Council and HITRANS call for balance in road provision
24th October 2019
The Highland Council and HITRANS are speaking out against the call from walking and cycling organisations to cease all new road building in Scotland.
Cycling Scotland, Cycling UK, Forth Environment Link, Living Streets, Paths for All, Ramblers Scotland, Sustrans Scotland and Transform Scotland issued the call as part of a joint response to the National Transport Strategy.
The Convener of The Highland Council, Bill Lobban said: "Try telling the many people and businesses in the Highlands who have been waiting for years to see investment in the A9 and A96 roads that all planned improvement works will stop! These organisations are based in the central belt where the road networks are more extensive and there are more public transport options than commuters and businesses in the Highlands have. I feel it is very naïve to issue such a statement without understanding the challenges and particular circumstances of everyone who would be affected if all road improvements stopped.
“We have campaigned for many years to see the A9 between Perth and Inverness dualled as it improves our link to the rest of Scotland, helps the economy and will improve safety. With work on this project and the work on the A96 route from Inverness to Aberdeen underway, we want to see it completed and will continue working with Transport Scotland and our partners HITRANS to ensure the Highlands has the investment in vital infrastructure it needs."
Chair of HITRANS and The Highland Council's Chair of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Allan Henderson said: “In making their comments these organisations are aiming to divert funds from these desperately needed infrastructure projects. As a council we are supportive of encouraging all modes of transport including walking, cycling and public transport. We are currently working in partnership with Sustrans on several exciting projects including Inverness City Active Travel Network, Wick Street Design, Dingwall 20mph schemes to name a few. We also work closely with Paths for All’s Smarter Choices Smarter Places fund to deliver behaviour change work and to support our partners Velocity to encourage active travel in our region. However, we also need to ensure that the main arterial routes leading to the Highlands, and our own network of roads keeps our communities connected and allows Highland based businesses to flourish.”
Earlier today (Wednesday 1 July 2020) members of The Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee had the opportunity to discuss (by video conference) progress made with the Corran Ferry Project which is reviewing the options for securing a replacement ferry and considering the way forward for the future operation and management of the service. The Corran ferry service has reached a critical point and strategic decisions need to be made.
As Scotland prepares for the easing of lockdown and the re-opening of the tourism and hospitality sector, The Highland Council's Environmental Health are advising holiday accommodation providers to make sure their private water supplies are safe to drink. A large number of self-catering and tourist accommodation in the Highlands are served by private water supplies and with these being closed during the lockdown period, the water supply system may not have been maintained and could create a risk to the quality and safety of the drinking water.
Lesley, who previously worked for Hackney Local Authority in London, expressed how much she has enjoyed working for the Council. Lelsey started with highland council on 13 August 2019.
Following Scottish Government guidance on returning to construction sites across Scotland, works will be restarting on the EES:ABS scheme across the Highlands. In line with the guidance, contractors will be undertaking phased restarts and adhering to social distancing to allow workers to return to construction sites gradually while using measures such as hand hygiene.
Two prominent derelict buildings in Wick High Street are to be demolished following decades lying empty. Numbers 30 and 126 (known locally as Dominoes (the former cinema) and Sloans are to benefit from demolition and site clearance, before ownership is returned to the local community.
Highland Council has produced a new video which shines a spotlight on how children across the region have been able to continue learning during lockdown. Last month the Council produced a video 'Learning During Lockdown' to highlight how teachers were able to continue to deliver education despite the closure of school across the UK.
The Leader of The Highland Council has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP, raising her deepest concerns over Eastern Airways decision to withdraw their Wick - Aberdeen Service. The decision by Eastern Airways follows Loganair's earlier decision to withdraw its Wick-Edinburgh route, which now leaves Wick John O'Groats Airport with no commercial services operating.
£257.6 million to help tackle COVID-19 approved by Parliament. Almost £258 million of additional funding for vital local services, such as food provision for those in need, education and social care, has been approved by the Scottish Parliament.
The Highland Council is inviting private landlords and providers of short-term lets, including Air B&B hosts who may be interested in leasing their property to the Council to get in touch. Chair of the Housing and Property Committee, Councillor Ben Thompson said: "The COVID-19 outbreak has affected all aspects of our daily lives and we have seen increased pressure on our homelessness service, including demand from the loss of tied accommodation in the hotel industry.
Councillor John Finlayson, Chair of the Highland Council's Education Committee responded to the announcement today by John Swinney, Deputy First Minister on the return of education. "Today’s announcement by the Deputy First Minister that the planning assumption will now be for a full return to school for all pupils in August if it is safe to do so, is very welcome news for everyone and it reflects the aspirations that have been communicated to me over recent days by so many parents.