Environmental Health in Skye and Raasay
Members of The Highland Council’s Skye and Raasay Area Committee, which met today 31 May 2021, were informed of the work being undertaken by the Environmental Health team across Skye and Raasay.
There was a particular focus on the ongoing challenges in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, support and advice to businesses and the other statutory duties undertaken by Environmental Health.
Chairing the Skye and Raasay Area Committee on Monday 31 May, Cllr John Finlayson said: “The local Environmental Health update is welcomed, as we emerge from a period of lockdown and businesses across Skye and Raasay begin to open. It is imperative that COVID-19 compliance is adhered to, and we thank the local Environmental Health team for their work in supporting businesses and the wider community through this challenging time. It is also good to hear that a return to ‘business as usual’ can begin when restrictions are lifted and of course ongoing support will continue to be available to make this a success.”
The current local team for Skye and Raasay consists of two Environmental Health
Officers (EHO) and two Technical Officers (TO). A new fixed term TO from September 2020 through to June 2022, undertakes work on Private Water Supplies in the area.
- COVID-19 response: The EHOs are continuing work on COVID-19 including: support local businesses with advice on re-starting activities following lockdown; educate and enforce the appropriate rules within the local businesses; respond to enquiries and complaints received. This work is being done in conjunction with temporary COVID compliance officers employed within the team.
- Collaborative Working - Work recently undertaken on noise mitigation with the Roads Team to aid them in the undertaking of overnight essential road works in Portree.
- Dog Fouling and dog control - Concerns raised on dog fouling and dog control are being investigated and where appropriate, signage will be provided. Publicity on dog fouling is being considered Highland wide as a project in the Summer of 2021. It should be noted that these complaints will be investigated by local staff, if resources permit, with support from Environmental Health Assistant Community Works Officers based in other offices. Historically, since the formation of Highland Council, Skye and Raasay have not had a dedicated dog warden and EHOs have covered this as part of their additional duties with support from other staff. Workforce pressures are reviewed on an ongoing basis and within the resources available.
- Food enquiries - It should be noted that there has been a significant rise in the number of people registering as a food business; it is thought that the greater majority of these applications are by people undertaking baking and similar activities from home. In addition, there have been a few more Street Trader Food Vehicle applications that what is considered normal for this time of year. The team are addressing each enquiry and offering advice where possible.
- Private Water Supplies. There are 82 private water supplies in the area classed as ‘regulated’ supplies that require sampling every year by the team. The Environmental Health management team are reviewing the longer-term options for staff resource related to private water supply statutory duties.
- Housing Grants / Complaints / Enquiries. The team continue to work with Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association to undertake the Grant Aid process. The majority of the grants handled are for Disabled Adaptions, with a small number of applications for Repairs Grants each year. The team have resumed undertaking inspections for grants and for poor housing condition reports.