Highland is ready for winter - are you?
14th October 2017
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 council can confirm it has adequate salt stocks for the region of around 60,000 tonnes for the start of the main winter season and that there are no concerns about future provision of deliveries from the council's supplier.
The total salt usage for last winter 2016/17 was 37,200 tonnes, which was around 28% (£1.12m) of the overall cost of the service last year.
The winter fleet has been mobilised, serviced and salt spreading equipment checked. The fleet includes 105 gritters, 42 footpath tractors and over 200 staff providing winter maintenance services.
This year (2017/18) the Council is replacing some of its existing winter fleet with 14 new vehicles; the first of which have arrived and remaining are expected to be delivered through November. On completion of this latest order the authority will have renewed 59 vehicles (57%) of the winter heavy fleet over the last four years.
Staff involved in winter services provision at area level are trained in using the Council’s weather forecasting service. The forecasts are used each year to assist local decision-making on daily and longer term winter services actions.
Chair of the Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Allan Henderson said: "We have the supplies and resources in place to provide a winter service this year in the Highlands according to the Council’s policy. Council roads and pavements are gritteds as specified within the council’s agreed winter maintenance policy - details of this are on the council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting.
"The Council will continue to do what it can within its resources and policy however, I would encourage communities to come forward and apply for winter resilience assistance from the Council that will provide them with salt in grit bins or heaps and other equipment to take action in their local areas that are important to them."
Within its winter roads maintenance budget of £4.98 million for 2017/18, the Council is ready to salt - according to its policy - the 6,744km of roads for which the Council has responsibility.
Area Winter Maintenance Plans are set by Area Committees within Council strategy and budget allocated by the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee. The Ross and Cromarty, and Caithness Winter Maintenance Plans for 2017/18 will be set at the next Area Committee meetings on 31 October and 21 November respectively. Until those dates, the existing 2016/17 Winter Maintenance Plans plans for each area will be in place.
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.
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.
[Printer Friendly Version]