Posts Tagged ‘Minutes’

Minutes 14 September 2020

Monday, October 12th, 2020

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 14th September 2020 on Zoom at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 12/10/2020

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM), Marion Turner, Secretary (MT), Andy Wright (AW), Bill Knott (BK), Buster Crabb, till 8pm (BC)

Apologies: John Denniston, Treasurer (JD), Rob Pope (RP)

Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1 & 2. Welcome & apologies (as above). Chair Betty Wright welcomed everyone to this Zoom meeting booked as a two-hour slot to ensure enough time to work through the agenda.

Item 3. Approval of August minutes. The minutes of the August meeting were approved as a true and accurate record. Proposed: Bill Knott, seconded: Andy Wright.

Item 8. Jubilee trees. This item was moved up the agenda to ensure enough time could be given to the discussion as to whether the CC should submit a complaint to the Ombudsman regarding the handling of the CC complaint to Forestry Land Scotland or raise the concerns about the consultation process with the elected representatives (Highland Councillors, MSPs). The case for each action was strongly made by several members highlighting the failure of FLS to engage with the CC and local residents as well as failing to follow its own procedures, as was the position that the CC had negotiated a satisfactory outcome for the local community. After much debate it was agreed that the Secretary would write to the Ombudsman, giving a simple outline of the issues raised and ask if this is something which he/she would take forward. Further discussion can take place once that opinion has been received. MT Action/agenda item.

Item 9. Regular updates. (1) Planning. Consideration of application 20/02659/FUL Meall Buidhe wind farm. This item was also moved up the agenda owing to time considerations. Lengthy and detailed discussion presented the varied opinions of members regarding the development itself, the pros and cons for the area environmentally and financially and the position of the CC as a Statutory Consultee charged with representing the views of the community. Agreement was reached that, as has been the position in the past, the CC must remain neutral at this stage of the Planning procedures in order to represent the wide-ranging views held strongly in the community. BW/MT Action.

Item 4. Matters arising. (1) Speeding and visibility of signs near Gledfield school. Secretary to request a site meeting with the police. The recent presence of a police speed camera van in two different locations in central Ardgay was noted but nothing near the school or the contentious corner. MT Action. (2) Coire na Cloiche CB funds. An item soliciting community views has been placed in the upcoming edition of the Kyle Chronicle. (3) Update on Bonar straight. To date there have been over seventy emails sent to Highland Council and the police seeking a conclusion to this request by the community to reduce the speed limit on the straight. Attempts have been made to involve various local groups. The Hub gathered approximately one hundred signatures on a petition. No progress has been made and it is felt that the wishes of the community have been ignored. With the proposed development of an organised campervan park at Stonehenge by the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust that organisation should be involved to attempt to seek a satisfactory outcome. BW Action. MT was thanked for her tenacity with her continued efforts on this issue.

Item 5. Chairperson’s report. (BW) Nothing to add.

Item 6. Secretary’s report. (MT) Nothing to add.

Item 7. Treasurer’s report. (JD) JD had compiled the report ahead of the meeting. The 28th August balance at the bank is £44,188.01. This comprises Restricted funds of £43,485.32, CC Admin fund of £562.44, and the Windfarm Admin fund of £140.25. The balances of the Restricted funds are: Beinn nan Oighrean £21,289.61, Coire na Cloiche £19,810.00, Beinn Tharsuinn Community Projects £2,275.83, E.ON Path £73.20, and Toilet caretaking £36.68.  No expenditure noted since 30th July. Income since 30th July: £1,347.00 from CnC. Approved expenditure not yet at bank: £2,000 to KoSDT and £225 to Ardgay Public Hall from BTWF.

Item 9 cont.(2). Climate issues. (BW) This is Climate Week. A list of online events was given. The depressing lack of governments translating talking into action was noted. Discussions with Creich CC and KoSDT regarding future handling of community benefits and the best ways forward to achieve maximum benefit to the wider community. Community benefit payments could continue to be administered by CCs but with options such as community buy-ins being dealt with by the Trust. (3) Windfarms – Meall Buidhe (see above). (4) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. (AW) No update. No meetings in current situation. Congratulations passed to SM for the excellent edition of the Kyle Chronicle just published.

Item 10. Any other competent business. (1) CC received an inquiry from AbilityNet re possibility of offering support in the area – it was suggested they contact KoSDT as they may already be engaged with this support. (original email from 07/09/20). (2) SM raised the subject of when village halls may be reopening for meetings, etc. No knowledge as to what local hall committees are thinking. (3) BK suggested a new invitation to the police to attend CC meetings.

Item 11. Date of future meetings. – AGM. The next meeting will be held on Monday October 12th, following the AGM, no meeting in November then 14th December. 

Item 12. Applications to Beinn Tharsuinn, Beinn nan Oighrean community benefit funds. No applications received.

Meeting closed at 8.30pm

Minutes 10 and 17 August 2020

Monday, September 14th, 2020

Minutes of meetings held on Mondays, 10th & 17th August 2020 on Zoom at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 14/09/2020

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

Apologies: Rob Pope (RP)

Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1 & 2. Welcome & apologies (as above). Both these meetings were scheduled as forty-minute free Zoom meetings. Chair Betty Wright hosted the meetings which covered the agenda drawn up for 10th August.

Item 3. Approval of previous Minutes. The Minutes of the March and July meetings were adopted as a true and accurate record, proposed by Marion Turner, seconded by Bill Knot.

Item 4. Matters arising. (1) Forestry Land Scotland response re tree planting on Jubilee Hill. Much discussion highlighted the lack of consultation by FLS, irrelevant procedures, and failure by landowner to communicate with community. BW will put together a draft proposal about the next step for CCs to comment. BW Action. (2) Bonar straight update. Cllr Currie had been asked to follow up with THC Roads Department. Secretary will contact MP, MSPs, local Highland Councillors. MT Action.

Item 5. Chairperson’s report. (BW) Little to report; moved to next item due to meeting time limit.

Item 6. Secretary’s report. (MT) (1) Dog fouling. Perennial problem. Some local dog waste bins have disappeared/been removed. Use of spray painting to highlight the incidents could be tried again also new warning posters with details of fines for the offence. Secretary will write to the most recent complainers. (2) Street lighting and speed restriction signs at Gledfield. Speeding remains a constant problem. It was suggested that the 20mph restricted stretch should be extended into a ‘20’s plenty’ area. Present lighting arrangement causes dangerous glare hindering clear sight at night. Secretary to express concerns and suggestions to the Police. MT Action.

Item 7. Treasurer’s report. Windfarms. Coire na Cloiche community benefit. Discussion as to how to make best use of this fund to benefit the community. Several options put forward for consideration including involving Foundation Scotland to administer the funds for larger applications, create a resilience fund administered by FS, and setting up allocations to local organisations with physical assets to maintain. This discussion was halted by the cut-off time of the Zoom meeting at 7.50pm.

Item 11. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean fund applications. It was agreed to commence the second meeting by discussing current applications due to time limiting. Application to Beinn Tharsuinn by Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust for funding towards its Kyle -All Lives Matter (KALM) project was approved with an award of £2,000. Application to Beinn nan Oighrean by Ardgay Public Hall for funding for the continuation of Broadband provision was approved with an award at this time of £225 to cover six months when the funding will be extended if necessary. Details of method of payment will be explained to the applicants. MG/MT/JD Action.

Item 7 contd. Discussion resumed with various opinions as how the Coire na Cloiche income should be handled. Nothing finalised. Ideas put forward included talks with Creich CC, consultation with the community, consideration of annual grant payments to various organisations, seek to ensure equitable distribution of the fund. Once again the meeting was timed out.

Meeting closed at 7.40pm.

Minutes 13 July 2020

Monday, August 10th, 2020

Minutes of meeting held on Monday, 13th July 2020 on Zoom at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 10/08/2020

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

Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Chair Betty Wright had called the Zoom meeting, firstly to test the system and establish if the format can work in future if it remains impossible to hold face to face meetings. Also to confirm email decisions reached during the lockdown period, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, since the middle of March.

BW began with thanking everyone for joining the Zoom meeting and proceeded to record the CC’s thanks to the various local businesses and organisations which have been providing excellent support to the community including the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust, the Bradbury Centre, the Kyle Bakery, Bonar Bridge Post Office and Ardgay Stores. The various services provided by these, and volunteers throughout the area, has been invaluable for everyone, most especially the vulnerable and shielding members of the community.

At the outset of lockdown it was agreed to suspend applications to the windfarm community benefit funds unless they directly impacted on dealing with the virus situation and limitations. Any such applications would still be considered but under the auspices of KoSDT which was co-ordinating many of the supporting measures in the community.

It was agreed to pay Mary Goulder a retainer of £49 per month, based on the 80% Government recommendations, until the end of June. This would ensure continuity of contact, correspondence etc.

Financial report. Prior to the meeting Treasurer had forwarded the report which shows no changes since the 29th May.

The balance at the bank is £20.550.48.  This comprises £20,287.82 Restricted funds, £99.91 CC Admin fund, and £162.75 Windfarm admin fund. The balances of the Restricted funs are: BnO:£17,902.11, BTWF Community Projects: £2,275.83, EON Path: £73.20, and Toilet Caretaking: £36.68. Paid out since 6th April: £97.20 to Travis Perkins for the EON Path fund, BnO grants (approved at February meeting): £60 to Planet Sutherland, £250 to KoS Rainbow, Brownie and Guides (both approved in February) and £90 to Mary Goulder, Minutes Secretary retainer (agreed by email motion).

Ardgay Toilets. The CC rejected the proposal by THC to take on the asset responsibilities resulting in THC taking back the facility management. SM confirmed that the keys were returned to THC. She was advised that the CC should take all unused consumables as the CC had paid for them. These will now be donated to the Community Larder in The Barn at the Trust offices.

Jubilee Hill planting. BK had not seen the response from Scottish Forestry which provided an update on the plans for the area. MT will circulate this, and BK agreed to discuss the matter further once the response has been considered by the local residents. MT Action.

BTWF/BnO applications. It was agreed that applications to the funds will be reopened. BW Action.

Increase in visitor numbers. Local concern has been noted about increasing numbers of visitors to the area although it is understood that many businesses rely on tourism for income. It is hoped that a balance will be established, and that people will continue to observe all safety measures. The leaflet produced and circulated by the Sutherland Community Partnership on advice to tourists is recommended to all holiday accommodation providers and copies should be placed in local shops/outlets.

Next meeting. As it remains unclear when it will be possible to hold a regular meeting it is proposed that the next meeting will also be held on Zoom, open to CC members only, scheduled for Monday 10th August at 7pm. Using the usual channels of communication with the community, Chair will publicise this, asking that people submit any questions/raise any issues beforehand so that they can be discussed by the CC at that time.

Meeting closed 7.45pm.

Minutes 09 March 2020

Monday, August 10th, 2020

Minutes of meeting held on Monday, 9th March 2020 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 10/08/2020

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Marion Turner, Secretary (MT), John Denniston, Treasurer (JD), Rob Pope (RP), Andy Wright (AW), Bill Knott (BK), Buster Crabb (BC)

Apologies: Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM)

Also present: Highland Councillor Kirstin Currie (KC), Anna Patfield, Planet Sutherland, Teresa Hewlett, Stuart Hewlett

Police Scotland: Report received by email                                                                    Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1/2. Welcome/Apologies. Apologies as above. Chair opened the meeting and welcomed new faces.

Item 3. Minutes of last meeting. The minutes of the February meeting were approved by Marion Turner, seconded by Bill Knott.

Item 4. Matters arising. (1) Tree planting on Jubilee Hill. No further update available. (2) Date of postponed presentation by Brookfield Renewables. Currently rescheduled to 11th May; this will also be the AGM. (3) Update on Ardgay-Bonar straight. Background given for the benefit of new residents. Cllr Currie querying a misleading email received from Joanna Sutherland, THC Head of Roads, which gave an inaccurate report regarding THC current position. She considered the report unacceptable and will compile a letter to submit on behalf of both A&DCC and Creich once she has discussed it with both CCs. It is essential that the speed limit is reduced; the community and both CCs have been asking for this for well over two years with no action taken by THC. The request is backed by the local MP, MSP and Highland Councillors. The arguments in favour have been laid out many times. KC will keep CC updated if any response/action forthcoming from THC. (4) Response from THC re Ardgay toilets. The proposals received are a change from the usual arrangements and are unacceptable in their present form. The suggestion of an asset transfer to the CC is out of the question as the CC is advised not to hold any assets. Such changes should have been discussed fully at the end of the last season. No-one will sign the new agreement but would agree to opening the facility as per last year on 1st April. Talks could then be undertaken to seek possible solutions. (5) Recycling centres vehicle access. Changes to charging arrangements see no pick-ups or large trailers allowed unless authorised and paying new fees. £500 charged if THC employee at the site reports unauthorised vehicles. This is a rural area where many people use trailers of varying sizes. Inability to utilise the skips will undoubtedly lead to an increase in fly-tipping. (6) Strathy Ward, Migdale Hospital. The ward is open with six beds. It is understood that NHS Highland is still seeking more nursing staff.

Item 5. Police report. There have been seven incidents in the wider Ardgay area in the last month consisting of the following:1 x abandoned  999, 1 x theft,1 x scam caller,1 x fire,1 x intruder,1 x planned shoot, 1 x weather warning.

Item 6. Chairperson’s report. (BW) Nothing to add.

Item 7. Secretary’s report. (MT) (1) All relevant correspondence has been circulated. (2) CC insurance. Invoice received from Zurich Insurance; policy renewal due on 1st April. (3) Lubcroy Forestry Consultation. No comment required. (4) THC Car parking charges consultation. Eventually received documentation. Current deadline 13th March. When Traffic Order is produced CC will submit objections.

Item 8. Treasurer’s report. (JD) (1) The 28th February balance at the bank is £ 21,226.98 comprising restricted funds of £20,695.02, CC admin fund £244.66 and the windfarm admin fund £287.30. The balances of the restricted funds are Beinn nan Oighrean fund £18,212.11, Beinn Tharsuinn Community Projects, £2,275.83, E.ON Path £170.40 and Toilet Caretaking £36.68. Outgoing cheques sent but not yet on the bank statement were for Hall hire and the agreed grant from BnO to the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides group.

Item 9. Correspondence/matters raised by local residents. Oakwood Path. Stones have been delivered; the invoice will be passed to the Treasurer when it arrives.

Item10. Regular updates: (1) Planning issues. One relevant for a met mast at site of proposed Braelangwell windfarm – no issues raised. Mention made of recent THC approval for three large houses to be built in random corners of big fields, not near to transport, services, etc. Concern that THC is approving such applications, possibly against local Councillors recommendations, which will see heavy carbon use due to their situation. Planet Sutherland would encourage that all new housing should be carbon neutral or Passivhaus standards. Scottish Government should implement a transition plan as standards move towards sustainable/renewable energy sources.

(2) Climate issues. (AP)Planet Sutherland workshops arranged for the Greening Your Business scheme. A proposal has been submitted to Interface with a view to seeking solutions to the farm plastic waste issues. Talks ongoing regarding growing schemes locally. (3) Windfarms. (a) Lairg 2. Full planning application by Energiekontor has been submitted. Government is reinstating the subsidy to onshore developments. No comment required from CC on Lairg 2. Discussion once again raised the issue of the higher cost of electricity in the Highland while the areas suffer the worst fuel poverty in the UK. Calls made that cheaper energy provision should be a Planning condition. (b) Braelangwell. Met mast erection, no comment. (c) Sallachy. Public meeting planned for 23rd April in Ardgay Hall. KOSDT Manager hopes to attend. (d) Meall Buidhe. Change of access application noted. No impact in Ardgay. (e) Glencassley. Meeting scheduled 16th March to discuss community benefit.

(4) KOSDT report. (AW) Five page report received. AW will summarise and circulate to CCs. AW Action.

Item 11. Highland Council. Nothing to add to items covered during the meeting.

Item 12. Any other business. Carbisdale Castle workday planned for 5th April at 10am.

Item 13. Dates for future meetings. The next meeting will be held on May 11th. This will also be the AGM. All meetings will be held in the Ardgay Public Hall starting at 7pm. It was noted that the dates on the CC website are incorrect and will be amended. MT Action. Dates of meetings later in the year will be set at the AGM.

Item 14. Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit award. Application by Planet Sutherland for £60 towards running Carbon Café and Film & Discussion events was approved. AP and the group were commended for their work and progress since start up.  Applicants will be advised. MG/JD Action.

Meeting closed 8.40pm.

Minutes 10th February 2020

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Minutes of meeting held on Monday, 10th February 2020 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 09/03/2020

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

Apologies: Highland Councillor Kirsteen Currie (KC), Brookfield Renewables

Also present: Anna Patfield, Planet Sutherland

Police Scotland: Report received by email                                                                    Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1/2/3. Welcome/Apologies. As above – due to weather conditions. Presentation. Brookfield Renewables will be advised of the dates of the next two meetings to rearrange attendance. Chair Betty Wright opened the first meeting of the year and since the tragic accident on the Ardgay straight. A short period of silence was observed in memory of Rhona MacFarlane. The thoughts and condolences of the CC for the extended family were recorded. BK expressed thanks from the family for the unbelievable support from the community, which continues even now.

Item 4. Minutes of last meeting. The minutes of the December meeting were approved by Rob Pope seconded by Marion Turner.

Item 5. Matters arising. (1) Tree planting on Jubilee Hill. Amanda Ophof of Scottish Forestry has been in touch with MT. Although she had nothing to send yet to the CC, she confirmed that Forestry Scotland has met the Estate factor and understands that a regeneration scheme is planned, not a planting one, with fencing along the back of the site. Amanda Ophof hopes to have an update for the next CC meeting. BK has a copy of the Nick Richards’ map and if the new plans are in keeping with that then it is likely things could move forward. CC agreed that it is important that new plans are presented to the community promptly, especially with regard to previously agreed boundaries. (2) Strathy Ward, Migdale Hospital. It is understood that the ward has reopened although no-one has heard more regarding staffing issues.

Item 6. (1) Discussion regarding the campaign to reduce the speed limit on the Ardgay straight. CC has been attempting to progress this with THC but with little or no response over the last six months. A speed survey was promised but no-one aware if it took place or if there were any results if so. There are many factors indicating that the current derestricted stretch is dangerous with concerns raised by The Hub and many local residents. BK stressed that the police investigation into the recent accident is ongoing, but that speed has not been mentioned as a major factor. He requested on behalf of the bereaved family that their names are not used as leverage in any campaign. Chair will contact Cllr Currie and Joanna Sutherland, Head of THC Roads, again outlining the many dangers seeking urgent responses and requesting a meeting on site. The Police, local Councillors, Gail Ross, MSP and Jamie Stone, MP will be copied into correspondence. BW Action.

Item 7. Police report. MT will enquire if there is any follow up information regarding points raised at the December meeting. Report included two lost dogs, two disturbances, one fatal RTC, one suspect person, one abandoned vehicle and one other RTC.  Once again speeding issues, especially pick-ups on the approach to the school with obstruction problems being caused by roadside parking. MT Action. (2) Dog fouling on the roadside route from Ardgay to Gledfield Primary School. Recently 89 incidents of fouling were counted along this route which is used by children as a route to school. Signs will be considered as reminders of the offence and fine. THC Dog Warden will be advised. SM will ask the Head Teacher if the children might choose to submit a short article on the subject for the Kyle Chronicle. Pink paint will be used to highlight areas where dog fouling is evident. SM/BW Action.

Item 8. Chairperson’s report. (BW) (1) Arrangements for CC items for Kyle Chronicle. SM advised that CC should submit a piece covering matters of interest from CC meetings since the previous edition. The Chronicle is not a replacement for the Newsletter, but extra space may be made available when there are matters of specific importance. Copy date for next issue is 21st February. BW Action. (2) CC representation. RP and SM will continue as the CC reps to the SSE Achany and Rosehall Windfarm Panel with David Hannah and Catriona Hill the current community representatives. RP continues as rep to the BTWF board and AW the rep on the KoSDT board. He will advise the CC when the Trust AGM date is agreed. AW Action. (3) Xmas lights have now been taken down and stored. Around half of the lights need to be replaced at an expected cost of around £300-£500. As in Bonar Bridge and Lairg a Christmas Lights group should be established. It could seek funding for improvements, upkeep and storage as well as organising the erection and removal of the lights each year. (4) The electronic display boards at Ardgay station are not always functioning. ScotRail has a messenger alert on Facebook where regular users can sign up via ScotRail website to receive messages if their train is delayed. Possible item for Kyle Chronicle. BW/SM Action.

Item 9. Secretary’s report. (MT) (1) All relevant correspondence has been circulated. (2) Report from Gala Week indicated there was £25 unused from their recent grant award. It was agreed that the group should retain the sum and use towards the next project. (3) THC has announced a consultation period regarding the possible introduction of car parking charges though no communication has been received by the CC. KC to be asked when the CC will be consulted. The CC does not meet again till 9th March and is unlikely to have enough time to discuss the issue. MT Action. It was suggested that the cost analysis report for the proposal should be circulated to CCs for evaluation. (4) Ardgay toilets. CC agreed to lobby HCs and the Ward Manager regarding the continuation of the comfort scheme. The facility, although in desperate need of refurbishment, is well used and appreciated by the public, evidenced by the donations received towards supplies and maintenance.  The CC encourages THC to continue the arrangements which have worked well in the past. MT Action. BK enquired about the possibility of community ownership of the toilets, perhaps with a much-upgraded facility. AW agreed to raise ideas at the next meeting of KoSDT. AW Action.

Item 10. Treasurer’s report. (JD) (1) The 20th January balance at the bank is £ 21,464.93 of which £ 20,829.22 are restricted funds. The CC Admin fund has a balance of £348.41 The Windfarm Admin fund has a balance of £287.30.

The CC Admin fund was granted £330 top-up from the Ward Discretionary Fund. The Toilet Fund finished the season with a balance of £36.68. The balances of the restricted funds are: Toilet Caretaking £36.68; BTWF Community Projects  £2,410.03; BNO £ 18,212.11; EON Path  £170.40.  (2) Scottish Ambulance advised that spare pads were required for the defibrillator following a recent incident. Treasurer has paid the cost of £154.20 charged. (3) Core Paths Officer Matt Dent has requested more stones for the Oakwood path. Agreed that funds can be taken from the E.ON Path Fund. BW Action. (4) Invoices for secretarial services will be submitted to the Treasurer, copied to secretary@ardgayanddistrictcommunitycouncil.org.uk after which the Treasurer will arrange BACS transfers for payment.

Item 11. Correspondence/matters raised by local residents. Covered throughout meeting.

Item12. Regular updates: (1) Planning issues. RP recorded thanks from Culrain Hall committee for the CCs assistance with a recent planning application which resulted in a substantial saving for the committee.

(2) Climate issues. (AP) Happy that Planet Sutherland will have a regular slot on the standing CC agenda. She thanked the CC for funding for the apple tree planting project which has completed with all trees allocated and planted, giving rise to an excellent social event which also helped to raise the profile of Planet Sutherland. The group is now considering several ideas for its next phase of action. A newsletter has been published; a small sub-committee will be formed to review progress so far and consider future stages. Planet Sutherland is working with KoSDT and Lairg Learning Centre to promote an area meeting, a business survey is in progress, work towards changing of land use across Scotland is ongoing. RP proposed the setting up of moss benches where tree planting is not possible. AP agreed to provide regular updates to the CC. AP was asked to consider taking Associate Member of the CC status and will consider it once the group has become formally constituted. (3) Broadband. Highland Wireless, pressing forward in its efforts to bring the service to Strathcarron, hopes to have transmission stations established with the next few weeks. (4) Windfarms. Update from WKN Sallachy in December indicated a possible public exhibition in near future. The development opens opportunities for a community buy-in as well as community benefit payments.  (5) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. AW advised that work is being carried out on the website upgrade.

Item 13. Highland Council. (1) KC had offered to be available on Skype during the meeting, but this was not felt appropriate by the CC. (2) Restriction of vehicles at recycling centres. While appreciating that the system is open to abuse by businesses, many rural residents make use of larger trailers and should not be discriminated against. There are only three transfer stations in Sutherland making this impractical for use by locals. Charges/being turned away from the local skips will inevitably lead to an increase in fly-tipping, causing extra expense to THC to remove, as well as degrading the countryside. Chair will write to THC Waste Management. BW Action. (2) Pollution on Academy Street, Inverness. The fourth most polluted street in Scotland according to a study by Friends f the Earth Scotland. THC is considering introducing more electric buses. (3) Update on plans for dealing with Climate Emergency. Old, outdated information on the Climate Change website.

Item 14. Any other business. Following on from item at December meeting, BK enquired if Community Councillors or other local residents could comment individually on planning applications – for example if the CC was to remain neutral on an application for windfarm development, would individuals still have the right to submit their own comments, either in support or opposition. BW stated that individuals are free to express their own opinions to the planning authority. Individuals within the CC must always make clear when stating their personal views that these are not the opinion of the CC. The situation regarding the Forestry application would appear to be different as individuals were not invited to submit their views. Instead the only formal route to objection was via the CC and subsequently via THC Forestry Officer.

Item 15. Dates for future meetings. The next meeting will be held on 9th March, with the AGM held on May 11th. All meetings will be held in the Ardgay Public Hall starting at 7pm. It was noted that the dates on the CC website are incorrect and will be amended. MT Action. Dates of meetings later in the year will be set at the AGM.

Item 16. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards. Beinn Tharsuinn. Application by Gearrchoille Community Woodland was approved with an award of £900 towards running cost. Beinn nan Oighrean. Application by Kyle of Sutherland Rainbow, Brownie and Guides for £250 towards new flags and flagpoles was approved. Applicants and Phil Tomalin, Company Secretary, BTWF will be advised.

Meeting closed 9.35pm.