The A82 has been closed in both directions in Altnafeadh, Glencoe following a serious road traffic collision.

Emergency services are currently in attendance on the A82.

The A82 is currently closed in both directions to allow emergency services to deal with the incident.

A diversion has been put in place as follows:

Northbound traffic to turn onto the A85 at Tyndrum and travel to Connel and take the A828 North to join the A82 at Ballachulish.

Southbound traffic to travel south on the A828 to Connel then take the A85 to rejoin the A82 at Tyndrum.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said it was alerted at 11:59 and an ambulance was sent to the scene.

 

Proposals for construction work at the Skye triangle ports of Tarbert (Harris), Uig and Lochmaddy have been shared with local communities in a series of public exhibitions which took place last week.

Around 100 people attended the exhibitions on 4 to 6 September, organised by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) with The Highland Council, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, Transport Scotland and CalMac Ferries Ltd.  

The events offered local people the chance to find out more about the proposed harbour infrastructure improvement work for the arrival of the new 102-metre LNG ferry being introduced on the Skye triangle route.  

Those who attended were also invited to complete a consultation survey to assist in the ongoing planning process.  Anyone who is keen to submit their views can complete the survey online at www.cmassets.co.uk/skye-triangle-survey until 29th September.  Display boards from the exhibition will be available to view in ticket offices at each port later this week.

A summary of the proposals, which are available online, includes:

Glendale Community Hall remains closed, following flooding earlier in August.

Preparations are taking place to get the Hall open again, and it is hoped that work will start in the near future.

The Farmers Market and some Craft Market stalls will be held in the car park today (Tuesday 12 September).  A cafe will be run to raise funds for the Hall.

 

Inverness could see the introduction of 15 minutes free parking, if a proposed scheme gets the go ahead.

Highland Council's Inverness city committee will be asked to approve a year-long pilot of the initiative at a meeting on Thursday.

The scheme comes from the Inverness business improvement district (Bid) initiative and aims “to allow drivers to nip into businesses for ‘click and collect’ activity.”  Bid manager Mike Smith said: “It’s important we give a positive message to people looking to come here. Increasing pay and display provision is part of that.”

Officials have recommended approval of the plan, although the Inverness City Committee must consider the £100 cost of adapting 17 ticket machines.

The idea has been widely hailed a success after being implemented in Perth, despite abuse of the system being reported, with some motorists repeatedly refreshing their free-time ticket.

A possible solution, to be considered by Inverness councillors, is a system that demands drivers input their registration number.

However, that technology would mean replacing the 17 existing pay machines – at a total cost of £85,000.

Council officials have recommended approval of the plans for Millburn Road, Upper Strothers Lane, Church Street and Castle Street, adding a total of 17 extra bays.

Following the report published in March this year by HIE on the economic and social benefits of a proposed air service between Skye and the Central Belt, Skye Aerodrome was under the spotlight at yesterday’s meeting of the Skye and Raasay Committee.

As well as discussing  the report and the updated report which was submitted to first meeting of the new HITRANS Board in June,  local members looked at the current commercial operation activities at the aerodrome and approved changes that will see revised tariffs introduced and the development of an on-line Prior Permission Required (PPR) booking system.

Current charging levels are in place for commercial and non-commercial aircrafts as well as for parking and passenger load. Changes to charges approved by the Committee include the introduction of an annual Landing Loyalty card for customers offering a free fifth landing after four full price landings and a set charge of £1950 per day for the use of the aerodrome for filming, sporting and musical events.

Members were also advised that £15,000 of maintenance improvement works to areas of the aerodrome are expected to be carried out before the end of this financial year as part of a programme of works officers are developing. 

Further work is currently underway reviewing the comprehensive technical information by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) by a cross agency officer group involving Highland Council, HITRANS and HIE with a view of developing an indicative airfield layout plan, based on the essential infrastructure required to support scheduled air services

Area Chair, Councillor John Gordon said: “It was good to have the opportunity today to look at making changes to improve the operational side of things and also look forward to the potential development of scheduled air services to and from Skye and get an update on how work to take this forward is progressing.

“From what is happening elsewhere around the globe we can see how air services to and from small rural airports is playing a key role in supporting economic and community growth. Benefits include better connectivity and greater access to markets as well as attracting overseas visitors. As a Committee we look forward to working with HIE and HITRANS to press the case for the reintroduction of air links.”

Local priorities were top of the agenda when The Highland Council’s Skye and Raasay Committee met in Portree yesterday (Monday 11 September).

Last October the Committee drew up a draft list of local strategic priorities for the area which reflect the geographical diversity of the Ward to ensure that local needs and issues are taken into account by the Council as a whole. These were further discussed and refined at a Ward Business Meeting held in December.

At the council elections held in May this year 3 new Members were elected to serve the Eilean a’ Cheò Ward. Over the last 3 months all 4 Members have taken the opportunity to meet with officers and partners responsible for progressing some of the key priorities identified

These list of priorities come under the headings of Tourism; Infrastructure; Education; Housing; Community Works; Health and include:

The priorities with which The Highland Council will grit roads on the Isles of Skye and Raasay this winter have been approved by Councillors yesterday (Monday 11 September 2017).

The Skye and Raasay Committee members have approved a winter maintenance plan for the area which includes priority road lists and maps showing the priority gritting routes.

The Committee discussed the priorities of gritting a network of 170km primary routes (27%), 102km secondary routes (16%) and 346km other routes (57%) across the Eilean a’ Cheò ward.  Winter road maintenance for trunk roads in the Highlands is carried out by BEAR Scotland.  

Primary routes are treated first, followed by secondary routes and crews will only move on to treat other roads when the primary and secondary routes are all completed.

The routes have been set within the context of the Council’s current Winter Maintenance Policy which is in place to ensure a consistent level of service is applied across all areas of the Highlands.  Each year local areas put in place their Winter Maintenance Plan to cover the operational details in order to deliver a service locally within existing budget and resources.

Chair of the Area Committee, Councillor John Gordon said: “There is always a balance to be struck in the gritting priorities for our roads based on the amount of resources available and the need to reduce risk to vehicles and pedestrians.

“On Skye and Raasay we have access to real time data from 6 icelert sites and these sensors provide information on the road surface temperature, surface condition and the presence of salt. This information allows our staff to react to local conditions and throughout the coming winter we will monitor the agreed plan to make sure we cover any changes in weather using our existing resources to best effect.”

In the area there are 19 staff delivering winter maintenance supported by Amenity, Streets and Waste Staff. A standby system is in place to ensure sufficient drivers are available to cover weekends. Four gritters and 2 footpath tractors are deployed to spread on average 4,000 tonnes of salt each year.

Details of the Skye and Raasay Area priority routes and winter services information can be viewed by visiting the council’s website here.

A new short stay public car park for Broadford could be on the cards after local councillors discussed a range of methods to ease parking pressures on the island at yesterday’s Skye and Raasay Committee.

The Green and Somerled Square public car parks in Portree are to have their short stay car park tariffs amended  offering a maximum of two hours car parking at a revised cost of £1 for up to an hour and £2 for up to 2 hours. Alternative free long stay parking will still be available in Portree at the Bayfield car park.

Following the discussions held by members today a consultation will take place with the residents and businesses in Broadford where it is proposed that a new off-street car park (Broadford North)  be created for short term parking of up to two hours, the charge for which would be the same as the Portree short stay car parks. This is being proposed as a way to relieve difficulties for the public to access local services in the village and will include a 30 minute free period. Free long stay parking in Broadford would still continue to be available at the Broadford South car park.

Chair of the Committee, Councillor John Gordon said: “My fellow councillors and I are very aware of the parking pressures in Portree and Broadford and following feedback from our constituents we wanted to address the problem as a priority.

“After our discussions today we can now start the statutory process to alter conditions so we can change the two Portree car park tariffs with a set charge that is the same across all council run car parks on the Island. Consultation can also now begin with people in Broadford to get their feedback on proposals on making the new car park a short stay one to ease the current problems people are having on parking to accessing services.

“We now have a full time Parking Enforcement Officer who has been working on n the Island since the 15th August so this and the new parking measures will I feel go a long way to provide a better balance for drivers who want to park up for a quick visit to shops and to access local services and those who want to park up for a longer time.

“As a Committee we will be closely monitoring how these changes bed in and what difference they make to drivers.”

A new £50,000 fund that will install call-blocking technology for those most at risk from nuisance calls across the Highlands has been welcomed by Kate Forbes MSP. 

The fund forms a key part of the Scottish Government's Nuisance Calls Action Plan, which will raise awareness of the issue of scam and nuisance calls and empower people to protect themselves from scams. Stats have shown that Scotland is disproportionately affected by nuisance calls.

The SNP has consistently taken action to tackle nuisance calls, forcing the UK Government at Westminster to adopt legislation that punishes company directors if their organisations are found in breach of the law on nuisance calls.

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: "This new £50,000 fund is great news for people across the Highlands – with Scotland disproportionately affected by this issue.

"Nuisance calls are irritating for many people – and we need to be vigilant as they can be scams and leave people out of pocket as they target the elderly and vulnerable.

"This fund will ensure those most at risk from these calls can get the protection they need and call-blocking technology can be installed.

"This is part of our wider strategy to support people across the Highlands who might be affected by these calls – with the Scottish Government's Nuisance Calls Action Plan which will raise awareness and empower people to protect themselves.

"Despite SNP success at Westminster on this issue, there is still much to be done – and the power to regulate lies with the UK Government. 

"However, it is positive to see the Scottish Government taking action where it can, and we'll continue to press the UK Government to take greater action to reduce nuisance calls in the Highlands."

 

Lochalsh Junior Pipe Band is on a mission to attend the UK Championships in Belfast next year.

Lochalsh Junior Pipe Band started competing in 2015, going on to win the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championship in Edinburgh for the past 3 years in the Novice Juvenile B section, take a first in the British Championships, second in the European Championships and first place at the World Pipe Band Championship in Glasgow.

The Band are at the early stages of organising the trip to the UK Championships, held on June 16 2018.  The event is one of the five RSPBA major championships held each year.

Treasurer, Janice Nixon, told The Skye Times: "Our success has encouraged us to enter more competitions next year, so we are hoping to attend the UK Championships in Belfast. There is a considerable cost attached to competing at this level given the distances involved, accommodation & travel etc.

"We currently fund all our activity and equipment from local fund-raising efforts. With the publics support we hope to reach our target of £8000 which will allow us to realise our ambition of competing at the UK championships in Belfast."

The Lochalsh Junior Pipe Band's Just Giving page can be found here