Gold Medallists Sought For Blooming Road Verges
The Highland Council wants members of the public to let them know where the most flowery road verges are in their local area with a view of looking to change cutting regimes to maximise the variety of flowers growing there.
Chairman of TEC Services Committee, Councillor Graham Phillips said: "Safety is of course of paramount importance on roads, so cutting regimes will only be altered when it is safe to do so. All the verges along sightlines and at junctions will remain cut short, however there are lots of other areas that could have their cutting regime altered to benefit the wildflowers there, which will in turn the insects that feed on them. We are not asking for a detailed report, just a quick and easy survey of the variety of colours you see as you pass by in a car or walking."
The proposed changes in management are having a single cut with either an early, or a late summer cut and also varying the height of the flail so that low growing species aren't cut but the taller, more competitive species are. The changes in management are likely to be cost neutral, but will benefit the biodiversity of the verges particularly the plants and their pollinators such as; bees, butterflies and moths.
Scotland TranServ who manage the verges on the trunk roads in Highland have altered their cutting regime and some sites such as the A830 at Corpach and the A9 Causeymire, have had fantastic displays of wildflowers in the verges due to this. There has also been a trial on some of the Council maintained roads in Caithness through an initiative between the Caithness Biodiversity Group and The Highland Council, which again has resulted is some great displays of wildflowers on the verges.
Anyone wishing to take part should send the information about the best road verges in their area to the Council's Biodiversity Officer, Jonathan Willet. He said: "Most verges have white and yellow flowers on them, but there are also red, blue, violet and pink that are commonly seen. If you know of verges that are good for orchids or Cuckoo Flower or other flowers that are out earlier in the year then you can let us know about them as well."
Jonathan will need details on the location, either a name or number, the road junction it is nearest to, or a grid reference and a description of the variety of colours or species of flowers found there. He can be contacted by telephoning 01463 702274 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Highland Council is being asked next week to freeze the Council Tax for a seventh successive year and confirm a budget of £563.697 million for 2014-15. The Council Tax bands would remain: Band A: £775.33; Band B: £904.56; Band C: £1,033.78; Band D: £1,163.00; Band E: £1,421.44; Band F: £1,679.89; Band G: £1,938.33; Band H: £2,326.00.
Detailed proposals to realign The Highland Councilís Service management teams into 5 directorates will be presented for approval to the full council meeting on Thursday (19 December). At its last meeting on 24 October, the Council agreed to reduce the number of Services from seven to five, delivering savings of £350,000 per year.
The highland Council has received a copy of the Follow Up statutory report on Caithness Heat and Power prepared by Audit Scotland. This Follow Up statutory report is being considered by the Accounts Commission at its meeting on 12th December 2013.
The Highland Council is fully backing plans by the Scottish Government to increase fixed penalties for littering and fly-tipping but wants to see more robust action taken against contractors who try to avoid landfill costs by dumping materials indiscriminately. It agrees that the penalty for littering should rise to £80 and the penalty for fly-tipping should increase to £200, penalties which are due to take effect from 1 April, next year.
Trading Standards Officers at The Highland Council are reminding businesses to be wary of making donations to telephone cold-callers looking for contributions to seemingly good causes. Reports have come in of Highland businesses being targeted by publishing firms seeking payments for educational publications in return for the business being named as a contributor.
The Highland Councilís snow clearing / gritting route policies and area maps are online for 2013/14 at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting. Road condition and gritting treatment reports by The Highland Councilís, Transport, Environmental and Community Services for Thursday 5 December 2013 are as follows: Caithness, South Sutherland and East Ross U2126 Oykel Bailley Bridge Road closed due to flooding.
The Highland Council and Police Scotland are to work together to ensure parking management is maintained in the Highlands when the traffic warden service Ė currently provided by the police - ends. Police Scotland have given notice of the completion of their phased withdrawal from the service from 3 February, next year.
Today (5 December 2013) 56 schools, 7 Service Points and council offices were closed due to lack of power, bad weather or loss of water. There were issues with the Councilís website and school closures online which are being investigated.
Currently firms are contacting businesses asking for support for an educational programme on cyber bullying. The line is that councils have cut back on their funding and they can offer help to classes in your local school if you donate to the programme.
Mr Neil Gillies, The Highland Councilís Director of Transport Environmental and Community Services, has announced his decision to retire from the Council, with effect from the end of January, next year. Mr Gillies joined the former Highland Regional Council in 1978 and worked on a wide range of civil engineering projects including roads, bridges, harbours and coast protection works, and road maintenance.
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