chief Executive of The Highland Council, Steve Barron said: "The Council is continuing to do all it can to support employees who lost their jobs following the change in contract for the processing of recycled waste. Evanton-based William Munro Construction laid off the staff after Highland Council transferred a recycling contract.
The Highland Council has successfully prosecuted a food business after discovering unsafe hygiene practices in the transportation of food. An investigation by officers of the Council's Environmental Health Team discovered that N E Meats Ltd of Newcastle had been transporting and delivering foods from the North of England to the Highlands without any temperature control measures.
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