Letter to Transport Minister meets with disappointing response
5th February 2018
Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, has expressed his disappointment in the lack of promised support for local authorities struggling to fund the extra pressures caused by the winter weather.
He said: "The Highland Council has the largest roadwork of any local authority in the UK, with nearly 7,000km of regional roads and over 1,700km of footways. We have a commitment to keep the Highlands moving, ensure emergency services can operate and provide a safer environment for communities. We prioritise our winter budget accordingly and do the best we can within our policy. It has however been an exceptionally severe winter with snow and ice affecting our road network and the knock on effect of this will be significant damage to road surfaces throughout the region.
"Although we currently have adequate supplies of grit, there has been a considerable cost in manpower, meaning our winter budget is considerably overspent, and we can expect to be left facing a huge repair bill to fix the pothole damage exacerbated by the icy and fluctuating conditions.
“It is therefore, extremely disappointing that the Transport Minister's generous offer of help to local authorities like ours, on 17th January, has come to no financial benefit. The goodwill, it seems, disappears as quickly as the snow!"
The Highland Council has invited people in Thurso to attend a public exhibition highlighting proposals for flood prevention measures along the River Thurso. The Council is currently developing a Flood Protection Study (FPS) for the River to identify solutions that will alleviate the risk of flooding.
Following a Highland Council Trading Standards investigation, Wick Sheriff Court has imposed a court order on a 42 year old local woman who was found to be selling counterfeit goods. The Order places stringent restrictions on her future conduct and any breach of it can lead to a hefty fine or imprisonment.
On 22nd January 2019 the Moray West wind Farm planning application returns to the North Planning committee but merely for some slight changes to the location of some turbines to lessen the impact on certain views. The original permission and this one is not within the power of the committee but they have the ability to enter an objection.
Police in Lochaber can confirm that a 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with alleged consumer protection offences in Fort William. It follows an investigation by Police Scotland and Highland Council Trading Standards, after a report was received this week of "bogus workmen" in Fort William and alleged fraudulent activity relating to charges for work carried out on a house in the town.
DETAILED analysis of the Scottish Government's funding settlement, which makes up the vast proportion of the Council's budget, has been carried out and the net result is that the Highland Council will see a reduction in its grant funding to provide the current level of services. This, together with the additional pressures equates to a £31.2M budget gap for 2019-20.
Highland Council Trading Standards have produced guidance on how to spot the signs of scams that target businesses and also remind businesses to inform their employees on what to look out for when dealing with unsolicited telephone calls, emails and texts. All businesses as well as non-profit organisations (such as charitable organisations) may spend a lot of time dealing with potential scammers.
The Highland Council has written to parents and carers of school transport pupils to inform them that D&E Coaches have recently transferred a number of Highland Council contracts to Stagecoach and some school transport routes are included. These changes are to take effect from the first day back after the school holidays, Monday 7th January 2019 and timetables have been supplied for the routes affected.
Twenty nine members of The Highland Council's Care and Learning team have celebrated their success in completing the Council's 15 month ‘Lead On’ programme. ‘Lead On’, is a programme designed to develop practitioners’ understanding of change leadership and apply this through a change initiative in their place of work.
Highland Councillors are looking forward beyond the current Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal and asking: "What next and where?". Following publication of the Deal's annual report, Leader of The Highland Council Cllr Margaret Davidson said: "A meeting will be convened in the New Year with Councillors who have a particular interest in the City-Region Deal to talk about where we can go next and what we can do.".
Work underway to determine Highland's Budget allocation. Commenting after the news received last night of Councils' individual allocations, from the Scottish Government’s draft Budget, Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "Having received the details of our allocation just last night, it will take some time to work through the proposed settlement and do a detailed analysis.
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