£1.5m Further Investment In Visitor Management Approved By Highland Council
10th September 2021
Given the importance of tourism to the Highland economy and the need for the tourism experience to be positive for visitors and communities, members have agreed to extend the Visitor Management Plan funding into the 2022 season by a one-off investment of £1.5m.
A one-off Visitor Management Plan investment of £2.4m agreed by the Council in March 2021 for this year's season has enabled a range of service improvements.
This includes: an enhanced waste collection service; 14 new Comfort Schemes to be provided now numbering 50; building improvements to 7 out of 75 Council run public conveniences; operational support for the new Storr toilets; support for a community group running portaloos; car park and other road improvements; work on delivering additional motorhome waste facilities; enhancements to visitor management infrastructure in Aviemore and a pilot public transport scheme in Skye.
Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Trish Robertson said: "The Seasonal Access Rangers have made a real difference to many Highland communities during the busy season. Engagement with visitors, communities and landowners and the offering of information and advice has been the priority of their work."
Chair of the Tourism Committee, Cllr Gordon Adam added: "The investment in Visitor Management across the Highlands has made an enormous difference so far. There is always more we can do and this additional funding will help us to make further improvements in advance of the 2022 season."
The Rangers submit weekly & monthly reports with user numbers, ‘hotspots' have been identified and monitored along with any other sites of concern highlighting issues with informal camping, parking, litter & overflowing bins, fires, outdoor toileting.
There has been extensive positive feedback from communities, members, organisations and visitors. To the end of July, on nearly 800 patrols, over 11,000 people advised of Outdoor Access Code, 5500 tents recorded off-site with nearly 2000 toileting sites.
Action has been taken to reducing the effect of fires on vegetation damage and risk of wildfires. 2276 fires, 71 of which the ranger extinguished as causing risk. There has been a significant reduction in the amount of litter and the effect of the litter left. 700 bags of litter have been removed.
The Rangers have also encouraged responsible parking, moved on many obstructive vehicles in passing places and elsewhere. Over 40,000 vehicles were observed parked with 160 parking warning notices issued. They have also worked with communities and landowners to reduce or resolve issues, engaging with 35 community councils and numerous organisations and individuals.
The Highland Climate Change Conference is taking place on Thursday 21 and Friday 21 October 2021. Chair of Highland Council's Climate Change Working Group, Cllr Trish Robertson, said: "The conference is a fantastic opportunity to bring people together from across and beyond Highland to discuss the climate and ecological emergency.
Members of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee (which took place yesterday, Thursday 23 September) were presented with a report outlining the areas of work which have been undertaken by Highland Council's Internal Audit section since the Committee’s previous meeting during June 2021. Of the five audit reports considered, three were given the audit opinions of significant assurance or full assurance.
The high point of the year for celebrating our heritage starts on Saturday 25 September. For three weeks, the Highland Archaeology Festival will offer a range of walks, talks, workshops, exhibitions, and activities for all ages.
Zero Waste Scotland has launched a digital recycling tool to help combat confusion and meet Scottish recycling targets. This Recycle Week (20-26 September 2021), Zero Waste Scotland is launching the first ever Recycling Sorter.
The Highland Council's resilient digital learning estate continues to connect and support learners and educators across Highland, including the creation of a new digital toolkit for teaching staff. Education Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The extensive digital learning estate available across Highland for staff, pupils, parents and carers is an effective way to empower and develop digital opportunities across Highland schools.
Members of the public are being invited to comment on a Draft Gambling Policy Statement for the coming years 2022-25. The Highland Council is consulting on the draft policy statement on behalf of The Highland Licensing Board under the Gambling Act 2005.
At the meeting of The Highland Council Members supported a starred item put forward by Caithness Members. The Thurso and North West Caithness and the Wick and East Caithness Ward Councillors asked that the Council creates and implements a Council wide playground strategy that considers the needs and expectations of communities and supports the active play, well-being and social activity of children and their families.
Members at a meeting on 9 September 2021 of the Highland Council agreed the scope, budget, phasing and timescale for 5 priority school projects including Beauly Primary, Culloden Academy, Dunvegan Primary, Park Primary, and St Clements School. It was also agreed that these projects are to be incorporated into the Council's current capital programme.
On behalf of The Highland Council, High Life Highland has this week advertised a tender and invitation to quote seeking creative filming and photography input to the Inverness Castle - Spirit of the Highlands project. The tender and invitation to quote will contribute to Spirit:Journeys, a natural and cultural heritage initiative that will deliver many benefits for local communities, helping to unlock economic potential and improve visitor experiences across the region.
Artists and craft makers across the Highlands, Moray and the Western Isles can apply for bursaries of up to £750 for their creative development. The Visual Artist and Craft Makers Awards (VACMA) are funded by Creative Scotland in partnership with Inverness Museum and Art Gallery (IMAG) and can support artists at all stages of their career.