Council and HITRANS call for balance in road provision
24th October 2019
The Highland Council and HITRANS are speaking out against the call from walking and cycling organisations to cease all new road building in Scotland.
Cycling Scotland, Cycling UK, Forth Environment Link, Living Streets, Paths for All, Ramblers Scotland, Sustrans Scotland and Transform Scotland issued the call as part of a joint response to the National Transport Strategy.
The Convener of The Highland Council, Bill Lobban said: "Try telling the many people and businesses in the Highlands who have been waiting for years to see investment in the A9 and A96 roads that all planned improvement works will stop! These organisations are based in the central belt where the road networks are more extensive and there are more public transport options than commuters and businesses in the Highlands have. I feel it is very naïve to issue such a statement without understanding the challenges and particular circumstances of everyone who would be affected if all road improvements stopped.
“We have campaigned for many years to see the A9 between Perth and Inverness dualled as it improves our link to the rest of Scotland, helps the economy and will improve safety. With work on this project and the work on the A96 route from Inverness to Aberdeen underway, we want to see it completed and will continue working with Transport Scotland and our partners HITRANS to ensure the Highlands has the investment in vital infrastructure it needs."
Chair of HITRANS and The Highland Council's Chair of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Allan Henderson said: “In making their comments these organisations are aiming to divert funds from these desperately needed infrastructure projects. As a council we are supportive of encouraging all modes of transport including walking, cycling and public transport. We are currently working in partnership with Sustrans on several exciting projects including Inverness City Active Travel Network, Wick Street Design, Dingwall 20mph schemes to name a few. We also work closely with Paths for All’s Smarter Choices Smarter Places fund to deliver behaviour change work and to support our partners Velocity to encourage active travel in our region. However, we also need to ensure that the main arterial routes leading to the Highlands, and our own network of roads keeps our communities connected and allows Highland based businesses to flourish.”
The Highland Council has submitted bids to the UK Government's Levelling Up Fund and Community Renewal Fund totalling over £80 million. When the Chancellor set out details of the Levelling Up Fund in March 2021 the Council was advised that they could submit one transport bid and one bid for each of the three Westminster constituencies.
Two Highland Council by-elections to take place. Following the recent resignation of two Councillors, preparations are underway to hold by-elections in both the Inverness West ward and the Wick and East Caithness ward.
Boundaries Scotland (external link) has submitted its final proposal for Councillor numbers and wards in the Highland Council Area to Scottish Ministers. The Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 required the Commission to review six councils containing inhabited islands - Argyll and Bute, Highland, North Ayrshire, Orkney, Shetland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar.
The Highland Council today launches Building Our Future Highland - a campaign dedicated to keeping the public updated on the progress of works for the re-profiled capital programme's education, housing, and property projects across the region. Chair of the Housing and Property Committee, Cllr Ben Thompson said: "I would encourage anyone interested in the development of our housing, property and schools to utilise this new campaign and keep informed on the progress of works in Highland.
Taxi and Private Hire Drivers and Taxi Operators are set to benefit from a new grant scheme, following an announcement from Scottish Government. If you are a licensed taxi or private hire driver who previously received support through the Taxi Driver and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Support Fund, and hold a current Driver Licence, you are eligible for an additional payment of £1,500.
Councillor Nicola Sinclair will stand down as an independent councillor for East Caithness on 25th June 2021. She will take up a position as reporter for the Press and Journal returning to her former career as a journalist.
All eligible young people are being encouraged to apply for a weekly, term time allowance of £30 per week from August 2021. The Highland Council administers Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in respect of eligible young people from across its 29 secondary schools.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville, announced today to the Scottish Parliament the details of the appeals system that will support this year's Alternative Model for Certification for young people studying for Scottish Qualification courses at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher level. Young people will be empowered to indicate their intention to appeal from 25 June, based on certain criteria.
The Highland Council is believed to be the first local authority in the UK to temporarily relax licensing regulations to enable landowners with suitable sites to provide continental style motorhome stopovers known as ‘Aire' - Àirigh (meaning Shieling in Gaelic). Highland Council is adapting to the significant increase of motorhome ownership in the UK and the demand for self-contained holidays by creating an opportunity to offer small, simple and low-cost short stopovers for motorhome visitors.
Revised burial grounds and crematorium management rules are to come into place from 1 June 2021 for the next 10 years. Following a public consultation that took place in February and March this year, Members of The Highland Council's Communities and Place Committee have approved the revised management rules.