Ross and Cromarty Councillors to liaise with communities over changes to festive lighting and decoration support
1st May 2019
Ross and Cromarty Councillors are to liaise with Community councils and local community groups wishing to provide festive Christmas lighting and decorations. It follows a new uniform policy that has come into place in order for the Highland Council to recover the costs associated with providing festive lighting and decoration assistance to communities.
As part of the Highland Council's budget savings £35,000 has been removed from the council's general lighting maintenance budget. This followed a review presented to the Corporate Redesign Board of the Street Lighting Service which highlighted inconsistencies of the approach taken with some communities paying for provision while others did not.
This removal of this funding means that in future the Council’s lighting service will not be able to undertake the erection and removal of Christmas lighting decorations to those communities which had previously received a free service. Communities are also being advised that the Council will also only be able to secure trees where communities can provide funding to cover the service costs.
In a paper presented to the Ross and Cromarty Committee today (Wednesday 1 May) it was stressed that as a result of positive discussions with communities over several years the majority of communities in Ross-shire already install their own lighting and in some instances the Council’s Lighting Electricians assist in their own time with free use of the Councils plant. In cases where this happens the Council will continue to provide the use of these vehicles at no cost.
Robin Pope, Policy and Programme Manager with Community Services said: "Those communities who have historically received a free service will need to find alternative ways to provide their Christmas lighting. This will include the cost of electrical connection, disconnection and safety checks and the erection and taking down of decorations. This uniform approach means that the resources of the Council’s lighting services will be able to be targeted at the maintenance of existing lighting stock and the roll-out of the delivery of the LED lighting programme which provides energy savings to the council."
Extra cash in the pockets of low income families Eligible parents of children aged four and five are being encouraged to apply for financial support worth £250. The one-off £250 payment is currently open to eligible families with a child who was born between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016 and who is old enough to start primary one this year.
Works on the Inverness West Link Stage 2 were suspended on the 24 March 2020 following COVID-19 guidance from the Scottish Government. The Highland Council has been in dialogue with Contractors RJ McLeod and has agreed that essential works are required to begin to address safety issues but primarily the works to be undertaken are to provide for physical distancing and encourage active travel, walking, wheeling and cycling as part of, and to augment the successful Spaces for People project.
The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant schemes, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, have now paid out £59,628,750 to over 5500 Highland businesses. The Council has now processed 99% of the applications received since the grant schemes opened.
Blueprint for safe return to classes. Detailed guidance on practical measures to allow schools to re-open on 11 August has been published.
The Highland Council is assessing the implications of the First Minister's announcements made on the 21st May about the first stage relaxation of lockdown, concerning teachers and other education staff returning to the workplace during June to prepare for the return to school and settings on 11th August. Highland Council's Education Committee Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The return to workplace and Highland schools for our Education staff will have to be undertaken carefully and gradually.
The Highland Council's Environmental Health Team is advising consumers to use their water wisely and check their private water supply systems for any signs of water leaks or risks of contamination. A private water supply is a property that does not have a Scottish Water mains water connection.
The Highland Council can now confirm which of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region will re-open from Monday 1st June 2020. A phased approach to re-opening the sites will be adopted with strict controls in place to help manage social distancing and to ensure the anticipated high number of visitors and volume of waste can be handled safely and efficiently.
The Highland Council's Housing Service currently operates an annual garden aid scheme, cutting grass in approximately 1,300 council house gardens. The Garden Aid service is for older or disabled tenants who don't have anyone to help them cut their grass.
Following an ambitious bid by Highland Council supported by NHS Highland, to deliver rapid active travel interventions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, The Highland Council has been awarded £752,954 from the Scottish Government's Spaces for People fund, which is administered by Sustrans. Over the coming weeks towns across Highland and the City of Inverness will see a roll-out of temporary walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure along priority routes.
Public assurance is being provided by Highland Council that the organisation is fully transparent and accountable during the COVID-19 emergency response as it publishes decisions made by its group of senior officers - or Gold Group* - under emergency procedures. The list of decisions made since 19 March 2020 is on the Council's website at the following link and will continue to the added to and updated as further decisions are made using emergency procedures.
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