Cromarty Firth Ward Forum
Action Note of Meeting 11th May 2011
Cllr Mike Finlayson
Cllr Maxine Smith (Chair)
Joan Ross, Alness Community Council
Barbara Sutherland, Alness Community Council
John Edmondson, Ardross Community Council
Val Pugh, Invergordon Community Council
Malcolm Harrison, Invergordon Community Council
Leslie Logan, Kiltearn Community Council
Helen Williamson, Saltburn & Westwood Community Council
Norma Young, Saltburn & Westwood Community Council
Colin Clark, Highland Council
Chief Inspector Mike Coats, Northern Constabulary
Helen Ross, Ward Manager (Cromarty Firth Ward)
Cllr Martin Rattray
Cllr Carolyn Wilson
Fiona Dendy, Kiltearn Community Council
17 members of the Public
1. Community Safety Update
Chief Inspector Coats gave an update on policing issues in the area. He noted that the detection rate for Ross & Cromarty is slightly up on the previous year at 55%. This statistic covers all offences, including minor ones. The detection rate for serious offences (e.g. serious assault, rape and attempted murder) is 100%. Chief Inspector Coats noted that communities will often report issues around anti social behaviour because of the impact this can have on them. As a result of these concerns extra patrols have been put in place – these are being maintained, and other tools are also used, e.g. use of test purchasing to tackle the issue of alcohol being sold to young people under 18. Other points noted included:
• Age range of those involved in antisocial behaviour and crimes such as break ins is wide – ranging from 10 years to older adults
• CCTV van is being used regularly and is acting as a deterrent
• The camera van is regularly used on Shore Rd – 3 speeders were caught in March, 1 in April
• Parking is still an issue; the traffic warden is regularly in Alness and Invergordon, and also visits Evanton. Whilst the traffic warden can and does use discretion, misuse of disabled bays will always be targeted. The Alness traffic order is to be refreshed. In Invergordon the traffic order is in place in parts, but a new order is being formed for the further end of the High Street. In some areas refreshed lining is also required, but it is hoped this will be carried out by the Council shortly.
During discussion there were a number of questions as follows:
Q. 1 or 2 motorbikes regularly go fast through Saltburn in the mornings - can this be addressed?
A. An officer will be put on to this
Q. Farmfoods lorries use 4 or 5 parking bays for a considerable period of time when they receive deliveries and this holds up traffic. What can be done about this?
A. Where no deliveries can be made at the back deliveries at the front do need to be managed. Farmfoods have their deliveries before 9am or after 6pm to minimise impact, but the Traffic Warden will be asked to contact them to see if management can be improved – and in particular to allow disabled parking.
Q. Would red hatching be useful for some traffic management?
A. Red hatching is usually used to protect rather than for traffic enforcement.
Q. Are the cameras working in Invergordon?
A. Yes – there were some issues but all are currently working. The preference would be to have cameras monitored from Dingwall, but there are financial implications to this, and at present the cameras are not monitored but will be reviewed of there is an incident.
Q. The new bike track is open in Crawl Park. There have been issues with people going down there to drink, and there is a lot of broken glass there.
A. Patrols will be directed to that area and the issue will be highlighted to the Community Action Officer for the area. All are encouraged to report problems to police so they have all info, and Helen Ross will pass this info and community action officer details on to the head of PE faculty at the school as well.
Q. Parking in Evanton around the co op area tends to be an issue before 9 am and after 5pm; can this be targeted?
A. This will be flagged up with officers
Q. What powers do the police have where a person buys alcohol for someone under 18?
A. This is a specific criminal offence.
Q. In Invergordon some people park in a chevron style. Is this allowed?
A. Provided there is no danger to others and it is not causing an obstruction this is not an offence, but it is not recommended
Q. Can the planters in Invergordon be removed to make more parking?
A. There would be costs attached to this and there is no money set aside for this, but it is hoped that the new road traffic order, by stopping people parking in the High St all day, will help ease the pressure on parking spaces. It can be reviewed once the full traffic order has been in place for a time.
Chief Inspector Coats left the meeting after this item.
2. Ward Update and feedback from Previous Ward Forum
It was noted that the traffic lights at Saltburn are now operational. The planned meeting with Transport Scotland re Tomich Junction has taken place. As a result Transport Scotland have agreed to do a 2 week video to monitor traffic issues. This will take place before the schools break up for the summer.
The Shore Road cycle path is now complete – it was noted this is proving very popular and is being very well used.
Work streams referred to at the last Ward Forum, such as the Schools Estates Review and the member working group reviewing classroom support are underway and progressing. Council management changes are also being put in place. Locally Helen Ross has been appointed as the joint Ward Manager for Wards 7 & 8, although the change has not yet taken effect.
3. Waste management – Colin Clark attended for this item.
Colin gave a brief history leading to the current position in relation to waste management. This was followed by a lively discussion and questions and answers. Key points made and questions answered are summarised below:
Over a relatively short period of time that has been a major shift from waste being something simply to get rid of as cheaply as possible, to something to be managed very carefully with clear targets and a major political priority.
New regulations, principally from Europe have been developed under the Zero Waste Policy. These regulations are likely to come into force around autumn time. The new policy applies to all waste (ie includes commercial and industrial) in Scotland – not just that which is collected by the local authority.
Targets which are due to be applied from 2013 vary from current targets in 2 key ways:
1. They will apply to household waste only – unlike the present situation where it applies to all the waste collected by the local authority (includes commercial waste), so the Council will have to estimate the proportion of each in the waste-stream as they are collected together at present.
2. The targets will be based on a calculation of the amount of CO2 saved, not on weight – the calculations are set out in guidance published by Zero Waste Scotland.
The targets in summary are 2013 – 50%, 2020 – 60% and 2025 – 70%. To meet them will mean that virtually everone will have to recycle most of what they produce. At 2025 only 5% of waste will be permitted to landfill. The targets around energy from waste have changed. It was originally set at no more than 25% should be incinerated. However now the controls will be set through permitting and that only “residual waste” may be incinerated which means that only waste which has undergone reasonable efforts to extract recyclables can be incinerated.
Q. When will blue bins be rolled out?
A. A roll out programme is in place and they will be provided across Easter Ross in October. The blue bin collection will then be fortnightly with the residual bin collected on the alternate weeks.
Q. Will there be a move to allow more food packaging in blue bins? What about tetrapaks?
A. Not at the present time – currently the quality of recyclate from blue bins is good, and the fear is that extending what is taken could increase contamination. However in the fullness of time more materials will be collected. A trial of Tetrapak collections is on-going. Highland was only allowed 5 collection points although we asked for more. These will be added to our bin collections in due course. However they are at the present taken to a plant in Sweden for recycling.
Q. Will businesses get blue bins?
A. Businesses who contract with the Council for waste collection will receive the blue bin collection (with a corresponding reduction in residual waste frequency). As stated before business waste will be caught by the Zero Waste Regs and businesses will therefore have to recycle (food businesses will also have to separate out their food waste for collect). The only exception to this is where a business can prove it is “unreasonable” to do so – which is a legal term. Therefore regardless of whether or not they contract with the Council for collection they will need to separate out waste. The Council already gives our customers access to recycling centres and points at no extra cost to dispose of recyclables.
Q. Why can bottle tops not be included in the plastic collection?
A. There are 2 issues with tops – they are often of a different type of plastic from the bottle so it can affect the quality of the recycled material if not taken off, and also it makes it much harder to crush the bottles if left on and if removed there is a greater chance of the bottle having been squashed which means that we can fit more into a container.
Q. Have there been any savings under the new system?
A. Overall recycling waste costs less than landfilling.
Q. Will there be links between the Council and any community composting schemes/allotments?
A. Under the new framework the Council will need to undergo an accreditation process. It may be that community groups doing this sort of project for Councils would also then have to undertake such accreditation, which might make this less likely.
Q. Surely one of the difficulties is the amount of packaging many items have?
A. There are difficult issues around consumption and purchasing habits. These are issues where what is really needed is mass behavioural change and a move towards viewing recycling as normal, residual waste as abnormal, not vice versa.
Q. What penalties will there be if we don’t reach the targets?
A. The EU targets set are for the UK as a whole. If a Member State as a whole fails to meet the target there is the potential for enormous fines, but this would be after a significant process.
Q. Does incineration have a place in waste management
A. Government policy states that incineration has a part to play, but as stated before the approach has been changed from a weight target to control through the permit which will only allow “residual waste” to be incinerated.
Q. Would an incinerator in highland really be viable?
A. That is a decision for any private company interested in deciding whether or not to seek to set up an incinerator in highland or anywhere. Any company interested would need to work this out in its business plan.
Q. Why are incinerators not in cities where there are bigger populations?
A. Again this is down to the business sector to decide where they want to make applications based on their business planning, and the planning framework. The proximity principle is a much abused term. It is referred to in the revised Waste Framework Directive and is concerned with waste being disposed of close to where it arises in general terms. Its thrust is to ensure that each State is self sufficient except in those areas of more specialist plant where it is recognised that each State may not require its own plant.
Q. What is the cost to the Council of transporting waste and how long are the Council’s contracts with companies shifting waste? Biffa have set up plastic recycling schemes in the south that will take all types of plastic
A. The cost is approximately £100 per tonne. The Council has contracts in place at the moment which have about 18 months to run with an option to extend. New tenders will be issued in due course and we will go through the normal procurement process. Given the way in which waste streams will inevitably change it is probably wise for the Council to contract for relatively modest contract periods, rather than for example 25 years, which will allow for a degree of flexibility. But a balance has to be struck to ensure that the term is sufficient for the investment made.
Q. What is the position with land fill tax and where does it go?
A. It goes to the Treasury. In 2014 land fill tax powers will go to the Scottish Government.
At the end of the discussion Colin Clark was thanked for attending
4. Ward Discretionary Budget
2 spreadsheets were circulated, one showing spend for 2010/11 the second showing spend to date under the 10011/12 budget.
Consultation on the Antisocial Behaviour Strategy Highland – views are sought on the Council and Northern Constabulary’s Antisocial Behaviour Strategy 2011 – 2016 – the document can be seen and comments made on the Council’s website - www.highland.gov.uk
Council’ Website survey – The Council is seeking views on the design and organisation of the website – you can take part in this survey on the Council’s website – www.highland.gov.uk
6. Date of Next meeting
Next meeting is due on Thursday 23rd June at 7.30 pm. The main topic will be consultation on planning for the integration of care, health and education and children’s and adult services. Representatives of the Councils’ Social Work Service and NHS Highland will attend. There will also be a short introduction to the new Local Development Plan process by a representative of the planning and development service Post meeting Note – the venue for the Ward Forum has now been confirmed as Ardross Hall.