Friday, 18 November 2011

"Trust Deficit"

"Businesses are being weighed down by a public "trust deficit" after the banking crisis and a loss of faith in the way the private sector operates, a new survey of senior business figures has revealed."

So reported the 'Telegraph' on 02 October 2011 - more here

But what about our faith in public services? Is there a public trust deficit in public services?

My view is obviously going to be coloured since my overall experience of the planning system with our planning authority has not been positive and my faith in the system has been tested to destruction.

IMFLDP '53 local members will get maps in advance of January PED'

THC planner Mr Stott gave an update on the progress of the IMFLDP to members of the PED at their committee meeting on 16/11/11. He advised that local members had been briefed. Members were asked for feedback on consultation arrangements - currently proposed as an exhibition followed by an evening workshop in a range of locations around the plan area - with a suggestion that ward forums could also be used for plan consultation purposes.

A sample map was included in the members report and Mr Stott noted that the 53 members would receive a copy of the draft maps for villages, towns and urban districts in their wards in advance of the PED meeting in January.

Following this, Cllr Prag highlighted how important it was for the public to get involved as this plan could very well involve land they know well and the public could therefore make a significant contribution.

Web cast for PED 16/11/11 here - Mr Stott speaks at around 2:25:25

Full PED agenda here

Details of Highland Councillors can now be found here and here (linked from the RHS menu at this link )

Apply, Pay, Request, Report, Feedback, Find

New Style Home Page for Highland Council web site with icons on top LHS under search bar

Some of what was on LHS is now in middle:

Thought we had lost the quick link to the web casting for a minute, but no, managed to notice it. I am having a bit more difficulty finding other things though, but no doubt will get used to it.

Local blog Highlights Road Casualties

Very interesting post on 'A Gurn from Nurn', "10 years of Carnage on the Roads'.

Bothered by something on the map though will check with Northern Constabulary.

Wake up to rail consultation

From THC web page here

At today’s meeting of The Highland Council’s TEC Services Committee, Members had an early opportunity to discuss the Scottish Government consultation on rail services that was announced two days ago.

Although a full response to the 80 page consultation will be considered by the TECS Committee in January, the chairman, Councillor John Laing, welcomed the opportunity today to raise this important issue for the Highlands with members.

He said: “As a section of the consultation directly relates to the current Caledonian Sleeper service which operates to Inverness and Fort William I felt it was important that we give a clear message to Highland communities that we are on the case. Between now and the closing date we will have an in-depth look at all the current Highland rail services and take the time to prepare a very full and well thought out measured response which will aim to protect and enhance the rail services in the Highlands.”

The detailed response to the consultation will be presented to Members on the TECs Committee on 19 January and then forwarded to the Scottish Government before the closing date of the 20 February.


From Transport Scotland web page here

Rail 2014 - Public Consultation

Publication Date:
Publication Summary:
Rail users and stakeholders are being asked to play their part in shaping Scotland's rail services with passenger interests at the heart.

In 2014, both the current contract for rail passenger services (ScotRail) and the funding arrangements for Network Rail in Scotland are due to come to an end and new arrangements have to be in place. This consultation is a crucial part of our considerations.

There will be a number of rail station events throughout the consultation. Promotional postcards are being distributed at the station events throughout the consultation.

ISBN 978 1 908181 13 8 (Web publication only)

This document is also available in pdf format (1.7mb)


Ministerial Foreword
Executive Summary
1 - Rail in Scotland
2 - Transport policy and structural developments
3 - Procuring rail passenger services
4 - Achieving reliability, performance and service quality
5 - Scottish train services
6 - Scottish rail fares
7 - Scottish stations
8 - Cross-border services
9 - Rolling stock
10 - Passengers - comfort, security, information
11 - Caledonian Sleeper
12 - Environmental issues
The Consultation Process

Annex A - Glossary
Annex B - Useful documents and websites
Annex C - List of organisations being consulted
Annex D - Respondent Information Form and Questions

Further copies of this document are available, on request, in audio and large print formats and in community languages (Urdu; Bengali; Gaelic; Hindi; Punjabi; Cantonese; Arabic; Polish).

Responding to the consultation

The section entitled ‘The consultation process' provides details on how you can respond to the consultation. The Consultation Response Form includes a Respondent Information Form, which must be completed to ensure we handle your response appropriately. Responses and any queries can be sent to Closing date for responses is 20 February 2012.

"...assess and mitigate the link between new building and flooding..."

From THC web page here

An exhibition on the findings of the works carried out by The Highland Council and partners following the recent flooding incidents on the east side of Inverness will be on display in advance of a public meeting to be held on Thursday 24 November 2011 at Culloden Academy, Inverness.

The exhibition and displays will be open from 6:30pm and the public meeting starts at 7:30pm.

Representatives from the Council’s TEC Services, and Planning and Development Service; Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA); Northern Constabulary; Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service; Forestry Commission (Scotland), Scottish Flood Forum, and Scottish Water will be in attendance at the meeting on the 24 November.

An update will be given on the work being carried out by the Council’s flood team and JBA consultants who have been appointed by the Highland Council to undertake a detailed study of the underlying causes of the flooding.

Neil Gillies, Director of TEC Services, will also give an update on the measures which are being considered to reduce the risk of future flooding.

Further information on planning matters, including progress with new Council advice on how better to assess and mitigate the link between new building and flooding, will be provided by Stuart Black, Director of Planning and Development.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Stuart Black, Director of Planning and Development at Highland Council will deliver the first UHI public lecture

Thanks to the contacts who sent me details of this lecture:

"Current planning and development issues in the Highlands"

29th November
5.15pm - 7pm
UHI Executive Office, Inverness

Stuart Black, Director of Planning and Development at Highland Council will deliver the first UHI public lecture under the “Our Business” category and will focus on the various planning issues in the highlands.
Stuart will explore issues such as renewable energy including marine and tidal energy; the Highland-wide development plan including opportunities for new housing and economic development and growth in the Highlands; his thoughts for a future Inverness as well more specific topics including the role of the University of the Highlands and Islands in the future development of the area.

Stuart is a long term supporter of the University of the Highlands and Islands and the UHI Management School and has recently served on its external stakeholder group helping take forward and shape the plans for the school as it establishes itself as part of the Scotland's newest University.

To book a place at this FREE lecture or to enquire about video-conference links in your area, please contact our events team on tel: 01463 279344 or by email

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Second Chance for Community Councils

Community Councils in the Highlands which will disband from Wednesday 16 November as the result of not attracting sufficient nominations at recent elections are to get another chance to form a Community Council.

All have been contacted by The Highland Council to advise them that a notice of election seeking nominations will be published on Monday 21 November. The deadline for nominations is 4 pm on Friday 9 December.

The Community Councils which will disband on 16 November are Ward 1: Lairg; Tongue; Ward 3: Bower; Ward 6: Gairloch; Ward 8: Fearn; Ward 11: Broadford and Strath; Dunvegan; Raasay; Sleat; Skeabost and District; Ward 15: Merkinch; Ward 19: East Nairnshire; Ward 20: Inverness South: Ward 21: Laggan Community Association; Ward 22: Nether Lochaber, Glencoe and Glen Etive.

Community Councils at Caol, Inverness Central and Glendale (Skye) had already been in abeyance prior to the recent elections. Attempts will be made to reform these councils.

Full item here

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The rule of wealth

BBC reports;

Hundreds of people gathered outside the presidential palace in Rome to witness the end of Mr Berlusconi's 17-year domination of Italian politics.

The 75-year-old and his family have built a fortune estimated at $9bn (£5.6bn) by US business magazine Forbes.

His business acumen - with an empire spanning media, advertising, insurance, food and construction - was sufficient evidence for many Italians of his ability to run their country too.

But since he took power again in 2008 the economy has come under increasing strain, dogged by slow growth and a national debt of 1.9tn euros (£1.7tn; $2.6tn).

How could one person dominate for so long a country on its knees on the verge of dragging others down with it? Why do systems allow this? Why do we as voters allow this? The exposure of our banks to Italian debt is some 60 billion - or so I understand?

Is there a moral here?