Highland Council supports UK Air Passenger Duty exemption for flights departing Highlands & Islands
27th June 2019
Highland Councillors have unanimously agreed that the Council will support the continuation of the exemption from UK Air Passenger Duty for flights departing from airports in the Highlands & Islands; and Members also agreed that the Council will continue working with HiTRANS to present the case of the need for, and benefit arising from an exemption from the current UK Air Passenger Duty and any successor duty.
The Council's stance comes this week as calls have been made by Aberdeen Airport for greater parity with Highlands & Islands.
Members were informed in a report to a meeting of The Highland Council today (27 June) that the Scottish Government announced on 7 May 2019 that reducing the Air Departure Tax was no longer compatible with Scotland's new emissions reduction targets. The Scottish Government confirmed that they have agreed with the UK Government that the introduction of the Air Departure Tax would be deferred beyond April 2020 to ensure it was properly devolved and that a solution was found to the Highlands and Islands exemption to protect rural communities.
The Scottish Government have advised that "Air connectivity is critical for the Highlands and Islands, and our position on the existing exemption is unchanged - it must remain in place to protect remote and rural communities." The Scottish Government therefore have committed to continue to work with the UK Government and the Air Departure Tax Highlands and Islands Working Group to find a solution. In the meantime, the UK Government will maintain the application of Air Passenger Duty in Scotland, including the exemption for Highlands and Islands.
Convener Cllr Bill Lobban said: "The Highlands must remain affordable and competitive in its air connections with the rest of the world. Air links are vital to business and tourism and good connectivity is fundamental to building a thriving rural economy."
Cllr Andrew Jarvie added: "It’s taken three decades of hard work to get Inverness airport the connectivity it has with six daily flights to global hubs - you can fly from Inverness to any continent in the world with one ticket and one stop. This has opened Inverness to the world and any threat would only take us backwards."
Highland Council's Trading Standards Team is urging consumers to check whether their tumble dryer is covered by a nation-wide product recall. Safety concerns affect a wide range of models and the manufacturer is offering a brand new machine at no cost to replace the problem items.
The Highland Council is supporting this year's Challenge Poverty Week, which runs from 7-13 October 2019. The Scotland-wide campaign led by the Poverty Alliance is designed to raise awareness that poverty exists in Scotland and restricts people's ability to take part in society.
The Highland Council has once again been alerted to a Council Tax scam whereby scammers are cold calling and claiming that the resident is due a council tax refund or can have their Council Tax band reassessed upon payment of £150. Council Tax bands are determined by the Assessor and Electoral Registration Officer who is independent from the Highland Council.
Motorists are being advised that in the interests of public safety during the Loch Ness Marathon, River Ness 10k Race and River Ness 5k Fun Run charity events taking place this Sunday 6th October 2019, various roads temporary closures and restrictions will be in place. The Infirmary Bridge in Inverness will also be closed to pedestrians and cyclists on Sunday 6th October from 09:00 to 17:00.
The Highland Council has welcomed the announcement that it is to receive nearly £1.3m from the Scottish Crown Estate out of a total of £7.5m which was the net revenue from the marine assets in the 0-12 nautical mile zone for the year 2017-2018. Following the recent devolution of the management of the Crown Estate, this is the first year under these new arrangements which will enable coastal local authorities to fund coastal community benefit across the region.
Wickers are being given the chance to help transform their High Street into a more vibrant, accessible and a welcoming place for everyone to spend time in, as part of the Town Centre Regeneration. The Wick Street Design project is being delivered by Sustrans Scotland in partnership with The Highland Council, Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council and Local Councillors.
The Highland Council is taking the opportunity during Recycle Week 2019 to encourage Highland households and businesses to do their bit and remember to recycle as much as they can. Recycle Week (23- 29 September 2019) is the annual awareness week coordinated by Zero Waste Scotland, aiming to get everyone recycling more by raising awareness of the benefits and promoting easy ways to do more.
Consumer complaints about second-hand cars have topped the complaints "league table" in Scotland for many years. Common problems include mechanical issues, misdescribed cars and history.
Changes to a number of Polling Districts and Polling Places in the Highlands were agreed yesterday (Thursday 5 September 2019) at the meeting of The Highland Council. Members approved a new Scheme of Polling Districts and Polling Places that will be in place for the next four years.
As part of The Highland Council's Redesign, the Council has announced two further appointments to new posts of Executive Chief Officer (ECO). Stuart Black, Director of Development and Infrastructure, will take up the post of ECO for Transformation and Economy at the end of the month.
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