Minutes of Meeting of the Highland Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Thursday, 2 March 2006 at 10.30 a.m.

 

Present:

 

Mr D Mackay, Mr T C Jackson, Mr D C M Flear, Mr J H Green, Mr G M Smith, Mr W Fernie, Mr W Mowat, Mrs A L Magee, Mr W J Ross, Mr D Allan, Mr A Anderson, Mr A Rhind, Mr R Durham, Mr E C MacKinnon, Mrs V MacIver, Mr D W Briggs, Mrs M E Paterson, Mr M M Macmillan, Ms A MacLean, Mrs I McCallum, Dr D Alston, Mr I MacDonald, Mr J Laing, Mr W Fulton, Mrs I Campbell, Mrs H Carmichael, Mr S J Shiels, Mr J T MacDonald, Mr P Corbett, Mr J Ford, Mr R Balfour, Mrs M C Davidson, Mr R J Lyon, Mr W J Smith, Mr A Milne, Mrs M A MacLennan, Mr A J Dick, Mr C L Goodman, Mr J Gray, Mr D R Munro, Mrs E MacRae, Mr N A Donald, Mrs J N Home, Mrs G McCreath, Mr R Wynd, Mr J N Matheson, Mr L Fraser, Mr A S Park, Mrs S Slimon, Mr G Rimell, Mr B M S Dunlop, Mr C King, Mr W Clark, Mr T J MacLennan, Dr M E M Foxley, Mrs O J Macdonald, Mr B J Murphy, Mr N M Clark, Mr A R McFarlane Slack

 

In Attendance:

 

Chief Executive
Director of Corporate Services
Drector of Finance
Director of Education, Culture and Sport
Director of Housing
Director of Planning and Development
Director of Property and Architectural Services
Director of Social Work
Head of Roads and Community Works
Head of Committee Services

 

Mrs A L Magee in the Chair

 

Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Mr A I MacDonald, Mr R Saxon, Ms K MacNab, Mr F R M Keith, Mr A Mackay, Mrs R Finlayson, Mrs J Urquhart, Mr A Torrance, Mr J R Connell, Mrs C A Wilson (OCB), Mr R MacIntyre, Mr D J Chisholm, Mr B Barclay, Mr A M Millar, Mr H Fraser, Mrs C M Cumming, Ms E MacDonald, Mrs K Matheson (OCB), Mrs L MacDonald, Mr A Gordon and Mr F D S Black.

 

2. Presentation – Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) 

 

Professor Brian Clark, Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) made a presentation at the Council on the work of the Committee.  Professor Andrew Blowers and Dr Mark Dutton, both from CoRWM, were also in attendance at the meeting.

 

Members were advised that CoRWM had been appointed by Government in November 2003 to review options for managing UK solid radioactive waste.  This related to high and intermediate-level waste and some low-level waste unfit for existing UK disposal facilities.  They had also been charged with recommending options to provide a long-term solution to radio-active waste management whilst providing protection for people and the environment.

 

Professor Clark outlined the work which had been undertaken to date and explained the recent assessment of a short-list of options following which assessment criteria had been identified and specialist Panels drawn up.  It was acknowledged that a range of information still needed to be gathered to enable an assessment of the long-term robustness of a store/repository against a range of events, including climate change and deliberate or accidental intrusion.  As well as using Multi-Criterion Decision Analysis (MCDA), CoRWM would be undertaking a holistic assessment of each option.  It was important to ensure that the options were scientifically and technically robust so that Government, or its implementer, was equipped to meet any Strategic Environmental Assessment, Environmental Impact Assessment, regulatory, planning, procedural or legal challenges.  Further, options clearly shown to be based on sound science and other data were essential in building public confidence.

 

In summary, Professor Clark detailed future work commitments and reiterated the aim of a report being submitted to Government by the end of July, 2006.  

 

During discussion, Members raised a range of issues, including:-

  • the need to take into account the dangers in transporting radio-active materials; 
  • the public perception of the removal of members of the Committee who had raised criticisms as to the work of CoRWM and the media reporting of conflicts of interest amongst Committee members in relation to the award of contracts;  
  • the CoRWM website did not allow access to the Peer Review report which it was understood had been critical of some of the contracted work;
  • the lack of transparent information in regard to the methodology of MCDA which was a key part of the process;
  • concerns that the short timescale would be insufficient for a series of discrete favoured options to be worked up into an acceptable integrated strategy;
  • Finnish communities seemed to be competing for waste disposal facilities in their areas and consideration should be given as to whether this could have any relevance to plans for the UK; and 
  • lessons should be learned from other European countries with experience of nuclear power generation and waste disposal/storage.

In response, it was confirmed that CoWRM was aware of stakeholder and public concerns regarding the transport of radioactive waste and both storage and disposal options presently being evaluated included storing waste on site or very near to the current sites so as to minimise transport.  Implementation would include a partnership arrangement with local communities to involve them in deciding on transport routes.  Transport issues also included preparing local communities to provide monitoring services and enhanced emergency services.

 

Detailed consideration had led to the method of MCDA being chosen ahead of alternative methods and, whilst no method of analysis was perfect, MCDA had had the advantage of reflecting the priorities of a range of experts on such matters as security, environment, amenity and costs.  Of equal importance was the desire to carry out an intuitive holistic approach which would enable value judgements to be made on ethical and environmental grounds.  In this regard, it was confirmed that, while MCDA was presently underway, the holistic assessment had not appeared on the CoRWM website as it had not yet been conducted.

 

In regard to the deadline which had been set, it was confirmed that CoRWM was confident of achieving its terms of reference by July 2006 with the main decision concerning whether radioactive materials should be stored or disposed in the light of ethical considerations.  It was also confirmed that conflicts of interest within CoWRM had been managed strictly and competently and were not seen as a problem.

 

In terms of the Finnish experience, which had resulted from two existing nuclear sites whose respective communities had been keen to ensure that the waste facilities were near to their individual reactors, it was advised that reasons for the competition had been based on socio-economic factors, and a desire to take responsibility for the whole process through to the waste being in its final repository. 

 

Decision

 

The Council NOTED the presentation.

 

3. Our Energy Challenge – DTI Consultation Document 

 

There had been circulated Report No. HC68-05 (116kb pdf) dated 16 February 2006 by the Director of Planning and Development which advised that the UK Government was currently consulting on a range of topics which would inform a review of the 2003 Energy White Paper. The range of issues went beyond matters associated with electricity generation and involved both transportation and heat issues.  Specific responses had been invited on a number of questions posed in the consultation paper.

 

During a summary of the report, it was confirmed that the key elements of the 2003 Energy White Paper had been the low carbon economy - reliable, competitive and affordable supplies together with delivery through partnership.  Whilst these themes would continue, there had been changes over the last 36 months which had led to the publication of this DTI consultation paper.  The increase in the cost of fuel and reliability of obtaining it had changed and further there was a growing awareness of greening issues and in international positions that had been established at the Kyoto and Montreal Conferences.

 

A breakdown of the 2005 UK energy supply was provided, together with UK emissions by sector, which outlined the heavy reliance on petroleum and natural gas.  There had also been significant changes in the level of emissions since 1990 and the consultation document sought comments on making the most of UK oil and gas reserves; the increasing reliance on imported oil and on imported gas; changing the electricity generation mix and the maintenance and development of transmission and distribution grids.  Details of the UK continental shelf oil and gas production for 2005 were provided, together with the UK gas supply and demand balance from 2004/5 projecting forward to 20014/15 and an outline of the UK energy generation mix.

 

During discussion, Members raised the following issues:-

 

General

  • it was necessary to look beyond electricity production, specifically in regard to the contribution transport made in terms of total emissions; 
  • the contribution made towards emissions in the domestic and land use areas, particularly in Scotland, was significantly greater than in other parts of the UK;
  • the recent energy difficulties between Russia and the Ukraine had highlighted the implications for other countries in central Europe who had previously considered their energy supplies to be secure – security of supply and reliance on imports was therefore central to the debate; and
  • consideration should be given to energy gaps and how they could be met in the future.

Question 1

  • in relation to transport issues, and to inspire confidence in the use of bio-diesel, the Government should ensure parity across Europe in terms of the percentage mixes used in bio-diesel; 
  • difficulties encountered in terms of the availability and accessibility of bio-diesel fuel were an obstruction to its use;
  • the potential for hydrogen-based energy should be highlighted, with particular reference to the Hydrogen project currently underway in Unst, Shetland; and
  • emphasis should be given to biomass heating systems and the  production of fast growing wood, e.g. willow which could be coppiced and renewed very quickly and which would be of benefit to crofting areas in particular.

Question 2

  • carbon capture and storage would be a meaningful way of utilising some of the improved technology with traditional fossil fuels;
  • the potential of tidal and wave power should be highlighted, with specific reference to the work of the Environmental Research Institute based in Thurso which had attracted funding for research into tidal technology development.

Question 3

  • reference should be made to the availability of grid capacity which, in the context of traditional power generation in the Highlands, reduced the capacity for renewable energy generation and ran counter to what was hoped to be achieved; and
  • there were greater efficiencies to be gained through the close proximity of energy generation and its use which highlighted the need to address energy loss as a result of transportation.

Question 4

  • specific mention should be made of the immense potential of wave and tidal energy and the need for funding for research; and
  • a link should be made to issues of sequestration, particularly in terms of land use and forestry which had made significant contributions to climate change.

Question 5

  • participation in efficiency schemes at the domestic level should be assisted (e.g. through one stop shops) as the present system was unnecessarily complicated; 
  • energy efficiency measures should be addressed through Building Regulations which required to be strengthened to ensure that they were necessary in new builds;
  • the zero-rating of all insulation materials should be supported in terms of energy efficiency;
  • reference should be made to the potential for geo-thermal energy; and
  • financial assistance should be offered to residential, business and public sectors e.g. nominal interest loans, on a spend to save basis, to cover the extra capital outlay of incorporating energy efficiency measures in all new builds.

It was also suggested that a cautionary remark should be made in relation to the geography of the Highlands and specifically the difficulties in promoting sustainable energy generation and supplies as a result of transport and fuel costs.  This resulted in innovative local solutions running counter to some of the measures which were proposed.

 

Following further general discussion, Mr D C M Flear, seconded by Mr T C Jackson, MOVED that, in addition to comments raised during the debate, the response to Question 3 should be amended to read “…the Council might wish to indicate that the Highland area’s contribution to electricity generation should be from renewables whilst nuclear generation is most appropriately located adjacent to sites already used, or which have been used, for that purpose which in Highland would include the Dounreay site in Caithness, …..”

 

As an AMENDMENT, Mr D W Briggs, seconded by Mr A Anderson, moved that this proposed change should not be made to the response.

 

On a vote being taken, the MOTION received 21 votes and the AMENDMENT received 28 votes and the AMENDMENT was therefore CARRIED, the votes cast being as follows:-

 

For the Motion

 

Mr D Mackay, Mr T C Jackson, Mr D C M Flear, Mr J H Green, Mr W Fernie, Mr W Mowat, Mr D Allan, Mr R Durham, Mr I MacDonald, Mr S J Shiels, Mr J T MacDonald, Mr P Corbett, Mr J Ford, Mr W J Smith, Mrs M A MacLennan, Mr J Gray, Mrs J N Home, Mr L Fraser, Mr C King, Mr T J MacLennan, Mr A R McFarlane Slack

 

For the Amendment 

 

Mrs A L Magee, Mr W J Ross, Mr A Anderson, Mr A Rhind, Mr D W Briggs , Mrs M E Paterson, Mr M M Macmillan, Ms A MacLean, Dr D Alston, Mrs I Campbell, Mrs H Carmichael, Mr R Balfour, Mrs M C Davidson, Mr A J Dick , Mr C L Goodman, Mr D R Munro , Mrs E MacRae, Mrs G McCreath, Mr R Wynd, Mr A S Park, Mrs S Slimon, Mr G Rimell, Mr B M S Dunlop, Mr W Clark, Dr M E M Foxley, Mrs O J Macdonald, Mr B J Murphy, Mr N M Clark

 

Decision

 

The Council AGREED to respond to each of the questions posed in the consultation paper as recommended in the report and that the additional comments raised during debate should also be included.

 

The Council also AGREED that a copy of the final response should be circulated to all Members and that the Director of Planning and Development should also circulate a list of current grants available to households from the Scottish Executive for energy saving and alternative energy generation.

 

4. Confirmation Of Minutes

 

There had been submitted for confirmation as a correct record the Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 15 December 2004 and the Minutes of the Special Meetings held on 2 February and 9 February 2005 - which were APPROVED.

 

5. Minutes of Meetings of Committees

 

There had been submitted for confirmation as correct records, for information as regards delegated business, and for approval as appropriate, the Minutes of Meetings of Committees held on the dates shown:-#

 

|Link to Minutes Index|

 

5.1 Joint Committee on Children and Young People 16 Dec 2005
5.2 Renewing Democracy and Community Planning Select   Committee 11 Jan 2006
5.3  Sustainable Development Select Committee 11 Jan 2006
5.4  Land and Environment Select Committee 12 Jan 2006   
5.5  Gaelic Select Committee 12 Jan 2006   
5.6  Housing and Social Work Committee 18 Jan 2006   
5.7  Education, Culture and Sport Committee 19 Jan 2006   
5.8  Planning, Development, Europe and  Tourism Committee 25 Jan 2006  
5.9  Transport, Environmental and Community Services  Committee 26 Jan 2006
5.10  Joint Committee on Children and Young People 27 Jan 2006
5.11  Resources Committee 15 Feb 2006
5.12  Audit and Standards Committee 16 Feb 2006

 

The Minutes, having been moved and seconded, were, except as undernoted, APPROVED - matters arising having been dealt with as follows:

 

Education, Culture and Sport Committee-

 

The Council AGREED that a letter should be sent to the Lochaber High School Senior Hockey Team to congratulate them on their achievements to date and to wish them well for the future.

 

* Starred Item: Page 674: Item 10: Proposals to Change Provision of Education in Lady Lovat Primary School

 

It was NOTED that, since the meeting of the Committee, and therefore contrary to the wording of the Minutes, it had been clarified that there would be no need to refer the decision to change the provision of education in Lady Lovat Primary School to the Scottish Executive as the legislation governing this related to distances between school buildings and not the catchment areas.

 

It was also NOTED that the Area Portfolio-holder, Local Member and Director of Education, Culture and Sport would visit the Mallaig School on 13 March 2006 to address accommodation issues and to meet with staff.

 

Planning, Development, Europe and  Tourism Committee

 

It was AGREED that Mr BMS Dunlop’s name should be correctly recorded on the list of those present.

 

It was also NOTED that the Special Meeting of the Committee scheduled to take place on Friday 3 March 2006 had been postponed due to severe weather conditions.

 

Resources Committee

 

Page 723: Item 5: Loan Funding of Caledonian Community Leisure Ltd

 

It was NOTED that Mr J Ford was to meet with Officials to discuss the feasibility of the purchase of a new CHP Plant at a time when gas and electricity prices were extremely volatile.

 

6. Digital Highland Working Group

 

There had been circulated Minutes of Meeting of the Digital Highland Working Group held on 16 February 2006 (20kb pdf) - which were APPROVED.

 

7. Question Time

 

Declaration of Interest

 

Mrs M E Paterson declared a financial interest in this item having been convicted for non payment of a Skye Bridge toll and left the room.

 

The following question had been received by the Director of Corporate Services in terms of Standing Order 42 –

 

Mr A M Millar

 

“Given the recent BBC interviews with the former procurator fiscal at Dingwall, Mr Hingston, regarding the convictions for failing to pay Skye Bridge tolls, wherein he admitted to having prosecuted Highland Council constituents using copied parts of civil documents and without sight of any statutory identification statement publicising the official assignation of ministerial rights, I wish to ask the Convener whether the Council would support a request to the Lord Advocate to reconsider the validity of the convictions in respect of non payment of the Skye Bridge tolls”.

 

The written answer (251kb pdf) had been circulated which confirmed that, if the Council was minded to support the request, the Convener would be happy to arrange for the request to be made to the Lord Advocate.

 

At this point, it was advised that a written supplementary question had been received from Mr Millar but it was confirmed that, in accordance with Standing Order 42.3, the supplementary question could not be considered as Mr Millar was not present at the meeting.

 

Thereafter, Mrs A L Magee, seconded by Mr D W Briggs, MOVED that the Council should support the request to write to the Lord Advocate to ask him to reconsider the validity of the convictions in respect of non payment of the Skye Bridge tolls.

 

As an AMENDMENT, Mr M M Macmillan, seconded by Mr R Balfour, moved that no action be taken.

 

On a vote being taken, the MOTION received 32 votes and the AMENDMENT received 21 votes and the MOTION was therefore CARRIED, the votes cast being as follows:-

 

For the Motion

 

Mr D C M Flear, Mr W Fernie, Mrs A L Magee, Mr W J Ross, Mr A Anderson, Mr R Durham, Mr E C MacKinnon, Mr D W Briggs, Ms A MacLean, Dr D Alston, Mr I MacDonald, Mr J Laing, Mr W Fulton, Mrs I Campbell, Mrs H Carmichael, Mr J T MacDonald, Mr P Corbett, Mrs M C Davidson, Mr R J Lyon, Mr W J Smith, Mrs M A MacLennan, Mr A J Dick , Mrs E MacRae, Mrs G McCreath, Mr R Wynd, Mrs S Slimon, Mr G Rimell, Mr W Clark, Mr T J MacLennan, Dr M E M Foxley, Mrs O J Macdonald, Mr N M Clark

 

For the Amendment

 

Mr D Mackay, Mr T C Jackson, Mr G M Smith, Mr D Allan, Mr A Rhind, Mr M M Macmillan, Mrs I McCallum, Mr S J Shiels, Mr J Ford, Mr R Balfour, Mr A Milne, Mr C L Goodman, Mr J Gray, Mr D R Munro, Mr N A Donald, Mrs J N Home, Mr L Fraser, Mr A S Park, Mr B M S Dunlop, Mr B J Murphy, Mr A R McFarlane Slack

 

Decision

 

The Council AGREED to support the request to write to the Lord Advocate to ask him to reconsider the validity of the convictions in respect of non payment of the Skye Bridge tolls.

 

Mr R Balfour, Mr M Macmillan, Mr A R McFarlane Slack, Mr G M Smith and Mr L Fraser requested that their dissent be recorded.

 

8. Council's Capital Programme  2005/06 – 2009/10

 

There had been circulated Report No. HC69-05 (315kb pdf) dated 23 February 2006 by the Director of Finance which set out the 5 year Capital Programme for 2005/6 – 2009/10.  There had also been circulated separately, Booklet A (314kb pdf) which outlined Capital Programme summaries by Service and Booklet B (717kb pdf) which detailed Capital Bid pro-formas.  As Annex 1 to the report, there had also been circulated for approval Minutes of Meeting of the Budget Working Group held on 22 February 2006 (37kb pdf).

 

During a summary of the report, it was confirmed that the Budget Working Group had considered all bids from Service Committees and accommodated them within the programme which contained a substantial uplift of 25-30% in the coming years.

 

Reference was also made to the key outcomes for TEC Services and, specifically, the funding for lifeline roads and bridges which had been agreed by the Budget Working Group and would also be included within the report.

 

During discussion, it was suggested that changes to current legislation could have the effect of enabling the Social Work service to receive financial recovery in regard to fuel costs for vehicles and it was agreed that this possibility should be pursued.

 

In regard to the Care Home Sub Committee and, specifically, the Contingency Plan which was to be considered at the next meeting, it was confirmed that the Sub-Committee could only consider Contingency Plans on the basis that they would then require to be referred to the Housing and Social Work Committee and the Council for approval.  It was also confirmed that Local Members and Area Committees would be involved in meetings with members of the public to address care home services. 

 

In response to a query as to whether the approval of increased capital expenditure for future years as a result of freedom with prudential spend could pose difficulties for the Council in the future, it was acknowledged that increased expenditure would increase costs in years beyond the programme but the Director of Finance was confident that the programme was affordable and within the prudential borrowing limits.  In future years, the Council would be asked to review what was considered affordable at that time.

 

Reference was also made to the prudence of spending money on the Drummuie project on office rationalisation and it was suggested that this should be deferred until the new Council structures had been decided. In contrast, a number of Members highlighted the considerable work which had been undertaken on the project, including a full feasibility study, which had demonstrated the need for the works. Significant funding contributions were also already in place together with capital receipts which would fund the project.

 

Thereafter, Mr D Allan, seconded by Mr A Milne, MOVED that the Drummuie Project be deferred until the new Council structures had been decided and, in the meantime, the alternative of a new build office be investigated as well as the cost of upgrading the existing Council Offices and Council Chamber.

 

As an AMENDMENT, Mr W J Ross, seconded by Mrs A L Magee, moved approval of the Capital Programme as detailed, including the Drummuie Project.

 

On a vote being taken, the MOTION received 9 votes and the AMENDMENT received 33 votes and the AMENDMENT was therefore CARRIED, the votes cast being as follows:-

 

For the Motion

 

Mr G M Smith, Mr D Allan, Mr A Rhind, Mr D W Briggs , Mr A Milne, Mr C L Goodman, Mr R Wynd, Mr W Clark, Mr T J MacLennan

 

For the Amendment

 

Mr D C M Flear, Mr W Fernie, Mrs A L Magee, Mr W J Ross, Mr A Anderson, Mr R Durham, Mr E C MacKinnon, Mrs V MacIver, Mrs M E Paterson, Mr M M Macmillan, Ms A MacLean, Mrs I McCallum, Dr D Alston, Mr I MacDonald, Mr J Laing, Mrs I Campbell, Mr S J Shiels, Mr J T MacDonald, Mr J Ford, Mr R Balfour, Mrs M C Davidson, Mr R J Lyon, Mr A J Dick , Mr J Gray, Mrs E MacRae, Mrs J N Home, Mrs G McCreath, Mr A S Park, Mrs S Slimon, Dr M E M Foxley, Mrs O J Macdonald, Mr B J Murphy, Mr N M Clark

 

Decision

 

The Council:-

 

AGREED total net capital allocations for 2005/06 to 2009/10 as set out below, with allocation to Services as set out in the report;

 

Recommended net capital totals:-

 

05/06 - £32.761m
06/07 - £33.333m
07/08 - £40.000m
08/09 - £42.000m
09/10 - £42.000m
Future Years - £33.025m

 

(a) AGREED Service capital programmes as set out in Booklet A, subject to
     further review by Service Committees to update costing and phasing to
     take account of construction cost increases;
(b) NOTED the additional revenue consequences as set out in the report and
     AGREED
to make provision for these additional costs in 2007/08 and later
     years;
(c) AGREED capital discretionary fund proposals for 2005/06 and 2006/07 as
     set out in Section 7;
(d) AGREED the Prudential Indicators as set out in Annex 3;
(e) APPROVED the Minutes of Meeting of the Budget Working Group held on
     22 February 2006, subject to an amendment that “the Care Home Sub-
     Committee would consider Contingency Plans so that Members were able to
     make decisions on an informed basis”; and 
(f) AGREED the inclusion of funding for lifeline roads and bridges into the key
     outcomes for TEC services.

 

9.  Comunity Ownership Programme for Housing Transfer

 

Declaration of Interest 

 

Mr B J Murphy and Mrs H Carmichael declared non-financial interests in this item as members of the Management Committee of the Highland Housing Association and remained to participate in the discussion.

 

There had been circulated Report No. HC70-05 (52kb pdf) dated 17th February 2006 by the Director of Housing which advised of the forthcoming communication and consultation process with tenants regarding the proposals for housing transfer and the appointment of the Independent Tenant Adviser. The report also provided an up-date on the work of the Highland Housing Association.

 

The report advised that the Council and Highland Housing Association had jointly appointed Pagoda Public Relations as the Communications Adviser for the Housing Transfer Project. The Project Board had approved the draft Communication Strategy and Consultation Plan proposed by Pagoda at its meeting on 16 January 2006.  The broad aims of the Strategy were to ensure that tenants, staff and other stakeholders:

  • were aware of the Community Ownership Programme and the reasons why the Council considered it to be the best option for the future 
  • are fully informed about the process involved in the potential transfer of the Council’s houses and the steps leading up to the ballot in October 2006 
  • have the opportunity to take part in the consultation process, and  
  • become familiar with Highland Housing Association and its plans.

While welcoming the broad aims of the Strategy, Members suggested that it should clearly ensure that tenants, staff and other stakeholders became familiar not only with the Highland Housing Association and its plans but also second stage transfers.

 

Decision

 

The Council NOTED the forthcoming communication and consultation process with tenants regarding proposals for housing transfer and the appointment of the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) as Independent Tenant Adviser, together with the progress of the Highland Housing Association.

 

10. Adoption of Inverness Local Plan

 

It was advised that Scottish Ministers had confirmed that the Council was now free to adopt the Inverness Local Plan.  The Council was therefore invited to adopt the following resolution:-

 

“With reference to the Minutes of Meeting of the Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism Committee held on 16th November 2005, the Council resolves to adopt with effect from 2nd March 2006, the Inverness Local Plan”.

 

Decision

 

The Council so RESOLVED.

 

11. South West Inverness Flood Relief Channel Flod Prevention Scheme 2006   

 

There had been circulated Report No. HC71-05 (23kb pdf) dated 15 February 2006 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services which confirmed that approval for the promotion of the Highland Council (South West Inverness Flood Relief Channel) Flood Prevention Scheme had been given at the City of Inverness and Area TEC Services Committee on 15th November 2004. It was now necessary to obtain a formal resolution from the Highland Council for the making of this Scheme.

 

Decision

 

The Council so RESOLVED.

 

12. Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005
Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006

 

Declaration of Interest

 

Mrs E MacRae declared a financial interest in this item as a licensee and left the room.

 

There had been circulated Joint Report No. HC72-05 (27kb pdf) dated 8 February  2006 by the Directors of Transport, Environmental and Community Services and Corporate Services which advised of the imminent introduction of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006 and sought approval for proposals to ensure their effective application and enforcement.

 

The legislation would come into effect on 26 March 2006 and was being introduced to save lives and prevent diseases caused by passive smoking.  The legislation would prohibit smoking in defined “no-smoking” premises that were wholly or substantially enclosed. There were very few exemptions to the smoking ban and the new law would affect most public places, including work places and work vehicles.

 

An official guidance document, “Enforcement Guidance and Protocols for Smoke-Free Public Places” had been issued and it was proposed that the Council’s enforcement strategy would follow this guidance.

 

During discussion, it was suggested that clarification should be sought on whether the smoking ban was to be applied to areas such as play parks and bus shelters.

 

Decision

 

The Council AGREED additions to the Scheme of Delegation and Administration to Committees and to Officers as follows:-

 

(a) to delegate powers to Environmental Health Officers, Smoking
     Enforcement Officers and Technical Officers to carry out enforcement
     duties in terms of Part 1 of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) 
     Act 2005 and the Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Places (Scotland)
     Regulations 2006;
(b) to delegate powers to Principal Environmental Health Officers to instigate
     summary proceedings under Section 7  Smoking, Health and Social Care
     (Scotland) Act 2005; and
(c) to delegate powers to Area Committees (or their respective Licensing Sub-
     Committees) to conduct hearings in respect of appeals against fixed
     penalties issued under Sections 1, 2 or 3 of the Smoking, Health and
     Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005.

 

It was also AGREED that clarification should be obtained in relation to the application of the 2005 Act and the 2006 Regulations in regard to smoking in play parks and bus shelters and that a report in this regard should be submitted to a future meeting of the TEC Services Committee.

 

13. Byelaws to Prohibit The Consumption of Alcohol in Designated Public Places: Thurso and Wick

 

There had been circulated Report No. HC73-05 (45kb pdf) dated 22 February 2006 by the Caithness Area Manager which confirmed that the Caithness Area Committee had agreed to recommend that byelaws be introduced to prohibit the consumption of alcohol in designated places in Thurso and Wick.

 

Decision

 

The Council AGREED that, subject to confirmation by Scottish Ministers, byelaws should be made to prohibit the consumption of alcohol in designated public places in Thurso and Wick as detailed in the appendices to the report.

 

14. Northern Joint Police Board

 

Following the resignation of Mrs Isabelle Campbell from the Northern Joint Police Board on 6 February 2005, the Skye and Lochalsh Area Committee had agreed to nominate Mr John Laing to fill the vacancy as substantive member, with Mr Iain MacDonald taking the place of Mr Laing as the substitute member.  

 

Decision

 

The Council APPROVED the appointments to the Northern Joint Police Board as detailed.

 

15. Timetable of Meetings

 

The Council was advised that, with the consent of the relevant Chairmen, it was proposed to replace the meetings of the Renewing Democracy and Community Planning Select Committee and the Sustainable Development Select Committee scheduled to take place on 17 May 2006 with a second Population Summit.  To enable Ministerial attendance, the Summit would be held on Tuesday 16 May 2006.

 

The Council APPROVED this change to the Timetable of Meetings.

 

16. Area Minutes

 

There had been circulated Report No. HC74-05 (15kb pdf) being a list of the Minutes of Area Meetings which had taken place during the last cycle.

 

Decision

 

The Council NOTED the list of Minutes of Area Meetings as circulated.

 

17. Deeds Executed

 

There had been circulated Report No. HC75-05 (14kb pdf) being a list of deeds and other documents executed on behalf of the Council since the meeting held on 15 December 2005.

 

Decision

 

The Council NOTED the list of deeds and other documents as circulated.

 

The meeting ended at 1.25 p.m.