A9 Berriedale Braes Improvement Works Restarts
15th June 2020
In a letter To Highland council the contractor RJ McLeod set out plans to restart work at Berriedale Braes
"Further to our letter of 4th June informing you that we were proceeding with planning and pre-start site preparations for construction on A9 Berriedale Braes project in accordance with the published Scottish Government's Construction Sector Guidance document and Construction Scotland Re-Start Plan we are
writing to provide you with a further update.
The health and safety of the workforce is our main priority and we have now completed the necessary planning and pre-start site preparations. This work has involved the revision of health and safety plans and safe operatingprocedures, as well as a number of physical alterations to our site offices and welfare facilities for strict
adherence to hygiene and physical distancing rules.
On the 11 June, the First Minister confirmed that the construction sector can proceed with Phase 2 of the Construction Scotland Re-Start Plan and the Scottish Government's Construction Sector Guidance document has been updated to reflect this.
This Phase 2 will see a return of a proportion of the workforce and you may notice an increase in activity on the construction site. Work at this stage will only be undertaken where the physical distancing of the workforce can be maintained at all times.
All activities will ensure full compliance with Scottish Government guidelines at all times. This phased plan to return to increased productivity will follow the Re-Start plan to support a gradual return to work and only where the public health advice supports this.
We want to keep our stakeholders and the local community informed of the gradual progress and further updates will be provided on the Transport Scotland web page - https://www.transport.gov.scot/projects/a9-
The safety of the community in which we work in remains a key priority and we ask for your continued cooperation in continuing to respect physical distancing measures to safeguard the health of all our site staff, our stakeholders/external delivery partners and that of the community in which we operate."
Following the freezing of some charges and suspension of enforcement for others during the lockdown period, The Highland Council has been following a phased return to normal operations since the 26th of June. Further details are given below.
Many Highland Council tenants may be missing out on help towards their rent from Universal Credit because they have not notified the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of their annual rent increase which came into effect on the 30th March 2020. Those tenants who have not yet reported their rent increase could be facing a shortfall in the help they receive towards their rent, putting them at risk of rent arrears.
The Highland Council is updating parents and carers of its position on early learning and childcare (ELC). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Scottish Government removed the statutory requirement for Local Authorities to deliver 1140 hours of ELC from August.
Following on from the recent publication of Highland Council's Supporting Economic Recovery in Highland - A Guide for Businesses - the Council is announcing relaxation of some controls that will assist tourist accommodation providers have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In recognition of this where there are specific planning and licensing controls in relation to occupancy, for example: a restriction on the occupancy of any caravan for a continuous 12 month period; or where conditions restrict occupancy for specific periods of time, ...these will be relaxed by the Council up to and including April 2021.
The Caithness Committee met virtual today for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic and it's agenda focused on the actions taken by the Council and the third sector to deal with the effects of Coronavirus in Caithness. The Executive Chief Officer for Education and Learning, Paul Senior, gave members an update on the plans and preparations underway to prepare for the return of pupils and staff to Caithness schools in August.
Margaret Davidson, the Leader of the Highland Council has given her strong support to the efforts of the Scottish Government to obtain greater fiscal flexibility from the UK Government. The Scottish Government have sought flexibility to offset capital underspend against resource expenditure, more flexibility over resource borrowing and greater flexibility over the use of the reserve for capital.
The Highland Council is planning to re-open play areas across the region throughout summer. Advice was provided by the Scottish Government on 28 June as to the safety measures that should be applied.
The Highland Council was one of the first local authorities in Scotland recognised to develop a Schools Digital Learning Hub, which provides a resource for staff, parents and pupils to support home learning. Prior to Covid-19, we had an estate of 27,000 Chromebooks that were already a part of our ICT in Learning Strategy.
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.