Public toilets and litter bins a top priority for Highland visitor management

comfort scheme

Highland Councillors have welcomed £240,000 planned investment in public toilets, litter bins and waste management provision in a bid to help meet post-lockdown tourism demand across the region.

Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of the Communities and Place Committee said: “The Council is doing all that is can to provide a warm and safe welcome to people visiting or travelling within the Highlands.

Our partnerships with communities in providing comfort schemes is working really well. We continue to invite more businesses to come forward and apply for the comfort scheme where there are gaps in public toilet provision among our communities.

“I would also like to thank the many communities who are organising litter picks in their area – this all helps to keep Highland tidy. And we urge the public who come to the Highlands to experience our beautiful region to respect it and leave no trace. We are investing heavily in bins and litter collection services but if a bin is full - please take your litter with you and place it in the next available bin don’t leave it behind.”

Members of the Council’s Communities and Place Committee commended £60,000 investment both in Council-run toilets and also those provided with partners through the Council’s comfort scheme.

The Council currently operates 75 public conveniences throughout the Highlands and has 37 comfort scheme agreements with local businesses and community groups.

Six Highland Council public conveniences are due to receive investments in their facilities including:

  • £12K to introduce a paddle gate system at Ullapool for charging entrance to showers;
  • £21k investment at Aviemore, Kingussie and Grantown to introduce shower charging (£7k per site)

New comfort schemes have been agreed at: Rum Enterprise; Sea View Hotel, John O’Groats;

Loch Ness Hub, Drumnadrochit; Coach House Bar and Restaurant Dornoch, and Dornoch Castle (while the Council’s public toilets are being refurbished); Salen, Acharacle; Traigh Beach composting toilet; and Ardnamurchan Natural History and Visitor Centre.

The following providers are being currently being considered for inclusion in the Council’s comfort scheme: Dalwhinnie service station; Canna Café; Staxigoe Village Hall; Altnaharra Hotel; Roybridge Hotel; and Cleadale, Eigg composting toilet.

The following agreements have also been made to carry out vandalism repairs at Muir of Ord public toilets at a cost of £11,658; installation of a people counter in Dornie Hall public conveniences for £1000; and the servicing of the Storr public toilets (prior to installation of charging) is also being funded when the site is expected to open on 19th May.

Funding applications are also being submitted to the Better Places Fund to support additional comfort schemes Highland wide including:

  • proposed counter installations (Castletown, Clachtoll, Durness, Whin Park, Kylesku, Scourie, Tongue and Uig);
  • proposed additional charging installed (Achnasheen, Dingwall, Dunvegan, Portreee and Smoo Cave); and
  • a new modular unit at Glenmore (Aviemore) and a composting facility at Souters (Cromarty).

Comfort scheme agreements between the Council and businesses and community groups are aimed at meeting public demand in areas that are not served by Council run facilities. There are three levels of payment (£100, £200 or £300 per month), and these are dependent on the quality of the facilities offered. Payment for composting toilets has just been added to the scheme with a payment of £50 per month. Details of where comfort schemes are located and how operators can join the scheme are available on the Council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/publictoilets

Investment in new bins is being provided with an enhanced waste service costing £180K. Both and increaselarger bins and increased numbers of smaller bins will be provided for general waste and where possible for recycling with and increased frequency of emptying within all Highland areas focussing on visitor hotspot areas. The Council is grateful for the community support received for their litter-picking activities.

An additional 8 staff have been employed from May to September to keep the hotspot areas clear of litter and refuse and making sure that the litter bins will be emptied on a more frequent basis. These staff will be based in Lochinver for the North West Coast; Ullapool covering the west area; Lochcarron, Portree, Brora/Golspie, Fort William, Aviemore; and Inverness – Loch Ness areas.

12 May 2021