Council takes delivery of new snow ploughs to treat winter roads across the Highlands
4th November 2020
The Highland Council has invested in 10 new winter gritting vehicles to replace some of the ageing fleet, which are ready to be deployed as soon as they are needed.
The new vehicles, which have been dispatched across the Highlands, complement the Council's existing winter fleet that includes 99 gritters, 42 footpath tractors, 2 snowblowers with over 200 staff ready to provide winter maintenance services.
Chair of the Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Trish Robertson who was given a test drive in one of the newly purchased snow ploughs said: "Modernising our fleet by buying the new vehicles is an investment that will help us provide our communities with an efficient and reliable service over the coming winter months. These new top-of-the range vehicles have all the equipment to make them as efficient as possible when carrying out the work."
The winter roads maintenance budget for 2020/21 is £5 million which will be used to look after the 6,766km of roads for which the Council has responsibility.
Cllr Robertson added: ""All preparations have been made and crews across the Highlands are ready to start the winter service as soon as required. The new fleet of snow ploughs will have an important role in making sure we are able to provide our communities with the best service we can within the resources available."
There have been no changes to this year's winter policy so service levels throughout the local Areas will remain, essentially, unchanged from last year. The service will commence at 6am each day as and when required. There will be a Monday to Friday service in which all roads are treated and a weekend service which includes treatment of all the Primary routes, strategic Secondary routes and difficult ‘Other' routes. The service will be provided within the resources available and as weather conditions permit.
Details of the council's highland wide and local area gritting policies and maps are on the council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting.
As in previous years, Highland Council is offering assistance to communities who wish to take action in their own area to help clear snow and ice from footpaths but providing salt in either bins or heaps, snow shovels and pushers, gloves and hi-viz vests, Health and Safety advice to volunteers and public liability insurance. Full guidance and an application Form can be found on the Council’s website. See https://www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/download/836/winter_resilience_community_aid
For further information visit www.highland.gov.uk/gritting
Cllr Trish Robertson and the Council’s Transport and Logistics Manager Mike Cooper are photographed with two of the new snow ploughs.
The Highland Council has welcomed clarification from the Scottish Government that hotels are eligible for the Business Restriction Grant. As hotel restaurants and bars follow the same rules as other restaurants and bars with last entry at 21:30 and closure by 22:30, they have now been included as eligible businesses to receive grant from this scheme.
Members of The Highland Council's City of Inverness Area Committee have today agreed a proposed £4,786,000 investment in council housing for 2021-22. The one-year Inverness Area Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Capital Programme is part of the Highland wide HRA Capital Plan for 2021-22 which will see over £15m invested in improving the housing stock across the region.
The Leader of The Highland Council Margaret Davidson and Chair of the Brexit Working Group Jimmy Gray welcomed the Scottish Government's position paper on the replacement for European Structural Investment Funds. This paper was as a result of a wide consultation process in which the Highlands & Islands made a significant contribution towards.
The category B listed suspension Infirmary footbridge in Inverness which traverses the River Ness between Ness Walk and Ness Bank may need to close for public safety until The Highland Council considers and secures funding for necessary repairs. This was the message that the Council's Roads Operations Manager, John Taylor informed Members of the City of Inverness Area Committee this week.
A new useful guide has been produced to provide people across the Highlands with information and advice on the financial and other support that is available to them. The Highland Council, along with NHS Highland Public Health, Independent Food Aid Network and the Trussell Trust, have brought a wide range of relevant financial advice and support with contact details together in a user-friendly format aimed at people who are struggling to make ends meet.
Dr Tim Allison, Director of Public Health for NHS Highland, opened today's meeting with a presentation on Covid-19, including a Highland perspective. Cllr John Finlayson, Chair of the Committee, said: "I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr Allison for his informative presentation on the virus that he delivered to Committee this morning." The presentation began by providing a brief background to Covid-19 before then providing an explanation of how the virus transmits between individuals and the presence of coronavirus in the Highland region.
At today's meeting (18 November) of the Council's Education Committee, Members were provided an update on the ongoing rollout of 1140 hours of funded ELC provision in settings across Highland. A report to the Committee outlined that of the 241 settings across the region, 202 Highland settings will be delivering 1140 hours by spring 2021.
The Highland Council is today (17 November 2020) launching a consultation giving the community until 12 March 2021 to comment on the proposed contents of the Common Good Fund Asset Register for Wick. The Highland Council does not currently hold a Common Good Fund for the former Royal Burgh of Wick.
This week, The Scottish Government has confirmed that The Highland Council area will again be placed into Protection Level One in The Scottish Government's 5 tier framework. This means our communities will for now continue to able to operate with fewer restrictions for our hospitality, retail and leisure sectors than other parts of the country.
More than 1,250 new teachers and support staff have been recruited as a result of £80 million of support announced in the summer. Education Secretary John Swinney pledged the ring-fenced package of funding to help local authorities' recruitment for the re-opening of schools.