Minutes of Meeting of the Transport, Environmental and Community Services Committee held in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Thursday 10 April 2008 at 10.30 am.

 

Present:

 

Mr J Laing, Mr R Pedersen, Mr G Farlow, Mr R Rowantree, Mr J Rosie, Mr R Coghill, Mr J McGillivray, Mr R Greene, Mrs J Urquhart, Mr A Rhind, Ms A MacLean, Mr A Henderson, Mr A Graham, Mr P Corbett, Mr N Donald, Mr D Henderson, Mr F Parr, Mr A S Park, Mr F D S Black, Mr D Fallows, Mr B J Murphy

 

Non-Members also present:

 

Mr D Mackay, Mr G M Smith, Mrs D Mackay, Mrs I Campbell, Dr A Sinclair, Mr R Durham, Mr A Torrance, Dr D Alston, Mrs I McCallum, Mr W Clark, Mr R Wynd, Mr J Crawford, Mr T Prag, Dr M E M Foxley

 

In attendance:

 

Mr N Gillies, Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services
Mr S MacNaughton, Head of Transport and Infrastructure
Dr C Clark, Head of Waste Management
Mr M Mitchell, Finance Manager
Mr C Kemp, Integrated Transport Manager
Mr N Downie, Senior Business Support Officer
Mr A Yates, Principal Environmental Health Officer
Mr D Somerville, Area Solicitor, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
Mr M Elsey, Licensing Officer (Civic Government), Chief Executive’s Office
Mr J Allison, Principal Administrator, Chief Executive’s Office
Miss M Murray, Administrative Assistant, Chief Executive’s Office

 

Also in attendance:

 

Mr A Kidd, Deputy Commander – CRM, Highlands & Islands Fire & Rescue Service

 

An asterisk in the margin denotes a recommendation to the Council.  All decisions with no marking in the margin are delegated to Committee.

 

Mr J Laing in the Chair

 

Business

 

Prior to the commencement of business, the Chairman welcomed a group of pupils from Tomnacross Primary School, Kiltarlity, who were observing the democratic processes of the Council.

 

1. Apologies for Absence

 

An apology for absence was intimated on behalf of Mr W J Ross.

 

2. Good News

 

The Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services reported as follows:-

  • The Council had been presented with the Local Authority Partnership Award at the Community Recycling Network Scotland Awards, having been nominated by GREAN (Golspie Recycling and Environmental Action Network)
  • The refurbished public toilets in Portree had been opened recently.  They had been finished to a high standard and would benefit local residents and visitors.

The Committee NOTED the good news items.

 

3. Revenue Budget Monitoring – 1 April 2007 to 29 February 2008

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-18-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services setting out the revenue monitoring position for the period 1 April 2007 to 29 February 2008 and the projected year end position.  Based on the financial performance to date, it was predicted that the budget as a whole would be underspent by £0.066m at the end of the financial year.

 

The Committee NOTED the revenue monitoring position for the period 1 April 2007 to 29 February 2008 and AGREED that:-

 

i. further information be submitted to a future meeting of the Committee on
   the difficulties being experienced in recruiting suitably qualified staff to the
   service, and the consequences thereof; and
ii. information be provided to Mr F D S Black and Mr A Rhind on winter
   maintenance in Badenoch and Strathspey and around Tain respectively.

 

4. Capital Expenditure Monitoring – 1 April 2007 to 29 February 2008

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-19-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services summarising the capital expenditure monitoring position for the period 1 April 2007 to 29 February 2008 and the projected year end position.  The projected outturns for expenditure and income were £19.208m and £3.892m respectively leading to an overspend of £1.467m which was attributable to the completion of the 2006 storm damage works and was contained within the overall Council Capital Programme.

 

The Committee:-

 

i. NOTED the capital expenditure monitoring position for the period 1 April
   2007 to 29 February 2008; and
ii. AGREED that an update on the outstanding works on the Scotsburn Road
   at Lamington be provided to Mr R Durham and the Ward Manager for Tain
   and Easter Ross.

 

5. Waste Management Strategy

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-20-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services advising Members on the Scottish Government’s new “Zero Waste” Strategy which was announced on 24 January 2008, and providing an update on the Council’s current waste management initiatives.

 

In discussion, Members questioned whether or not the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Fund of approximately £86m over three years would be sufficient for the 32 Scottish local authorities to implement their waste management strategies and requested that information on the allocation of the Fund be provided to the Committee as soon as it was available.

 

The Head of Waste Management advised that the Scottish Government had established a short term Zero Waste Working Group with CoSLA to make recommendations on how the Zero Waste Fund should be distributed, however, it was in the very early stages of its work.

 

The Committee NOTED:-

 

i. the details of the Scottish Government’s strategy for “zero waste” which
   was announced on 24 January 2008;
ii. progress on the various initiatives adopted as part of the Council’s waste
    management strategy to meet the landfill allowance targets by limiting the
    amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill by 2009/2010;
iii. that Moray Council had agreed the principle of sharing their surplus landfill
    allowances with the Highland Council; and
iv. that a specialist consultant had been employed to carry out a focused piece
     of work to examine how the Council’s existing waste management strategy
     fitted with the Scottish Government’s strategy for zero waste and to make
     specific recommendations on the actions required by both Highland and
     Moray to comply with the Government’s strategy and meet the new
     targets;

 

and AGREED that:-

 

i. a letter be sent to Moray Council thanking them for agreeing the principle of
   sharing their surplus landfill allowances;
ii. a report be submitted on the allocation of the Scottish Government’s Zero
    Waste Fund as soon as the information was available; and
iii. information be provided to Mrs I Campbell on the destination of glass, cans
    and other recyclables collected.

 

6. Additional Funding to Improve Recycling and Landfill Diversion

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-21-08 by the Director of Transport, Environment and Community Services supporting the Administration’s commitment to increase recycling to 40% by 2010 and setting out proposals for allocating the additional £1.662m for recycling identified within the Revenue Budget for 2008/09.

 

In discussion, Members praised the Social Enterprise groups in operation throughout Highland for the services they carried out on behalf of the Council.  Groups such as GREAN (Golspie Recycling and Environmental Action Network), RoWAN (Ross-shire Waste Action Network) and BEAG (Bettyhill Environmental Action Group) had become established household names and encouraged behavioural change in terms of waste reduction and recycling, as well as providing jobs in rural communities.  Concern was expressed that the groups were to be reviewed and reassurance was sought that the Council would continue to fund them in the future.

 

The Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services advised that the Social Enterprise network would receive funding of approximately £1m from the Council in the current year.  The object of the proposed review was to ensure that the changing needs and targets of the Council’s Waste Management Strategy were being met on a cost effective basis so that there was a true partnership with the Council.  The outcome of the review would be submitted to a future meeting of the Committee.

 

The Committee AGREED:-

 

i. the extension of the kerbside recycling service by providing five additional
   refuse collection vehicles and creating 13 operational posts (5 drivers/8
   loaders) to carry out a monthly kerbside mixed dry recyclable (paper, card,
   cans, plastics) collection, similar to a number of schemes already operating in
   Scotland, to households in rural Highland;
ii. the creation of four Waste Awareness Officer posts to assist in getting the
    waste reduction and recycling message across to communities and
    individuals in the long term, and in the first instance to support the roll out
    of the rural kerbside service;
iii. the provision of recycling facilities for plastic bottles in the main recycling
    centres at Wick, Thurso, Alness, Inverness, Granish, Nairn, Fort William,
    Dingwall and Tain;
iv. continued funding of the Social Enterprise Network, to deliver waste
    diversion services in certain areas on behalf of the Council, for a further year
    at the funding level provided through the Strategic Waste Fund in
    2007/08; and
v. that a review of Social Enterprise groups receiving funds for waste
    collection/recycling be undertaken to ensure their operation met the
    changing needs and targets of the Council’s Waste Strategy on a cost
    effective basis, with a report on the findings being submitted to a future
    meeting of the Committee.

 

7. Bulky Uplift Service: Proposed Amendment to Policy

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-22-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services seeking approval to amend the policy for the bulky uplift service for certain household wastes by removing black bag waste for the list of approved items.  The proposal was designed to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and to support the Council’s commitment to increase the amount of waste recycled in the Highlands to 40% by 2010.

 

The Committee AGREED that:-

 

i. the policy for the bulky uplift service for certain household wastes be
   amended by removing black bag waste with the consequence that the
   bulky uplift service would be limited to household waste which fell into the
   following categories:-

  • any article which could not fit into the normal domestic bin
  • any article which weighed over 25kg; and

ii. the amended policy be introduced from 1 July 2008 to allow sufficient time
    to advise the public of the change.

 

8. Food Service Plan

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-23-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services appending the Food Service Plan for 2008/09.  The report advised that, in terms of the Framework Agreement on Local Authority Food Law Enforcement, which set out the standards agreed with the Food Standards Agency, the Council was required to document and implement a Food Service Plan in accordance with a specified standard.  A documented performance review of the Plan required to be carried out at least once a year and both the Plan and the review were submitted to the Committee to ensure transparency and accountability.

 

The Committee APPROVED the Food Service Plan for 2008/09.

 

9. Dingwall General Traffic Order

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-24-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services advising Members of an unresolved objection to the Dingwall General Traffic Order 2006 by the Highland Cycling Campaign and recommending that the objection be overruled.

 

The Committee AGREED to overrule the objection to the Dingwall General Traffic Order 2006 by the Highland Cycling Campaign on the grounds of road safety and accordingly that the Order be made.

 

10. The Highland Council (Inverness – Central Consolidation)
      (Variation No 3) Order 2007

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-25-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services advising Members of the representations received in relation to The Highland Council (Inverness – Central Consolidation) (Variation No 3) Order 2007 which was an essential part of the Inverness city centre streetscape and transportation improvements.  Members were invited to approve the proposed adjustments, overrule the one outstanding objection and make the Order.

 

In discussion, some Members expressed sympathy for the objector, who had a business on Queensgate and had requested the retention of four Pay and Display parking bays there.  It was suggested that the Order be approved subject to its effect on city centre businesses being monitored for a period of one year and a report on the findings being submitted to a future meeting of the Committee.

 

Conversely, some Members considered that the recommendations contained within the report should be approved.  It was highlighted that the revised parking arrangements allowed for one more parking space in the city centre than existed at present, and that the retention of four parking bays on Queensgate would result in the removal of two loading bays which would serve the Victorian Market.

 

The Head of Transport and Infrastructure advised that a review of the Council’s City Vision for Inverness would be carried out, in conjunction with the Planning and Development Service, during the next 12 months and that traffic management issues would be considered as part of the review.

 

The Committee APPROVED the adjustments as detailed in the report and AGREED:-

 

i. to overrule the objection from Mr W A E Fraser requesting four pay and
   display parking spaces in Queensgate on the basis of the mitigation measures
   described in the report and in order to minimise the penetration of non
   -essential traffic into the core City Centre streets in the interests of
   improving the experience for pedestrians and shoppers and maintaining the
   smooth flow of public transport and taxis;
ii. to make The Highland Council (Inverness – Central Consolidation) (Variation
    No 3) Order 2007; and
iii. that the review of the Council’s City Vision for Inverness, in conjunction
    with the Planning and Development Service, include traffic management
    issues.

 

11. The Future of Flood Risk Management in Scotland: A Consultation
      Document

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-26-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services providing details of the proposed response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on The Future of Flood Risk Management in Scotland which closed on 23 April 2008.

 

The Committee APPROVED the response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on The Future of Flood Risk Management in Scotland.

 

12. Inquiry into Ferry Services in Scotland

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-27-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services providing details of the Council’s response to the Scottish Government following the Scottish Parliament’s Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee’s Inquiry into ferry services in Scotland, the closing date for responses having been 31 March 2008.

 

The Committee AGREED to homologate the Council’s written submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee’s inquiry into ferry services in Scotland.

 

13. Scottish Road Safety Strategy Consultation

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-28-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services which invited Members to comment on the Council’s response to the Scottish Government’s recently published consultation document on Scottish Road Safety.

 

In discussion, the following comments were made:-

  • the proposals to address accidents caused by new young drivers were welcomed;
  • careful consideration ought to be given to the potential impact of a zero tolerance approach to drink driving.  It was suggested that the Government be asked to review the current blood alcohol limit to determine whether or not there was a more appropriate level that would improve road safety;
  • education of cyclists in road safety was an issue and a reference to the Highland Cycle Campaign should be included in the response;
  • concern was expressed that the sub-standard state of Trunk Roads contributed to road accidents and it was suggested that the response include a reference to appropriate safety standards on Trunk Roads, including the condition of the roads;
  • the “Home Zone” concept, which had been developed in the Netherlands, had led to the creation of some of the safest residential streets in Europe.  The experience of the Netherlands could be applied in terms of working in conjunction with the Planning and Development Service to ensure that road safety standards were incorporated into new developments at the design stage;
  • crash barriers and kerbs could have a detrimental effect on road safety as vehicles rebounded into the middle of, or across, the road;
  • a high number of road accidents were attributable to black ice;
  • 20 or 30 mph speed limits were necessary to stop motorists driving through small communities at speed and community consultation was therefore required.

With regard to speed limits in small towns or villages, the Head of Transport and Infrastructure advised that the Council consulted with both the local community and the Police.  He suggested that greater use could be made of Smart Signs to encourage motorists to lower their speed.

 

The Committee AGREED that the draft response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Scottish Road Safety be amended to take account of Members’ comments.

 

14. Consultation on Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-29-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services providing details of the Council’s response to the Department of Transport’s Consultation on “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport” which closed on 27 February 2008.

 

The Committee AGREED to homologate the response to the consultation on “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport”.

 

15. Glenelg and Kylerhea Slipways

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-30-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services providing details of the Council’s involvement with the privately owned slipways at Glenelg and Kylerhea, which formed the landing facilities for the community owned car and passenger ferry operating between the mainland and the Isle of Skye.  It invited Members to consider a request from the Ferry Community Interest Company to change the funding arrangements agreed by the TEC Services Committee on 27 September 2007 from a five year commitment to provide a basic level of maintenance to a “one off” contribution of £24,500.

 

The Committee APPROVED the proposal to replace the previously approved funding arrangements for Kylerhea and Glenelg slipways, as agreed by the TEC Services Committee on 27 September 2007, with a lump sum contribution of £24,500, on the condition that the Highland Council lease for the Kylerhea slipway was successfully assigned to the Ferry Community Interest Company and that the financial support towards the operation and maintenance of both slipways by the Highland Council ceased.

 

16. Glen Nevis/Nevis Range Bus Service – Award of Contract

 

The Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services sought and obtained the consent of the Committee to withdraw this item to allow new information which had become available to be considered prior to a report being submitted to the Committee.

 

17. Performance Management: Statutory and Internal Performance
      Indicators – 3rd Quarter 2007/08

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-32-08 by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services providing details of the service’s performance, as measured by Statutory Performance Indicators and Internal Performance Indicators for the third quarter of 2007/08.

 

The Committee NOTED the performance of Transport, Environmental and Community Services in relation to service activities that were measured by Statutory Performance Indicators and Internal Performance Indicators.

 

18. Review of Taxi Tariff

 

Mr N Donald declared a financial interest in this item as a self-employed taxi owner/driver and left the room.

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-33-08 by the Assistant Chief Executive advising the Committee of the recommendations of the Civic Government Licensing Working Group in relation to the review of the taxi tariff which had been in operation in Highland since January 2007.  The report reminded Members that the Council had a statutory duty to review the taxi tariff every 18 months.

 

The recommended revisions to the current tariff were as follows:-

  • a decrease of 14% in the yardage for both the initial flag drop and each subsequent flag drop across all three tariffs
  • Tariff 2 and Tariff 3 to operate from 10.00 pm to 7.00 am (currently 12.00 midnight to 8.00 am)
  • Tariff 3 to apply on 2 January (currently Tariff 2)
  • the waiting time rate to increase to 15p per 30 seconds or part (currently 10p per 30 seconds or part)

Members suggested that the waiting time rate be amended from 15p per 30 seconds or part to 10p per 20 seconds or part.  The effect would be the same but the suggested amendment would avoid using increments of 5p.

 

The Committee APPROVED the recommendations of the Civic Government Licensing Working Group in relation to advertising, for public consultation, the proposed introduction of a revised scale of maximum taxi fares in Highland as detailed in the report, subject to the waiting time being amended from 15p per 30 seconds or part to 10p per 20 seconds or part.

 

19. Civic Government Scotland Act 1982 – Houses in Multiple
      Occupation

 

There was circulated Report No TEC-34-08 by the Assistant Chief Executive inviting the Committee to approve the recommendations made by the Civic Government Licensing Working Group at its meeting on 18 March 2008 relative to a number of amendments to the conditions and standards in respect of the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to reflect changes in legislation and national guidance.

 

The Committee APPROVED the proposed amendments to the conditions and standards relating to HMO licences as detailed in the report.

 

20. Minutes

 

The Committee NOTED or APPROVED, as appropriate, the Minutes of the:-

 

i. Ross Skye and Lochaber Licensing Committee of 21 August 2007;
ii. Ross Skye and Lochaber Licensing Committee of 4 September 2007;
iii. Ross Skye and Lochaber Licensing Committee of 20 November 2007;
iv. Inverness Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey Licensing Committee of 11 December 2007;
v. Ross Skye and Lochaber Licensing Committee of 18 December 2007;
vi. Ross Skye and Lochaber Licensing Committee of 15 January 2008;
vii. Resource Monitoring Working Group of 24 January 2008;
viii. Inverness Nairn BS Licensing Committee of 29 January 2008;
ix. Fishery Harbours Management Board of 28 February 2008;
x. Civic Government Licensing Working Group of 28 February 2008; and
xi. Civic Government Licensing Working Group of 18 March 2008.

 

The meeting ended at 1.15 pm.