February 2012

Planning customer care trial rolls out to Golspie offices

The Highland Council is eager to improve the service it provides to customers with planning and building standards enquiries by channeling routine enquiries via its Service Points and Service Centre.

Winter payment available for Inverness residents

The City of Inverness Common Good Fund operates a Scheme of Winter Fuel Payments and The Highland Council is reminding residents who have not already applied for the benefit this winter and who wish to receive a donation, that they have until the 15th March to submit an application.

High standards at Drakies Primary School, Inverness

Pupils and staff at Drakies Primary School have received praise from Her Majesty’s Inspectors in their report published this week.

Postal votes sent out for Crofting Commission elections

Postal ballot papers were issued today to the 10,877 voters eligible to take part in the forthcoming Crofting Commission elections to elect five new board members representing Shetland, East Highlands, Western Isles, West Highlands and South West, and Highlands.

Countryside Rangers launch their 2012 guided walks and events

The Highland Council’s Countryside Rangers, in partnership with the Rangers from Moray Council, have launched their 2012 brochure featuring over 400 guided walks and events to encourage everyone to get out and explore the great outdoors and find out more about the animals that share it with us.

Leeks on the menu at Cromarty Primary

Pupils of Cromarty Primary’s Garden Group pulled up the last of their leeks which have been grown for the school kitchen. The school cook, Christel MacLean was delighted with the crop and will be turning them into delicious soup for lunch time.

City roads temporarily closed during half marathon

The 2012 Inverness Half Marathon and Fun Run takes place on Sunday 11 March and the Council is advising drivers that temporary traffic restrictions will be in place in and around the city on this date.

Portree is first venue for Council Election briefing sessions

Skye will host the first in a series of six Highland-wide briefing sessions for prospective candidates at The Highland Council elections on 3 May 2012.The venue is The Highland Council Chamber, Tigh na Sgire, Portree on Tuesday 28 February, starting at noon.

Road closures necessary to accommodate flood channel work

A public meeting is being held between 6pm – 7.30pm on Thursday (1 March) at Fairways Golf Club, Inverness, when local residents will be advised of traffic management issues and site progress on Phase 4 of the South West Inverness Flood Relief Channel, which, when completed, will reduce the possibility of flooding in that part of the city.

Public to have say on service integration in Skye and Lochalsh

People in Skye and Lochalsh are invited to find out more about, and have an opportunity to have their say on the development of Planning for Integration of health, education and social care services provided by NHS Highland and The Highland Council.

Official opening of Acharacle Primary School

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell MSP will officially open Acharacle Primary School on Friday (2 March) during a visit to Lochaber which also includes a guided tour around Ardnamurchan High School,now in its 10th year.

Statement from Highland and Islands Fire Board, Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service, and Representative Bodies

A high level seminar involving the Highland and Islands Fire Board, senior staff from Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service (HIFRS), the Fire Brigades Union, the Retained Firefighters Union (Scotland), the Fire Officers Association and senior officers from the HIFRS Peer Support Team has been held today (Friday 24th February) to analyse the key issue of risk to communities and firefighters in the area.

Communities at the heart of benefits from renewable energy developments

The Highland Council has taken an important step towards securing the highest level of benefit possible for local communities across the Highlands from renewable energy developments by agreeing a policy on how future funds are allocated.

Blue bins delivered in advance of new Inverness refuse and recycling collections

Preparations are continuing for the roll out of the largest phase of The Highland Council’s new refuse and recycling service to the Inverness area on 2nd April and also to remaining parts of Wester Ross.

Advance warning to drivers about temporary road closure

Drivers are being advised that the C1063 Invergordon – Tomich Junction road will be temporarily closed to all traffic from 10am to 12 noon on Wednesday 7th March.

Wester Ross Blue Bins delivered for new service

Preparations for the roll out of The Highland Council’s new refuse and recycling service to all the remaining parts of Wester Ross on 2nd April are continuing. This will see the new collections introduced from Braemore Junction to Gairloch, Shieldaig, Kinlochewe, Torridon through to Applecross; also residents in the Lochcarron area not included in last October’s rollout.

Council regrets further delays to reopening of Stromeferry Bypass

Adverse weather has delayed the progress of contractors commissioned to make safe an unstable rockface on the A 890 Stromeferry Bypass and the hoped for partial reopening of the road on Monday 27 February has had to be further delayed.

Green light for two new Wick primary schools

The Highland Council has been given the go ahead to proceed with plans to replace the four primary schools in Wick with two new purpose built schools serving the North and South of the town.

Nairn Ward Forum to focus on Sandown

The Nairn Ward Forum taking place on Wednesday 29 February will focus on the steps been taken to prepare a development brief for the Sandown site in the town and the Highland Council is encouraging people to come along and have their say.

A bird in the hand

Last week pupils at Lochinver Primary School teamed up with The Highland Council Ranger Service, the local RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) staff and the Highland Ringing Group to get a closer look at some of our local birds.

Essential road works to upgrade Kessock Bridge

An estimated £18 million programme of essential works is to be started next year on the Kessock Bridge to bring the key route into Inverness and the North of Scotland up to modern standards and ensure public safety.

People across the Highlands urged to recycle more, more often and give things another life

Next week, the Scottish Government’s recycling road show visits the Highlands to encourage people to recycle more and give recyclable items another life.

Public to have say on service integration in Badenoch and Strathspey

People in Badenoch and Strathspey are invited to find out more about, and have an opportunity to have their say on the development of Planning for Integration of health, education and social care services provided by NHS Highland and The Highland Council.

Fire Board to be consulted over fire station sustainability

The Highland and Islands Fire Board has assured the public that it will be fully consulted on the future of fire stations, recognising that fire fighters need the necessary training to secure their own safety and provide their communities with safe cover.

Strathspey bat group bat box making event

Do you want to help wildlife in your area? Would you like to make a home for a European Protected Species? If the answer is yes then come along and help the Strathspey Bat Group make some bat boxes at the Nethy Bridge Community Centre between 7pm and 9pm on the 28th of February.

Working Group recommends way forward for Inverness West Link Road

A Highland Council cross-party working group, is making a clear recommendation to the full council meeting on Thursday 1 March over the preferred route for the Inverness West Link Road, which will provide a new transport link from the Southern Distributor Road at Dores Road to the A82 trunk road via a fixed link across the River Ness and the Caledonian Canal.

Early decision vital on Inverness West Link route

The Chairman of The Highland Council’s TEC Services Committee says an early decision is vital to allow work to start in 2014/15 on the Inverness City Trunk Road: West Link which will ease congestion in Inverness city centre, provide enhanced recreational facilities and permit the area to prosper.

Ideas sought for community use of land at Holm, Inverness

Highland Councillors from Inverness Ness-side Ward are inviting local organisations to apply to develop land in the Holm area, which is being made available for the community. Councillors Norrie Donald, John Finnie, David Henderson and Fraser Parr hope that a facility can be created on the site which will benefit the local community.

CnaG launches the 2012 students summer placement scheme

Comunn na Gàidhlig is offering Gaelic-speaking students and organisations which work through the medium of Gaelic the opportunity to participate in this year’s Summer Placement Scheme.

“Chew it, wrap it, bin it” message promoted to Highland pupils

Next week pupils in ten Highland schools will take part in a series of drama workshops to highlight issues surrounding litter, especially disposal of discarded chewing gum.

Lochaber ward forums planned for next week

Community Councils and members of the public will get an opportunity to hear about a range of issues being discussed next week at two separate meetings for The Highland Council Ward 22 (Fort William and Ardnamurchan) and Ward 12 (Caol and Mallaig).

Target date for partial re-opening of Stromeferry By-pass delayed

The target date for the partial re-opening of the A 890 Stromeferry By-pass between Lochcarron and Kyle/Plockton has had to be delayed until Monday 27 February as the result of more extensive works being identified by the specialist contractors employed by The Highland Council to make safe the rockface and reopen the road.

Support for visit to the Highlands by His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Up to a maximum of £5,000 from the Inverness Common Good Fund will be provided to support the visit to Inverness on Saturday 23 June of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

City Committee’s statement on the Inverness West Link Road

Following a presentation on the responses to the second public consultation for the Inverness West Link, and the pooortunity to discuss feedback from the Inverness Trunk Link Road (West Link) Working Group held on the 27 January, members of the Inverness City Committee have had a chance to provide their views on the options under consideration.

Awareness briefing sessions for election candidates and agents

Prospective candidates at the forthcoming Highland Council elections on 3 May 2012 and their agents are being invited to attend one of a series of 6 awareness briefing sessions being held by the Returning Officer, Alistair Dodds, Chief Executive of The Highland Council.

Highland community benefit policy launched at Inverness conference

The Highland Council will launch its revised Community Benefit Policy on Friday 24 February at a conference being held at the Centre for Health Science, Raigmore, Inverness.

Council’s cleaning team receive national excellence award

The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Cleaning Service have received a Performance Network Award for the Most Improved Performer in the Association of Public Services 2011 Excellence Awards.

Public to have say on service integration

People in East Ross and Caithness are invited to find out more about, and have an opportunity to have their say on the development of Planning for Integration of health, education and social care services provided by NHS Highland and The Highland Council.

HMIe Inspection Report on Lochyside Roman Catholic Primary School

A Very Positive Report by Inspectors for Lochyside Roman Catholic Primary School in Fort William has highlighted the leadership provided by the Head Teacher and identified a number of key strengths

Temporary city road closure

Drivers in Inverness are being advised that part of Old Edinburgh Road will be temporarily closed to all vehicles from 9.30am on Monday 20 February until 6pm on Friday 24 February. This temporary closure is to allow for utility work to be carried out.

Deadline to nominate education stars looms

Last chance to submit nominations for Scottish Education Awards

Inverness city centre remedial works

The Highland Council has appointed a contractor M.M. Miller Ltd to carry out remedial works in Inverness city centre over a 6-week contract period. The contractor will commence in Eastgate on Monday (13 February 2012) primarily to resurface an area of defective slabs outside Marks and Spencer’s store.

Council appoints two key directors to lead integration project

The Highland Council has confirmed the appointment of the two directors who will lead the integration of services for children across the authority from April.

Chairman welcomes positive inspection of Highland housing service

An inspection of housing services provided by The Highland Council has recognised the Council’s strengths in delivering its housing services.

Council Tax freeze agreed for fifth year in a row

At a special meeting today (Thursday), The Highland Council agreed to freeze the Council Tax for a fifth successive year and has confirmed a revenue budget of £602 million for 2012-13.

Dingwall Heritage Hub Community Consultation Questionnaire

A new Community Consultation Questionnaire is being launched this week in Dingwall.

Monday June 4 confirmed as school holiday in celebration for Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

The Highland Council has confirmed that all Highland schools will be closed on Monday 4 June to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee following the go ahead from the Scottish Government.

Council sets a clear course to a low carbon future with Carbon Trust Standard

The Highland Council has been awarded the Carbon Trust Standard after taking action on climate change by measuring, managing and reducing its carbon emissions.

HI-Scot Credit Union crosses “The Pond”

HI-Scot Credit Union, the Credit Union for the Highlands and Islands, has just enjoyed its busiest start to a year in its five year history.

Prize composter presented

Towards the end of last year The Highland Council held a series of Energy Advice Roadshows in the Aird and Loch Ness ward to offer householders advice on how to better manage their energy consumption with a view to saving money and helping reduce the environmental impact related to energy consumption.

Kids club youngsters create planters from recycled wood

The kids at the Farr Edge after school club in Bettyhill have been busy doing some serious building work with help from The Highland Council’s North Sutherland Countryside Ranger, Paul Castle.

Join the conversation on Planning for Integration

People in the Highlands are invited to find out more about, and have an opportunity to have their say on the development of Planning for Integration of health, education and social care services in the area provided by NHS Highland and The Highland Council.

Public meetings to consult on the reopening of the Stromeferry By-pass

The Highland Council will be holding two public meetings next week to consult with local communities on the arrangements to reopen the A 890 Stromeferry Bypass to road users.

Eye-catching Ella draws attention to alcohol misuse

A certain lady is creating a bit of stir as the star attraction of a window display on Alness High Street.

New community councils formed at Lairg and Raasay

New community councils have been formed at Lairg and at Raasay, Skye, following the count of postal votes cast in elections held on Thursday 2 February.

Council injects £2 million into road maintenance

The Highland Council will be asked to agree an additional £2m for road repairs when it meets next Thursday (9 February).

Council Tax freeze recommended for fifth year in a row

The Highland Council is being recommended to freeze the Council Tax for a fifth successive year and confirm a budget of £602 million for 2012-13 when it meets on Thursday 9 February.

Boosting classroom support in Highland primary schools

The Highland Council will be asked next week at its budget setting meeting to inject an additional £650,000 into classroom support in primary schools.

Young Leader Awards for Cromarty Pupils

Fiona Brodie, High Life Highland Active Schools Coordinator has presented Young Leader Award certificates to pupils of Cromarty Primary School.

Redevelopment planned for Hilton pub site, Inverness

Members of The Highland Council’s Inverness Ness-side Ward have welcomed the award of a contract to demoliish the former Jolly Drover pub at Hilton, Inverness to pave the way for redevelopment.

More free insulation and energy advice on offer in the Highlands.

Householders in the Highland Council wards of Nairn, North, West, and Central Sutherland and Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh are being urged to take advantage of a Scottish Government initiative which could make their homes warmer and help save money on energy bills.