Archive for the ‘Minutes’ Category

Minutes 9th August 2021

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

Minutes of Meeting held on 9th August 2021 via Zoom Web Conference

Minutes Approved 13th September 2021

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW); Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM); Marion Turner, Secretary (MT); John Denniston, Treasurer (JD); Andy Wright (AW); Rob Pope (RP); Buster Crabb (BC); Anna McInnes, Minutes Secretary (AM); Anna Patfield, Planet Sutherland (AP), David Watson, KoSDT (DW); Alison Moore, Christine Mackay; Stuart Hewlett

AGENDA ITEMS
1. Welcome: BW opened the meeting and welcomed attendees.
2. Apologies: None
3. Approval of June 2021 minutes: approved as true and accurate record. AW Proposed, MT Seconded
4. Confirmation of co-option of Anna McInnes as member of Community council. Confirmed and agreed. BW Proposed, SM Seconded.
5.
Matters Arising:
i. Flower planters: Purchased as agreed at June meeting, installed onsite. Need to start planning earlier next year to expand display.
ii. Bonar straight speed limit – meeting with Tracey Urry: BW and MT met with Tracey Urry from THC and Pete Campbell from Creich Community Council. They walked partway along the Bonar straight and experienced lots of traffic with different types of vehicles, which helped to demonstrate the CC’s position that 30mph is the only viable option for this stretch of road to allow safe, active travel for residents and visitors. Sutherland County Committee will vote at their meeting on 16th August. BW and MT will write this week on behalf of A&DCC to the six area councillors outlining the main points. Individuals are also welcome to do so and asked DW to submit from KoSDT. BW will also email Tracey Urry to ask to see her recommendation and determine our response after that. MT proposed the CC prepare a response in the event the Committee does not vote for 30mph. Action: BW, MT
iii. Any update re Badvoon forestry?: BW forwarded documents from Andy Murray today and will liaise with MT as its in her area.
6. Chairperson’s Report (BW): Nothing additional to report.

AGENDA ITEMS

1. Welcome: BW opened the meeting and welcomed attendees.

2. Apologies: None

3. Approval of June 2021 minutes: approved as true and accurate record. AW Proposed, MT Seconded

4. Confirmation of co-option of Anna McInnes as member of Community council: Confirmed and agreed. BW Proposed, SM Seconded.

5. Matters Arising:

i. Flower planters: Purchased as agreed at June meeting, installed onsite. Need to start planning earlier next year to expand display.

ii. Bonar straight speed limit – meeting with Tracey Urry: BW and MT met with Tracey Urry from THC and Pete Campbell from Creich Community Council. They walked partway along the Bonar straight and experienced lots of traffic with different types of vehicles, which helped to demonstrate the CC’s position that 30mph is the only viable option for this stretch of road to allow safe, active travel for residents and visitors. Sutherland County Committee will vote at their meeting on 16th August. BW and MT will write this week on behalf of A&DCC to the six area councillors outlining the main points. Individuals are also welcome to do so and asked DW to submit from KoSDT. BW will also email Tracey Urry to ask to see her recommendation and determine our response after that. MT proposed the CC prepare a response in the event the Committee does not vote for 30mph. Action: BW, MT

iii. Any update re Badvoon forestry?: BW forwarded documents from Andy Murray today and will liaise with MT as its in her area.

6. Chairperson’s Report (BW): Nothing additional to report.

7. Secretary’s Report – including Correspondence & Matters raised by local residents (MT):

i. Issues with Core path at Badvoon: No response yet from Matt Dent, BW will email again to ask to meet onsite and walk full length of path. It is important from a heritage point of view that the path be maintained. There is also need to raise the profile for core paths in region and encourage people to use them. JD suggested funding signage for the paths. AW suggested putting a signboard in village with map of the paths. SM suggested working with Matt Dent to identify all the paths. DW noted KoSDT would be interested in audit for whole area to identify gaps and improvements, and Trust can lead on funding and get involved. Action: BW

ii. Request from Karen Murphy, Kintyre: requesting support for Scottish govt petition to encourage Wind Farm developers to routinely offer Shared Ownership: The CC will take no action on this but individuals can lend their support on Scottish Gov website if they choose.

iii. Next Kyle of Sutherland locality meeting: 17th August, 6pm via MS Teams: BW will attend.

8. Treasurer’s Report (JD): Report circulated by email ahead of the meeting. As of 29th July 2021 the balance is £37,558.77. This comprises: Restricted funds: £36,724.65; CC Admin fund: £577.67; Windfarm Admin fund: £256.45. The balances of the restricted funds are: BnO: £24,319.37; CnC: £12,310.00; BTWF Community Projects: -£14.601; RWE Path: £73.20; Toilet Caretaking: £ 36.68. Expenditure between 31st May to 29th July 2021: £32.54 Internet web hosting; £43.17 Zoom subscription; £945.60 for the planters; £180.00 Minutes secretary (April to June). Income since 31st May 2021: £485.03 received from the Highland Council for the admin account; £3,529.76 from Beinn nan Oighrean wind farm fund.

9. Regular updates

  • Climate Issues: BW mentioned the IPCC report which was issued today. We can let politicians know by our actions that we need to make difficult choices. AP reported that the polytunnel at Gledfield Primary is finished. Also mentioned strong support from Sutherland Community Partnership to get people talking about resilience in the area, and get people out growing things!
  • Planning issues:

i. Pure Leisure Gledfield development: 21/02438/PAN & online consultation – 2nd online consultation 9th – 23rd August. Response from community council

The second online consultation opened today and includes responses to comments submitted to the first consultation. Many residents did not receive the postcard that was supposed to be sent by DePol prior to the first consultation, the secretary received no response to her request that the area be extended. The pre-application process gives the community the opportunity to submit comments before the plans are drawn up. JD circulated email listing a number of issues to consider and BW noted the following points to consider in the CCs response:

  1. Development should be carbon-friendly, e.g. solar panels, biomass heating, small turbine
  2. Will water come from mains? Any upgrade to water supply should benefit nearby residents to the west, and this could be a potential benefit for the community.
  3. How will sewage be dealt with?
  4. More passing places are needing to address increased road traffic
  5. Pedestrian access to Ardgay village and train station and footpath along road. The response to previous comment was mini-bus transport will be provided.
  6. Core paths on the river Carron: usage will increase, better signage is needed
  7. How will refuse/recycling be handled at the site
  8. Health services: will there be an onsite paramedic?

Discussion was had on potential positive benefits such as jobs, local investment, amenities for the community. Additional items raised in discussion included impact of the swimming pool, provisions for electricity, concerns over lyme disease, road safety, protecting wildlife, infrastructure, lack of provision of picnic area and child play areas on plans, how to feed local knowledge into planning process and protect cultural assets. BW and MT will put together a submission to circulate to CC members and submit to online consultation on behalf of A&DCC. Action: BW, MT

ii. Achany extension WF Section 36 application from SSE: ECU00001930. Comments open to 6th Sept.:

Details can be viewed online: https://www.sserenewables.com/achanyextension/. Alternatively, BW has a pen drive with the documents that can be made available upon request. Decision will be made by Scottish government. A&DCC won’t respond at this point but individuals can comment.

  • Windfarms:

i. Application for WF at Strathrory refused by North Planning committee. Community Benefit discussions continue re other proposed developments.: BW/MT continuing with discussions. Nothing new to report on this.

  • Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust (DW): The polytunnel beside barn is completed, will be used as community and educational space. Funding approved from THC for 7 growing projects. Bonar Bridge Post Office renovations are underway with the sorting office currently in the barn. Falls of Shin will not have long-term operator for this year however the onsite catering van is working out well. KoSDT will resubmit proposal to take over and manage the South Bonar Bridge toilets site and maintain as a public amenity. This was previously rejected due to SEPA’s objection. Funds of £10,000 from Cash for Kids was distributed in 6 days. Funding bid was successful from the Beatrice fund for £27,000 to install 5 more defibrillators in areas with gaps including 3 mobile defibrillators for ghillies, and 5 hookups to public buildings for SSE generators. More funding is also available for the Kyle Chronicle to highlight the resilience plan every 3 months. Met with Victoria Collison of Historic Churches Scotland re: creating heritage experience with Croick Church as central feature, in efforts to develop heritage tourism, potential for a 3-year project with heritage lottery funding to create heritage officer post and steering group from local area to identify important assets and ensure all voices heard. The Sutherland Fuel Poverty Summit will be held in Lairg on 8th October, will look at environmental impact in addition to fuel poverty. Residents can complete the affordable warmth survey on the Sutherland Community Partnership website: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Sutherlandaffordablewarmthsurvey
  • Highland council: No report as Cllr Kirsteen Currie did not attend meeting. BW will invite Cllrs Hugh Morrison & Linda Munro to future meetings. MT has had no reply re: Kincardine flooding.

10. AOCB

  • A&DCC Website Admin: MT will provide details to AM for taking on the A&DCC website admin, AM to post meeting minutes once access is available. SM requested links to minutes also be posted from the Facebook page. ACTION: MT, AM
  • Broken Road Sign: JD reported the Culrain/Croick/Inveroykel road sign has fallen down, he will report on THC website where residents can report such issues themselves: https://www.highland.gov.uk/report

11. Date of Future Meetings: The next meeting will be 13th September over Zoom. There have been no updates from THC about in-person meetings.

12. Applications to Beinn Tharsuinn Wind Farm: Application from the Kyle of Sutherland Gala Week was approved in the amount of £220.00. JD will write to the Kyle of Sutherland Gala and to pay the £220 from BnO. ACTION: JD

Meeting closed at 21:03.

Minutes 14 June 2021

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

Minutes of Meeting held on 14th June 2021 at 7:00PM via Zoom web conference

Minutes Approved 9th August 2021

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW); Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM); Marion Turner, Secretary (MT); John Denniston, Treasurer (JD); Andy Wright (AW); Rob Pope (RP); Anna McInnes, Minutes Secretary (AM); Anna Patfield, Planet Sutherland (AP), Alison Moore, Christine Mackay (CM)

Apologies: Buster Crabb, David Watson, Kirsteen Currie

AGENDA ITEMS:

1. Welcome: BW opened the meeting and welcomed attendees.

2. Apologies: Buster Crabb, David Watson, Kirsteen Currie

3. Approval of May 2021 minutes: approved as true and accurate record.

2. Apologies: Buster Crabb, David Watson, Kirsteen Currie
3. Approval of May 2021 minutes: approved as true and accurate record.
Date & Time:
Location:
Present:
Betty Wright, Chair (BW); Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM); Marion Turner, Secretary (MT); John Denniston, Treasurer (JD); Andy Wright (AW); Rob Pope (RP); Anna McInnes, Minutes Secretary (AM)
Also attending:
Apologies:
4.
Matters Arising:

4. Matters Arising:

i. Flooding at Kincardine Cemetery: MT wrote to resident who raised original issue and advised Cllr Kirsteen Currie (KC) will be taking it forward but as yet no response. KC unable to join meeting, so MT will send KC letter asking for update. Action: MT

ii. Are 20mph Signs Working at Gledfield: SM spoke to Headteacher Mr Bews: he will speak to FM team to have lights checked, awaiting update from him.

iii. Bonar Straight Speed Limit: Issue to be raised on 14/6/21 at Sutherland Committee ward business meeting as part of Road Traffic Orders. MT wrote as member of public and asked what is the proposal to be discussed at meeting and what position will the Ward 1 councillors take, but received no reply. Speed limit should be reduced to 30mph for safety and encourage active travel. Awaiting results of the meeting. BW to write again to Tracy Urray, Roads. Action: BW

iv. Flower planters: SM confirm planters have been ordered and will arrive in July. Jean will create summer display once planters are available.

5. Chairperson’s Report: Anna McInnes has asked to be co-opted as full council member. Proposed: BW; seconded RP. BW confirmed with Phil Tomalin (PT) she can retain paid Minutes Secretary role. MT will share link to Code of Conduct from THC website. BW will advise PT and put on as Agenda item at next meeting to be public record then can be finalised. Action: BW

6. Secretary’s Report – incl. Correspondence & Matters Raised by Local Residents: MT has circulated all correspondence by email. The following matters were flagged for discussion:

i. Issues with Core Path at Badvoon: MT received letter from the daughter of a resident reporting problems using this Core path, specifically removal of the bridge. SM commented that this is part of a larger issue: the full path circuit has been blocked at many points in the last 5 years, so that even if the bridge was fixed the path will still be inaccessible. Access Officer Matt Dent (MD) is aware of the issue and was meant to get back to BW but there has been no update from him. CC would like to be able resolve these kinds of issues sooner and engage with residents and access officer. AW suggested better signage to raise awareness of paths, better engagement between owners, CC, and access officer. JD noted CC may have funds available for signage. Ultimately the Badvoon access issue sits with MD to resolve. BW will contact MD again and ask to meet onsite to review situation. Action: BW

ii. Ardgay Hall: Correspondence received from Rhonwen Copley with details of Hall availability under certain Covid-19 restrictions; can be used for small events but not reopening before Autumn for regular use. CC meetings will continue over Zoom until THC advises in-person meetings are allowed. SM suggested combination of Zoom and in- person meetings may be preferable even after covid, especially in winter. MT will advise Rhonwen that CC will continue with Zoom meetings for now and make a decision on using Hall once THC lifts restrictions on in-person meetings. Action: MT

7. Treasurer’s Report: JD circulated report ahead of the meeting. As of 31st May 2021 balance at the bank is: £34,745.29. This comprises Restricted funds: £34,140.49; CC Admin fund: £220.50; Windfarm Admin fund: £384.31. The balances of the restricted funds are BnO: £20,789.61; CnC: £12,310.00; BTWF Community Projects: £931.00; RWE Path: £73.20; Toilet Caretaking: £ 36.68. Expenditure since 30th April 2021: None. Income since 30th April 2021: None. Expenditure since 31st May 2021(not in bank statement yet): Web hosting: £32.54; Zoom: £43.17. Other expenditure not yet formally approved and not in accounts: Planters: £945.60. Planters were paid for as arranged in the last meeting: agreed by quorum via email and approved in this meeting: Proposed: JD, all agreed.

8. Forestry Replanting at Badvoon – Request for Input from Local Community: BW has not heard from Andy Murray, she will contact him again. AP requested information about plans for replanting for after the trees taken down; MT responded that we don’t know yet, as this is the information that Andy Murray will be sharing with CC. Action: BW

Fountains Forestry Proposal for Strathcarron Wood– Plans for the Next Few Years: BW will contact resident who has concerns about access track that runs by her house. She will have been contacted by them as a neighbour.

9. Regular Updates

  • Planning Issues:

i. Pure Leisure Gledfield Development: 21/02438/PAN & Online Consultation – 16th July & 9th August.

BW reports that Pure Leisure (PL) pre-application notice was submitted to THC, which means a full application cannot be submitted for 12 weeks. Initial proposal of 35 lodges has increased to 47 in same area of ground. Development has potential to impact community as much or more as a windfarm, so people need to be informed as fully as possible. CC has had no engagement with PL since their initial presentation. PL have not setup a local group to bring forward their plans nor have they provided ongoing consultation and regular updates as initially promised. Concerns exist about sewage, water, and proper road provision, not just passing places. CM raised several concerns about impact of development on local access to water supply; unsuitable and unsafe road conditions; as well as potential detrimental impact on fishermen. She further noted that the owner has already blocked off parking access on roadside. AW observed that there could be benefits to the area if done properly, but is concerned at lack of consultation thus far, community needs to be properly consulted at each step. MT suggested asking them to do mailshot to local area to inform residents about online consultation as it is important that all stakeholders submit their feedback. AM posed question about people without internet access who cannot respond to the online consultation. SM noted that public computers are available at library. JD & AP proposed sharing the link to consultation on THC website in meeting minutes: https://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=QTCKIR IH09K00. MT asked if A&DCC will be statutory consultees; SM read that letters are to be sent on 9th July to consultees, with online consultation on 16th July and 9th August. MT will ask for postcard drop to all our residents. Action: MT

ii. (Meall Buidhe Windfarm 20/02659/FUL: Supplementary info has been supplied as requested by NatureScot, SEPA & THC. : MT advised CC have already commented and position remains unchanged. SEPA withdrew objection as changes were met.

iii. Application for Anemometer at Oape: MT advised we don’t need to comment.

  • Climate Issues: AP stated that the Gledfield School polytunnel build will be completed over the summer during school holidays.
  • Windfarms: The Meall Buidhe MOU has been signed/returned. BW noted Strath Oykel is in scoping at moment, proposal for 16 turbines up to 250 meters.
  • Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust (KoSDT): Report from David Watson (DW) previously circulated by email regarding distribution of hardship funds. AW to send note of thanks to DW and KoSDT on behalf of CC for all of their hard work and action to support the community. Action: AW
  • Highland Council (THC): MT circulated link to final proposal for Local Government Boundary Review by email. Ward 1, which is largest geographic ward in country but has lowest population density, will lose 1 councillor, from 3 down to 2 and risk being under-represented. Cllr Kirsteen Currie was not able to join meeting to discuss. CC will wait for official notification and respond that we disagree if responses are allowed.

10. AOCB SM shared that she attended a very interesting webinar put on by Community Land Scotland with panel members from various organisations discussing tackling de-population and other land issues in the region. She will share a link to the recording.

11. Date of Future Meetings: The next meeting will be held on the 9th of August.

12. Grant Applications: No applications were received.

Meeting closed at 21:26.

Minutes 12 April 2021

Thursday, May 13th, 2021

Climate Change Update Meeting- DRAFT Minutes

Date & Time: 12 April 2021 at 7:00 PM

Location: Zoom Web Conference

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW); Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM); Marion Turner, Secretary (MT); John Denniston, Treasurer (JD); Andy Wright (AW); Buster Crabb (BC); Rob Pope (RP); Anna McInnes,  Minutes Secretary (AM)

Also attending: Anna Patfield, Planet Sutherland (AP); Norman MacDonald, Creich Community Council (NM)

Apologies: None

Guest Speaker: Joe Perry, Climate Change Co-ordinator with Highland Council (JP)

AGENDA ITEMS

1

Welcome / Introductions

BW opened meeting and welcomed attendees, noting invitation was also extended to Creich Community Council. BW also introduced AM, new minutes secretary taking over from Mary Goulder. BW welcomed Joe Perry (JP), Climate Change Coordinator

from The Highland Council (THC), who is here to give an update on how THC are addressing the climate & ecological emergency that was declared 2 years ago, and how we are working towards a green recovery.

2 Presentation from Joe Perry, Climate Change Co-ordinator for Highland Council

JP thanked everyone for invite and posing thoughtful questions that helped to structure his presentation. A big part of his job is talking to communities about what climate change is. He presented slides based on the following questions:

1. What can individuals, community groups, and schools do?

JP: Scale of emergency means everyone needs to engage at every level from individual to government. We can drive change from bottom up e.g. recycling, cutting carbon footprint, support green companies, invest in reusable products, voting for like-minded parties, but still need to keep pressure for change from the top, requires responsibility from countries causing climate issues such as emissions. Every time someone commits we move one step away from worst-case scenario.

2. Do you think we have the correct timescale? What can we say to reassure young people (& others!) who feel things are not moving quickly enough?

JP: 2021 UN Climate Change Conference to be held in UK. Goal is to limit global warming and limit most catastrophic effects of climate change. Ambitious targets now being set for 2050 using Paris Agreement, varies from country to country but global target is to get global warming below 2 degrees at very least. Action is difficult, science is not understood, influential industries/lobbyists reduce impact. Good news is in Scotland we are exceeding targets of Paris Agreement, and are the global leader on climate change. The best course of action right now is flexibility.

3. THC produces more Green Energy than any other local area in Scotland (& UK), can THC work with developers to progress use of this energy locally – for example introducing storage for electricity when not required on grid (to avoid restraint payments & possibly to be then sold to local users). We should be working towards a Smart Local Energy Grid where Energy can be produced, stored & used locally.

JP: THC is looking into this such as storage for electricity when not required on grid, smart local energy, collaboration between local partners and energy companies to secure local benefits. Currently there is no capacity to handle the energy being produced. We are powerhouse of UK energy, we should be getting more benefit.

He isn’t involved and doesn’t know a lot about the work being done on this, but offered to look into it and report back for future meetings.

4. Which policy items fall within remit of THC v Scottish Government?

JP: Provided breakdown of how policy flows down via the Paris Agreement from the UK as a whole, to Scotland, through to local work in the Highlands:

• UK Wide: In 2015 UK signed up to Paris Agreement. UK is one of leading nations when meeting targets: net zero by 2050. Starting in 2020, 5 yearly goals set for national contributions, commitment to 68% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels). To meet goals: set policies to reduce emissions, 10-point plan for green industrial revolution, £12 billion investment into 1/4 million “green jobs”, set carbon budgets. Devolved administrations get their own targets. THC has a good website about climate change.

• Scotland: Climate Change Act of 2019 set goal of net zero by 2045 with interim targets for 2020/30/40. Also sets yearly carbon budgets. Goals for green recovery: green jobs, protect biodiversity, work toward net zero.

There is strong legislation; Scotland must prepare strategic delivery plans.

• THC: takes lead from national policy but can set our own goals, such as

Carbon CLEVER initiative, which aims for carbon neutral Inverness in lowcarbon Highland by 2025.

JP offered to send further details of this.

Carbon management plan sets targets for reducing emissions in every local authority area from schools, waste, etc, everything council does. Going beyond local policies, leading/contributing to projects to make the Highlands more sustainable, collaboration with NatureScot, RSPB, UHI, etc.

5. How are green policies financed?

JP: There are many sources, with more funding becoming available:
• Government funding: still the main source, e.g. Forestry Commission.
• Bids/Awards: example of pathfinder funding such as a trial green
infrastructure project that JP is working on. These trials are used to suggest
new/innovative ways, if they can be scaled then can lead to more funding.
• Carbon Credits: These are “credits” bought by private sector or individuals
to offset carbon emissions, e.g. a company investing in peatland
conservation. These types of credits could benefit the Highlands.
• Charities: donations from organisations like RSPB.

6. With current Covid restrictions & in longer term perhaps a move away from
air travel, Highland is likely to see an increase in tourism. How can roads &
other facilities be upgraded to cope? (and how much should they be?)

JP: THC has limited infrastructure budget, maintenance /repair work stretches
already limited budget. Needs to be more work to encourage and improve public
transport uptake with tourists and residents, to prepare Highlands for electric
vehicle revolution, direct tourists to routes that can cope with traffic more easily,
provide information on fragility of infrastructure. With Covid impact, more people
are working/shopping/studying remotely, THC should continue to support this by
providing better internet connectivity, which ties in with transport infrastructure.

7. Land: How do we balance differing land uses such as peat, forestry, farming,
rewilding, clean energy production?

JP addressed each category:
• Peatlands: Highlands has world-class peatlands, store a lot of carbon, most
effective when in good condition. Flow Country (part of World Heritage Site
Project) stores more carbon than every woodland in Britain combined!
• Forestry: expanding woodlands increases carbon sequestration, having “the
right tree in the right place” is significant to ambitious tree planting targets.
• Rewilding is often associated with reintroducing apex predators like wolf
and lynx, but is actually about simply letting nature take its course, we are a
long way off from reintroducing wolves!
• Renewable energy: this is partial answer to climate change, encourage
consumers to switch to renewable energy from providers. Wind farms are
most visible and often controversial, local communities should be involved
in planning, the benefits are important. Solar and wave energy are growing.
• Agriculture: Covid has revealed food security issues, we need more
incentives to manage land with biodiversity.
• Balance: follow the science, don’t reward land use that exploits the land,
any plans need to keep people at heart!
Q& A with JP After the Presentation:

AW: how can we improve education get young people engaged, take responsibility?
JP:  Need to engage more with schools, prepare students for green jobs, will need
1/4 million passionate graduates to fill them. Green Impact Sustainability tool,
setup by NUS, challenges people to make their organisation more sustainable, this
is a way to engage with schools and can make it easy and fun for kids to get
involved, guide them toward green jobs of the future.

AW: How can we address fuel poverty as priority and look out for most vulnerable
in society?
JP: THC is taking a two-pronged approach: replace inefficient boilers, install proper
insulation. THC provides info about funding for eligibility. Winter Fuel allowance
can help mitigate but it is a much wider issue that needs addressing.

Norman: Charging points for electric vehicles are all different: can we get
manufactures to align and use single power point?
JP: Compared it to different fuel types. Probably decades away but as they become
more popular and the price comes down, there will be more standardisation.

SM: Any thoughts on farming vehicles using petrol/diesel?
JP:  While no new diesel vehicles will be sold in a few years’ time, will be slower to
convert these large machines. But there are people working on this now, it’s a
question of technology and there will be solutions in future.

MT: Recent article about French govt decision to end flights that can be done by
train under 2.5 hrs- What is THC and HIAL saying about airports on Skye, or Wick?
How does this square with green ambitions?
JP: Difficult question, can’t really get anywhere in the Highlands in 2.5 hrs by train.
Benefits to having airports in rural areas, issues of depopulation, aging population.
Development of airports doesn’t align with green recovery but rural, isolated areas
should be priority over large wealthy areas like London, need to look at
communities affected by changes.

JD: How accurate is reporting of CO2 being produced?
JP: Reporting is not incredibly accurate, elements like Scope 3 emissions that we
have no direct control over. We do try to measure consistently, focus on measuring
what we can and focus on what we can improve.

AP: What has been done to educate adults to make behaviour changes? What is
the most effective action that communities can take?
JP:  Work on community projects, consultation or holding events, e.g. Grow Your
Own event, look at examples from around the world that are working well: e.g. the

Netherlands, ideas from community initiatives (buyouts of land for rewilding),organic growing/boxes in villages, circular economies, small projects can have large ripple effect. Incredible Edible charity: project for growing food locally, reducing food miles, started as neighbourhood initiative.

AM: Is THC creating a toolkit of these kinds of things to provide to CCs or
community groups?
JP: Not currently, but this is a good idea he will take back.  There is also eco-officer
network, volunteer to work on public facing event/project every month to host in
local area, could be very useful and have wider reach with online events. “Local
nature conservation sites”- we are the only ones who don’t have one in Highlands,
there is a need to do more of this.

BW:  Re: smart local energy grid: shared ownership option brings more money,
could THC get involved and use money to address fuel poverty for example, or
further address climate change?
JP: THC leader Margaret Davidson is very interested in paving the way for
community benefit from windfarms, putting direct profits toward climate action,
habitat regeneration in areas of windfarm.

AW:  Climate emergency can be overwhelming, how to stay positive?
JP: Everyone has to make their own decisions, find their own passion and inspire
others. Raising awareness and repeating message of climate emergency is
important; THC Climate Change team is growing from 2 to 6. Optimism can be hard
but so much work ongoing, next generation is much more fired up and will only get
better in terms of work being done.

BW closed the meeting thanking JP for sharing insights, look forward to hearing
updates. JP reiterated offer to send on more information if requested.

Date of next meeting: May 10th 2021

Minutes 8 March 2021

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 8th March 2021 on Zoom at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 12th April 2021

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM), Marion Turner, Secretary (MT), John Denniston, Treasurer, (JD), Andy Wright (AW), Buster Crabb (BC) Rob Pope (RP)

Apologies: Mary Goulder, minutes secretary

Also present: Karen Anderson, Chris Bell & Gillian Wilson SSE renewables; Maria Bellissimo, teclan; Highland Councillor Kirsteen Currie (KC), Anna Patfield, Planet Sutherland (AP), Christine Mackay (CM), Jan Patience (JP)

Items 1 & 2. Welcome & apologies (as above). Chair Betty Wright welcomed everyone to this Zoom meeting, especially representatives from SSE & members of the public. ,

Item 3. Presentation from SSE renewables re Achany Wind Farm extension. BW introduced the speakers & reminded the meeting that community Benefit discussions would be held separately at a later date.  KA (consent manager SSE) introduced the project team.  Project manager – Gillian Wilson & Chris Bell, community liaison.  SSE renewables have a portfolio 4GW of generation.  The revised GlenCassley proposal has been renamed Achany extension.  Proposed 20 turbines at a height of 149.9m.  Revised scoping submitted to ECU in November 2020.  The new scheme would use existing access from Achany WF.  Chris Bell confirms there will be discussions re community benefit & refers to existing Achany fund which has put £1M into local area over last 10 years.  Would welcome discussions re shared ownership with local groups.  Next steps – a formal consultation, probably June, to be held in line with government guidelines in place at that date.  Questions followed:  BW:  any battery storage to be included?  To avoid constraint?  KA: No plans for this site.  AW: expresses concern that with Climate Change we should be looking at all options – having a Smart grid available locally would allow increasing numbers of electric car batteries to provide storage.  Fuel poverty in this area is a real problem.  Surely there must be a way for locally produced electricity to alleviate this – thereby also increasing the acceptance of windfarms locally.  Also, could the WF access tracks be used for off road cycling?  KA – access has been arranged on other SSE sites. CB: Smart meters & increased rollout of EV charging infrastructure will help to address this problem.  SSE were thanked for their presentation.

Item 4. Approval of February minutes. The minutes of the February meeting were approved as a true and accurate record. Proposed: Andy Wright; seconded: Marion Turner.

Item 5. Matters arising. (1) 20mph signs at Gledfield school – these still do not appear to be working.  Contact THC for update on the repair & ask them to ensure that road users know they are not working.BW to action.  Report that Sutherland Committee are pursuing rollout of 20 mph zones in more Sutherland villages. (2) Flooding at Kincardine cemetery – KC had raised this issue, but no response yet. KC to follow up.MT to update resident  (3) Salt bins at Drovers square – residents can request that Albyn housing refill these.  (3) Bonar straight – KC says this has not yet come to Sutherland committee for consideration. (4) Road repairs – KC has reported these & roads dept are assessing the situation.  Some of the worst potholes along Strathcarron have been infilled.

Item 6. Chairperson’s report. (1) ADCC website has been managed for many years by Phil Olson who would like to pass on this task. BW thanked him for all his work & apologised for not addressing the issue at an earlier meeting.  It was agreed that the task of updating the website would be added to the work of new minutes secretary when one is in place.  AW offers to rebuild the website, but it was agreed that this is not necessary at this point, as primary use is for our minutes & agendas & CB fund application forms.  Any local news can be shared via KoSDT website & Kyle Chronicle. (2) appointing a new minutes secretary: AW suggests approaching DW to enquire if KoSDT could offer help. SM asked to put advert on Facebook.  BW action. (3)There will be a meeting of the Local Resilience group tomorrow.  Work on the resilience plan is continuing.

Item 7. Secretary’s report/matters raised by local residents. Request received from Bradbury Centre for a letter of support for plan to keep old bus for use by community groups – agreed that MT would write this. MT action  Letter received from resident that the toilets in Ardgay were locked & also that the disabled toilet was blocked.  It was suggested that the individual report this direct to the Highland Council (THC) via their website & to get back to us if issue not addressed.  SM said that Contact information for THC was included in the upcoming issue of Kyle Chronicle.  

Item 8. Treasurer’s report. (JD) JD had circulated the report ahead of the meeting. As of 23rd Feb 2021 balance at the bank is: £42620.68. This comprises: Restricted funds: £41865.49, CC Admin fund: £338.69, Windfarm Admin fund:

£416.50. The balances of the restricted funds are: BnO: £20,789.61, CnC: £19,810.00. BTWF Community Projects: £1,156.00, RWE Path: £73.20. Toilet Caretaking: £36.68. Expenditure since last meeting to 23 Feb, payment to Minutes secretary, £500 received from Beinn Tharsuinn fund to windfarm admin fund, payment also made to Ardgay Hall for Broadband.  MT asks if ADCC account should request a debit card.

Item 9. Coire na Cloiche CB funds. (BW).  MT asked if Kyle of Sutherland Heritage society should be included in annual awards.  A decision to include them along with Ardgay Hall, Culrain Hall & Gearrchoille Community Wood had been deferred to allow Creich cc to discuss.  It was agreed that they should now be included.  SM & MT have produced guidelines & an application form for this new fund.  It includes a restriction on annual turnover, as this is aimed at smaller groups.  All agree with suggestion from BW that we are now ready to pay out funds & invite these groups to complete application form.  Annual awards to be:  Ardgay Hall & Culrain Hall £3k; Gearrchoille community wood & Kyle of Sutherland Heritage society £1.5k; all awards to be offered annually for an initial period of 5 years – dependant on an annual report.  Other groups are also to be invited to apply to remainder of the fund for grants of £250- £2000.  BW thanks MT & SM for all their work on this.  MT to action

Item 10. Benches & local walks in need of attention: SM: Suggests that local organisations (KoSDT, CreichCC, Lairg & district community initiative) compile a list of walks that could be improved with the addition of a bench.  These can range from very simple wooden structures to the beautifully carved ones as at Ledmore wood.  AW reminds the meeting that maps of local cycle routes had been online.  Other communities have produced leaflets or apps of local walks.  Are all the Core Paths signed?  AP mentions Walk Highlands who in conjunction with ViewRanger describe a number of local Ardgay walks.

Item 11.  Regular updates:

(1)    Planning issues.  None of note

(2)    Climate issues. (i) Joe Perry has accepted an invitation to a special ADCC meeting in April.  Creich CC have also been invited.  Info to be shared on FB & questions invited.  MT reports that there are plans to build a Hydrogen plant at Invergordon – could such projects make use of constrained electricity from local windfarms?  (ii) AP mentioned the Highland adapts program that Joe can tell us about.  (iii) Lairg Learning Centre have a series of Carbon Conversation online workshops starting 22 March – free to book via Eventbrite.  (iv) KC: UKAEA are asking for candidates to site a prototype Nuclear Fusion reactor (STEP).  Highland council is considering applying to have it sited at Dounreay.  A decision has to be made by the end of the month as to whether they want to bid for the siting of this.  Fusion power has been cited as providing Carbon free electricity, but so far none have been constructed that produce more power than they use – an unproven technology.  AW emphasises that we need lifestyle change & system change and not just clean energy to address Climate problems.

(3)    Windfarms. (i)  BW and MT have recently attended online meetings with Sallachy, Strath Rory, Muirden & Garvary. developers to discuss community benefit. (ii) Meall Buidhe. Agreement that CB funds should be shared between Ardgay & district, Creich & Assynt community councils.  (iii) Discussions with SSE Achany extension to be held in near future.

(4)    Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. SM reported that they are looking for a new operator for Falls of Shin & refurbishment works are planned for Post Office building in Bonar Bridge

(5)    Highland Council. KC: Revenue budget passed, which includes money (180K) for traffic road orders, although this also covers passing places, laybys & verges.  Any concerns re Highland council playparks to be passed to KC.

Item 11. Any other competent business. MT raised the issue of support for proposed Motor Home Parking site at south Bonar which was discussed at a previous meeting.  SEPA have raised concerns about the risk of flooding at the site.  This is well known!  As this is a site for mobile homes, and not a permanent building, it was agreed that secretary would add a support comment from ADCC on THC planning site.  Residents & individual cllrs can also comment. 

Item 12. Date of future meetings. next meetings: with Joe Perry, Highland council Climate Co-ordinator April 12th 2021 (no other agenda items).  Next business meeting May 10th 2021 Both via Zoom, at 7pm.

Item 13. Applications to Beinn Tharsuinn, Beinn nan Oighrean community benefit funds No applications.

Meeting closed 9.03pm

Minutes 8 February 2021

Saturday, February 13th, 2021

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 8th February 2021 on Zoom at 7.00pm

Draft Minutes for Approval

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM), Marion Turner, Secretary (MT), John Denniston, Treasurer, (JD), Andy Wright (AW), Buster Crabb (BC)

Apologies: Rob Pope (RP)

Also present: Highland Councillor Kirsteen Currie (KC), David Watson, KoSDT, Anna Patfield, Planet Sutherland (AP), Christine Mackay (CM) and Valerie Graham (VG)

Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1 & 2. Welcome & apologies (as above). Chair Betty Wright welcomed everyone to this Zoom meeting, especially members of the public, commenting that without Zoom in this weather a regular meeting would have been cancelled.

Item 3. Approval of December minutes. The minutes of the December meeting were approved as a true and accurate record. Proposed: Silvia Muras; seconded: Marion Turner.

Item 4. Matters arising. (1) Speeding and visibility of signs near Gledfield School. THC reported that the 20mph warning signs are not working.at present – Contact THC to ensure they are working ahead of the school reopening. (2) Xmas lights. Thanks noted to AW, Jamie Macrae and Bill Knott for their work taking down the lights which are now safely stored till next season. (3) Local Resilience Plan. Talks are moving the local plans forward. Jodie Ross is working on costings and funding opportunities. She is in contact with Fiona Morrison and Pamela Harvey of SSE. KC advised that she has good contacts within SSEN and Scottish Ambulance if these could help.

Item 5. Chairperson’s report. (BW) (1) Owing to the recent resignation of Bill Knott, a vacancy has arisen on the CC. CCs encouraged to talk with anyone who might be interested after which the co-option process could proceed. (2) BW also advised that MG has indicated her intention to stand down from the post of Minutes Secretary at the end of March. CCs should look out for anyone who could take on this paid role. (3) Thanks and congratulations given to KoSDT for the excellent work and support to the community through the Food Larder, etc. Also to all within the local NHS staff who are working hard implementing the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out.

Item 6. Secretary’s report/matters raised by local residents. (MT) All correspondence has been circulated by email. (1) Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) is offering a regular report on its activities in the area. Perhaps useful though CC reluctant to load extra work on to the CAB. SM suggested they could contact her for Kyle Chronicle. (3) TECS. Water is running down Ardgay Hill and will get worse as the snow melts; flooding in the graveyard is very distressing to all bereaved/visiting people and needs urgent attention; the condition of local pavements is dangerous. Responsibility for gritting in Drovers’ Square is shared between KoSDT and Albyn Housing. The salt bin for use on the pavements is empty (Albyn). As throughout the area, potholes in many places are dangerous for all road users, whether four or two wheeled. Especially difficult for motor cyclist and pedal bikes.  Much of the damage has been caused in recent times by heavily loaded timber lorries. Carron road bridge surface is breaking up. KC will follow up all TECS issues. KC Action.

Item 7. Treasurer’s report. (JD) JD had circulated the report ahead of the meeting. As of 13th Jan 2021 balance at the bank is: £42,229.43. This comprises: Restricted funds: £41865.49, CC Admin fund: £393.07, Windfarm Admin fund:

£-29.13 (pending £500 transfer from BTWF). The balances of the restricted funds are: BnO: £20,789.61, CnC: £19,810.00. BTWF Community Projects: £1,156.00, RWE Path: £73.20. Toilet Caretaking: £36.68. Expenditure between16th Nov 2020 and 14th Dec 2020: £27.00 Christmas lights related, £93.00 also Christmas lights related: £72.50 Minutes Secretary. Expenditure between14th Dec 2020 and 13th Jan 2021: £90.00 Minutes Secretary. Income since 16th Nov 2020: None. SM proposed transferring the surplus £36 from the now unused Toilet Caretaking fund to the Admin fund – agreed by all.

Item 8. Coire na Cloiche CB funds. (BW) Chair proposed that: the CC funds three local organisations annually as discussed at the November 2020 meeting. The three named organisations have expressed their wishes to be included in this provision A decision about other organisations in Ardgay which are joint with Creich/Bonar Bridge was postponed. A template application form will be drawn up and liaison with the groups will continue. The remainder of the CnC fund will be open to applications for up to £2k from local groups. Guidelines will be established. An item will be published in the Kyle Chronicle explaining the new fund and how it will be managed. An annual review will take place to ensure the best outcomes for all local organisations. MT/SM Action. DW suggested that the Kyle Chronicle be considered as, although without physical assets, it is a major asset to the community and needs to be supported. As other community benefits come onstream in the future other administration may be needed and the disbursement widened.

Item 9. Bonar straight. Response received from Tracy Urry, THC Roads Manager, providing results from the speed survey/analysis carried out last summer. KC has been actively pursuing action on this but with no response from anyone, including the MSP and MP. She met the new Roads Manager today and intends further strong discussion. She asked if the CC/community are willing to accept a compromise, e.g. extend the 30mph limit at both ends of the straight with a 50mph limit in between. KC has copies of the appropriate legislation and feels it could be possible to effect a compromise solution. CC welcomed this input but remains firm that there should be a 30mph limit across the entire straight. Speed perception varies from one individual to another and many pedestrians who would use the footpath are discouraged by the speed of the traffic immediately adjacent to the pavement with no barrier in place. In times when Scottish Government is encouraging all aspects of active travel and the use of footpaths to walk between areas, this speed limit ticks all the boxes for approval. Safe use of the footpath would encourage links between the two villages. It is felt that THC is not considering the views of the local population and only looking at traffic statistics. AW pointed out that any compromise now will remain in place for years to come and he urged that the 30mph limit across the complete straight should be the outcome sought. CC and KC will continue to push for the best solution. CM noted that to her knowledge there have been three fatalities on the straight within living memory and any number of accidents. KC/BW Action.

Item 10.  Regular updates:

(1)    Planning issues. (1) Pure Leisure Gledfield. Opportunities regarding the upgrade of local Core Paths passed to Matt Dent at THC.  CC wishes to engage with the developer and the community to establish the best way to consult with the community during Covid restrictions. Concerns expressed regarding the inevitable increase in traffic on the access to the new development on a road which is totally unsuitable at present, especially as it is currently designated as a 60mph limit. THC should be aware of the limitations of the road and the dangers around the entrance. It was suggested that the developer could produce a newsletter which could be displayed on the noticeboard in Drovers’ Square, a central point for all. Further information can be published in the Kyle Chronicle. Further discussions should be held with the developer.

(2)    Climate issues. (1) BW attended a two-day online course, Zero Carbon Britain, organised by the Centre for Alternative Technology, and suggested that others could be encouraged to do this with the CC perhaps helping with course fees through the BnO Fund if required. Joe Perry, THC Climate Change Coordinator has offered to attend a CC meeting. It was proposed to set up a joint meeting with Creich CC, Planet Sutherland, etc to meet Joe Perry and colleagues from THC Climate Change to discuss steps being taken by the Council and what can be done locally. A one-off meeting in April will be suggested to interested parties. BW Action. (2) AP had attended the online Highland Good Food Conversation Conference which covered many exiting projects including schools growing programmes, community greenhouses and composting schemes. A report will be available in a couple of weeks. Further details available from Planet Sutherland.

(3)    Windfarms. (1)  BW and MT have recently attended online meetings with both Sallachy and Strath Rory developers to discuss community benefit. Sallachy is now signed off. The Strath Rory developer wishes to share the benefit amongst the eight Community Councils whose boundaries border the proposed site. BW/MT feel that there is a danger that the spilt suggested spreads the funds so widely that those with the smaller shares will receive such small amounts they will be of little benefit. They will continue to represent the interests of A&DCC at discussions to seek the best solutions possible. (2) Meall Buidhe. It is time for further discussions with Creich CC. (3) Achany extension. Representatives will attend the March meeting with an allocated 20 – 30-minute slot. DW reported that SSE representatives recently gave a presentation to Creich CC.

(4)    Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. (DW) (1) South Bonar proposed development. Funding bids are presently being put together to support the planned motorhome parking area with appropriate facilities. Discussions are ongoing with SEPA regarding the regulations covering development on possible flood areas. At present the proposal meets the 1 in 200 year event condition but SEPA is apparently pushing, throughout Scotland, for a 1 in 1,000 year event. The current plans have been met with great enthusiasm by locals and visitors alike and would provide toilet and chemical waste facilities on the site. The Hub can provide showers and other facilities which would also boost its income. KoSDT would take control of the toilets which will remain in the public accessible section of the park thus ensuring the future of this facility against THC closures. (2) Other projects are currently delivering excellent support to the community via the Food Larder, addressing fuel poverty, and the Keep Active Together sessions happening online. Work continues on the Local Resilience Plan and a funding application has been submitted for a three-month Sutherland-wide hardship support scheme. (3) A new operator will take over at Falls of Shin when it re-opens. Four pitches for motorhomes will be established with a chemical waste facility.  (4) SM and Marcus Munro have been co-opted as new directors to the Board of KoSDT to fill two recent vacancies.

(5)    Highland Council. KC had to leave the meeting ahead of this slot to attend to other duties.

Item 11. Any other competent business. (1) SM asked for an agenda item at next meeting to discuss the poor state of repair of many benches on paths throughout the KoS area. SM/BW Action/Agenda item.

Item 12. Date of future meetings. The next meeting, on Zoom, will be on 8th March 2021 at 7pm.

Item 13. Applications to Beinn Tharsuinn, Beinn nan Oighrean community benefit funds. BTWF. Application by Bonar Bridge Football club was approved with an award of £2,000 towards Clubhouse refurbishment. Application by A&DCC for £500 to top-up the CC Admin Fund was approved. BnO. Application by Ardgay Public Hall for £225, as previously approved, to continue Broadband provision was approved. Phil Tomalin, BTWF Company Secretary, and applicants will be advised.

Meeting closed 9.15pm