Council implements new technology for road repairs
14th February 2015
The Highland Council has been trialling new technological means of repairing and maintaining roads, according to a report into the Roads Innovation Fund by the Director of Community Services.
Techniques to be used for the repair of potholes include use of "Jetpatcher" equipment, a process by which a high velocity air stream is used to clear any debris in the pothole and also to lay and compact new asphalt, filling it. Highland Council has been working with three contractors and Moray Council to trial this system.
Trialling the use of a small, mobile, two-tonne hot box for bituminous surfacing material has demonstrated the efficiencies which can be achieved in repairing potholes during winter. This permits permanent, rather than temporary, repairs to be made. More cost effective use of resources means more funding can be used for innovation.
The council has also put into effect a recycling pilot, during which technology has been used to reduce both time and spending when undertaking road surface regulation and overlay techniques. Specifically, the council has been trialling road recycling equipment which turns existing asphalt into re-usable material. During trials, this new system of road recycling delivered savings between 25% and 50% against the conventional technique.
The Highland Council is the largest (in geographical size) local authority in the UK and has 6,752 km of regional roads and 1,700 km of footways.
Cllr Graham MacKenzie, Chairperson of the Community Services Committee, said: "I am extremely pleased with the findings of these trials so far. This report highlights the importance of keeping up-to-date with technology and I am confident that the final results of the trials will be positive when they are completed in full."
Nominations are being invited from people seeking election onto eight community councils across the Highlands. The resignation of some members have brought the following six community council's down to below half of their memberships so interim elections have been called in order to fill the vacancies.
The Highland Council and its Commercial and Procurement Shared Services partners Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils are running a series of events to help businesses supply to the public sector. Some of the events are hosted by other organisations and we will be signposting suppliers to these as well.
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.
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