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 public is being asked for its views on proposals by The Highland Council to review the maximum level of charges for the hire of taxis or private hire cars fitted with taxi meters operating under licence of The Highland Council. The Council has a statutory duty in terms of Section 17 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 to review its scales for the fares and other taxi related charges every 18 months.
A report published today by the local authority spending watchdog looks at how councils are using the estimated 130 ALEOs (arms-length external organisations) in Scotland, which have an annual spend of more than £1.3 billion, and the impact they are making. ALEOs can take many forms - such as companies, community organisations or charities.
Members of The Highland Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee have given their backing to new shop front guidance aimed at ensuring high quality designs for traditional, replacement and new shopfronts throughout the Highlands. The Guidance sets out general principles for repair, reinstatement and replacement of shopfronts, as well as general principles for new shopfronts in new development.
Councillor Matthew Reiss, who represents the Thurso and Northwest Caithness Ward, has been elected as Chairman of The Highland Council's Caithness Committee. He takes over from Councillor Donnie Mackay who has held the role since June 2017.
Members of the Caithness Committee have on Wednesday 16th May 2018 approved the Council's 2018/19 structural maintenance programmes for roads in the area for the coming year which reflects both the strategic network and the importance attached to local roads by rural communities. The revenue budget for road maintenance activities in Caithness for 18/19 is £1.214M of which £0.539M is allocated for winter maintenance with a further capital budget of £0.785M The Highland Council's allocation to areas for structural road maintenance is based on the results of the annual Scottish Road Maintenance Condition Survey, safety inspections, service inspections and input from local members.
The Highland Council remains on track to deliver much-needed affordable homes across the Highlands as recent figures produced show all new home completions in Highland are on the up. In its Strategic Housing Plan 2018-2023 the Council has a pledge to approve a minimum of 500 units each year of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership.
AVIEMORE now has access to free WIFI in and around the centre of the town thanks to a project led by the Highland Council and funded by the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal. The free WiFi, called "High-Fi", is aimed at stimulating economic growth and will increase digital inclusion across the Highlands.
The Highland Council has considered Audit Scotland's report on Local Government in Scotland, Challenges & Performance 2018. Audit Scotland recognises that councils will continue to face difficult decisions with limited resources.
The work of the Redesign Board has been considered by Council today. The Redesign Board is fundamentally changing the way the council does things.
The annual Local Scrutiny Plan (LSP) 2018/19 for Highland Council was considered by Council today (10 May 2018). The plan is based on a shared risk assessment undertaken by representatives of all the scrutiny bodies who engage with the council and shows no additional scrutiny is required of the Council during 2018/19.
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