Council's Winter services in action
8th December 2017
With Storm Caroline hitting the Highlands yesterday, today's heavy snowfall and the forecast for a drop in temperatures over the next 48 hours, the Highland Council's crews and winter vehicles have been busy in action.
The fleet includes 105 gritters, 42 footpath tractors and over the coming months 200 plus staff will be providing winter maintenance services. Last year 37,200 tonnes of salt was used and the council has confirmed its stock levels are high and they are fully prepared for further bad weather.
Treatments over the winter months are provided from Monday to Saturday between 6am and 9pm. Primary routes are treated first, followed by secondary routes and crews will only move on to treat other roads when the primary and secondary routes are all completed
On Sunday and public holidays the service is restricted to Primary routes only and treatment takes place between 7am and 9pm.
An interactive map is available on the Councils website showing the location of all gritting bins in the Highlands https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/20005/roads_and_pavements/594/grit_bins From this web link communities can apply for further bins under the Winter Resilience Community Aid scheme
The Director of Community Services, William Gilfillan said: "Following on from today's ice and snow and further wintry conditions forecast for the weekend it’s a good time to remind everyone what our gritting policy is.
"Maps showing the Primary, Secondary and Other routes for all areas of the Highlands are available on our website, as is our gritting policy.
"Although we have the supplies and resources in place to provide a full winter service we are also encouraging communities to come forward and apply for winter resilience assistance. Under this scheme we can provide local communities with salt in grit bins or heaps and other equipment to take action in their local areas that are important to them."
The area maps and full details of the gritting policy can be found by visiting www.highland.gov.uk/gritting
Very low temperatures are expected overnight and tomorrow. Please check on neighbours keeping an eye out for anyone that needs help and take extra precautions and care if travel is necessary.
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.
The Commission on Highland Democracy has this week launched its report at the meeting of The Highland Council. The Commission, which was supported in its work by The Highland Council, but is independent, has produced a comprehensive analysis of the state of democratic participation in Highland.
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