Join the HCC team!

Our AGM is were we select our committee for the year ahead – the more people involved the greater our impact! Here’s some of the roles we need to fill

Constitutionally Required Positions

Convenor:  Chair meetings of the HCC and co-ordinate the work of the organisation.  Act as the figurehead of the HCC. 

Secretary: To arrange the HCC AGM in compliance with the constitution. To ensure minutes are produced and circulated from the AGM and other meetings. To act as vice-convener. 

Treasurer:  Oversee the finances of HCC including fundraising, payment of invoices, grant applications and ensuring the annual accounts are completed in a timely manner and signed off by an external auditor. 

Other Positions

Membership:  To oversee administration of the HCC membership data, including ensuring personal data is secure and stored in compliance with regulations.  To grow the membership of the HCC. 

Website & Social Media:  To administer and update the HCC website. To administer the HCC social media channels. To edit a HCC newsletter.  

Publicity: Dealing with requests from the media and issuing press releases. 

Ordinary Member: Will normally be part of one of the HCC Campaign Teams.   Our current campaign groups are:

  • Safer Cycling | 20mph streets
  • Connected Cycling | connecting communities and connecting with public transport
  • Inclusive Cycling | removing barriers to cycling
  • Pleasant Cycling | Playstreets

Ordinary Members may be sought to ensure all geographical regions of Highland are represented or increase our diversity.  

The committee is able to co-opt other positions as needed during the year.  

Notice of AGM

Formal notice that this years AGM will take place on Thursday 7th May 2024 at 7pm. All members are welcome to attend.

In accordance with our constitution, which requires 21 days notice, here is formal notice that the 2024 AGM of the Highland Cycle Campaign will takeplace on Thursday 7th May at 7pm at the Spectrum Centre in Inverness. A remote option will be available for those unable to attend in person (please contact us to get the link).

Next Steps for the Avoch – Munlochy Active Travel Link

Reported by Anne Thomas

Anyone who has tried or thought about cycling from Avoch to Munlochy, on the Black Isle, is very aware that it is currently not a pleasant experience with impatient drivers on a straight, narrow 60mph road. 

The A832 between Munlochy and Avoch is a vital link to connect these communities, but it is inhospitable to cyclists and pedestrians. (Map from OpenStreetMap)

Background

Work has been going on for some time to create a safe and attractive route for walking, wheeling and cycling between Avoch and Munlochy. This would offer local residents non-car options for everyday journeys such as for commuting and leisure, as well as improving options for visitors to the Black Isle. It would also connect to the popular link along the old railway line between Avoch and Fortrose, and to Sustrans’ National Cycle Route 1 from Munlochy to Allangrange and onwards to Inverness.

Transition Black Isle (TBI) have led on this project for a number of years, starting with an AECOM feasibility study in 2014. More recently we were supported by funding from walking and cycling charity Sustrans which funded the company Pell Frischman over a couple of years. In June 2023 the project had reached a stage of fairly detailed design following a well supported Community Consultation.

The A832 near Avoch
The A832 near to Avoch

Next Steps

For the next stage The Highland Council agreed to lead on the project going forward, subject to securing the necessary funding from Sustrans, to work with landowners and with TBI to seek a negotiated solution to deliver the route without the originally-planned stretch between Munlochy and Drumderfit, which was a disappointment, but TBI is hoping to return to tackling this stretch in the future. Funding for the design and construction of active travel projects is changing at the moment

In community engagement sessions over the last year for Opportunity Black Isle (the Black Isle Local Place Plan, now in draft form), access to goods, services, and leisure activities came up over and again as a key theme, including public transport, community transport, and walking, wheeling and cycling. There is some concern that those without a car, including the elderly and the young, and those with certain disabilities, are at risk of isolation. Many householders are feeling the pinch and would like to reduce their car use wherever possible. A shift away from the private car, where possible, also fits with Council and Scottish Government targets for carbon reduction to combat climate breakdown: transport is the biggest single source of Scotland’s carbon emissions, and those emissions haven’t fallen for a decade. 

Rural routes are always challenging being longer and with less potential users, but some are at last being built, so we take encouragement from those such as the Peffery Way project which have experienced and overcome similar hurdles to us.  

On the right the line of the old Railway can be seen atop the embankment, on the left is the A832 near Munlochy

Anne Thomas, Transition Black Isle Trustee and Chair of Avoch to Munlochy Working Group anne.katherine.thomas@gmail.com

Highland Council Active Travel contact Lizbeth Collie activetravel@highland.gov.uk

Find out about Transition Black Isle here

Find out more about Opportunity Black Isle here

Beauly – Inverness route – Dunballoch to Brockie’s Corner section

Reported by Ged Church, with photos from Graeme Turner

The creation of a safe cycling/walking route between Inverness and Beauly has been a goal of HCC since its inception in 1996 . Yes that’s 28 years ago now! Since 2000 this project has been supported and taken forward by the local Community Trust now known as Aird Community Trust ( ACT ) The first major section was completed by 2003, i.e. the Inchmore to Easter Moniack path, creating a traffic free link between Inchmore and the Cabrich and Reelig minor roads. The finance for that section was raised by a Community Trust paths group supported by Highland Council. We had to wait until 2016 for the next section – Lovat Bridge to Dunballoch to be completed. This was provided by the Council who obtained specific Active Travel funding from central government.

Shared use path at dunballoch.  There is a bike propped agaist the crossing posts and a sign showing shared use.

Now, at last, the section from Dunballoch to the Kiltarlity road junction ( Brockie’s corner ) has been provided, being completed just before Christmas 2023. In between these successes have been many disappointments. When a roadside path is desired there are three main obstacles to overcome. The first is “ Is it possible or are there infra structure difficulties? “. The second is “ Is there finance available? ” . Thirdly “ Who owns the land and are they willing to enter into an agreement for a path?” This last section was initially held up by landowner difficulties. Then, when these were resolved, the finance was no longer available. However Highland Council took ownership of the project and obtained Central Govt. Active Travel funding to complete the latest section last year. 

Image shows a bike lent against a sign at the entrance to the new shared use path near brockies corner.

Many of you will have noticed that the East end of this section joins the A862 main road. This is unsatisfactory as it requires East bound cyclists to cross the road and cycle for 100m to the Cabrich road junction where they must then turn right onto the quiet Cabrich road. There is a design to allow for a crossing of the Kiltarlity road and a link on the south side to the Cabrich road and thus continue to Inchmore without having to cross the A862, but this part has been held up due to lack of landowner consent. We believe that Highland Council are working hard to resolve this situation. Meanwhile ACT members and local councillors are working to make sure this remains a high priority. We wish them success and thank the local councillors for their support for this much desired community link.

How to report Pavement Parking Problems

Pavement Parking is unsafe, unfair and illegal

From 11 December 2023, pavement parking will be an offence in Scotland?

The The Highland Council will be able to enforce this with Penalty Charge Notices. The Penalty Charge Notice will be £100 or the removal of the vehicle in contravention.

Also included in the ban are parking blocking a dropped kerb, and double parking

Report Problem Parking

Problem parking can be reported to the Highland Council via the parking portal.

You will need to be able to identify the location of the issue on a map in order to complete the form. The is also the option to submit photos of the issue.

You can also contact your local councillors about any issue – and ask them to escalate it on your behalf.

Areas with a high number of complaints will be be visited more frequently by parking enforcement.

Pavement Parking to be an offence from December 2023

Pavement parking on Huntly Street, Inverness

From the 11th December 2023 parking on pavements, blocking dropped kerbs and double parking will become an offence. The Highland Council will issue warning notices advising offenders of the change in regulations until early 2024, when fines of £100 will be issued or the vehicle may be removed.

Not just Pavement Parking…

The regulations also include other parking offences including ;

-a ban on pavement parking

-a ban on double-parking (more than 50cm from the edge of a carriageway)

-a ban on parking at dropped kerbs installed for pedestrian or cycle usage

Reporting Parking Problems

Parking problems including pavement parking, and blocking dropped kerbs can be reported to the HC parking team at parking@highland.gov.uk or tweet @HighlandParking.

News Welcomed

The news has been welcomed by active travel campaigners in Highland.

The Road to 20mph in the Highlands

The Highland Cycle campaign has long been a supporter of 20mph speed limits for built up areas in the Highlands. The Highland Council has recently begun a trial of 20mph areas and HCC will be campaigning for this. We want to see permanent 20mph zones that are supported with traffic calming measures and enforcement. Here we take a look at the road to 20mph.

20mph sign painted onto a road

A Timeline

1991First 20mph zones are introduced in the UK
2005 The Highland Council begins roll out of part-time 20mph zones outside all primary and secondary schools in Highland. 
2009 Inverness city centre 20mph zone introduced, this was extended in 2017
2012Groups representing Highland cyclists (including HCC) call for measures that bring about a cycle culture – including 20mph zones
2015The Highland Cycle Campaign calls for a 20mph speed limit to be introduced in all residential streets in Inverness.
2018The RESTRICTED ROADS (20 MPH SPEED LIMIT) (SCOTLAND) BILL is introduced at the Scottish Parliament by  Green MSP Mark Ruskell. The bill is not passed.
2020The Welsh Government task force on 20mph publishes its report on 20mph on restricted roads – Senedd Cymru votes to support this. Legislation is approved in 2022, with the limits coming into effect in 2023.
2021The ‘Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party Shared Policy Programme’ includes the commitment that all appropriate roads in built up areas will have a safer speed limit of 20mph by 2025.
2022The Highland Councils Economy and Infrastructure committee is presented with the Highland 20mph programme. Highland council agrees to trial the temporary 20mph limits, for which it will receive funding from Transport Scotland.
2023Highland Council starts roll out of 20mph limits (lines and signs) in communities across the Highlands.

The Highland wide 20mph scheme went live on Monday 31 July 2023, the scheme uses one Council wide Temporary Road Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) which lasts for a period of 18 months. Permanent Road Traffic Regulation Orders will then be required to move the appropriate roads to a permanent 20mph speed limit.

What Next?

In 2024 there will be public consultation and a consultation with community councils on the 20mph limits. At the end of 2024 (or early 2025) an evaluation report will go to the full council. By mid 2025 A final decision will be made on which streets should be retained at 20mph or revert back to 30mph. The remaining six months of the trial will be used to implement any permanent changes.

Get Involved

The Highland Cycle Campaign is member led – if you’d like to get involved with the campaign team for 20mph zones or any of our other campaigns, get in touch.

Campaign Goals Updated

On Thursday the 28th September members met to consider our campaign goals, and what the Highland Cycle Campaign should campaign on going forward.

The following text was agreed: 

The Highland Cycle Campaign wants to see a thriving and sustainable region of healthy, happy people where everyone feels able to enjoy the benefits of cycling and make the journeys they choose to by bike.   We will campaign in the Highlands for cycling infrastructure that is safe, inclusive, connected and pleasant. 

We then discussed what campaigns we could initially run to meet each of the 4 goals.  

SafeInclusiveConnectedPleasant
-20mph in built up areas
-Vulnerable road user training for THC drivers
-Removing Barriers on Cycle routes-Linked with Public Transport
-Cycle ways that Connectcommunities
-Playstreets in the Highlands
Possible future campaigns
-Better Signage

Campaigns will be reviewed at the AGM.

Get Involved

If you’d like to be involved in any of these campaigns get in touch.

Playstreets in the Highlands?

by Emily Williams, Cycling Mayor of Inverness

Together with Crown Connects, I have been campaigning to get the Highland Council to set up a process that will allow local communities to hold playstreets – aiming to hold the first trial even in the Crown area of Inverness in September. Playstreets are where residents are granted a temporary road closure to allow their children to play out without having to worry about traffic.

For a wonderful example of what this could look like see this from Edinburgh: 

A wonderful example of what playstreets can look like

Giving Children the Freedom to Play

This used to be a normal part of everyday life (1), but as roads have become busier and cars have become bigger and faster, children have become less able to safely use the road just outside their house for play.  Closing the road for a short time, on a regular basis, gives children back this freedom (2)- encouraging energetic outdoor play in a semi supervised environment, giving them space right outside their front door to learn to ride a bike or play ball or whatever they want.

As well as this it gives a great opportunity for all residents to spend time outside their houses, hopefully growing some community connections (outdoor board games or just a chat over cup of tea with someone down the road you haven’t met before anyone?)

Making Progress

But we need the Highland Council to allow us to do this in a way that is accessible to all community groups. Currently we are trying to negotiate some hurdles to be allowed to implement our own traffic management rather than having to pay to have this done professionally, and to agree a position on what insurance is needed. We’ve been really grateful to have the support of local councillors David Gregg, Ian Brown, Kate Maclean and Michael Cameron. David asked a question in the most recent full council about this (side note, this is a excellent way to get a formal answer to a question from the council), which has committed the officers to investigating what is available in other places (3). We are still optimistic that we will be able to hold our pilot event and then use the learning from our experience to make this available to everyone across the highlands. 

Let us Know What you think!

So, let us know – would you be interested in holding a play street where you live if a simple process was available to you? If you are then let us know, and speak with your local councillors to encourage them to support this proposal. 

Notes

(1) https://playingout.net/why/the-problem/

(2) https://playingout.net/why/10-good-reasons/

(3) https://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/4820/highland_council/attachment/81852

Academy Street Proposals

Artists Impression of Academy Street Plans

The latest Academy Street proposals will be discussed and hopefully approved at the Inverness Area Committee on Monday 28th August 2023.

Background

After a long public consultation, with many feeling the original proposals were not ambitious enough – a proposal which took this feedback into account was approved by the council. However concerns were raised by BID that these plans had not been consulted on. The Highland council presented these plans at a stakeholder breakfast, which we attended on the 20th July. The next stage is for approval at the Inverness Area Committee on the 28th August.

Our Position

HCC are disappointed not to see a protected cycle lane as part of these proposals, but feel that the projected reduction in traffic along with reduced speeds will provide safer and more accessible cycling. We have written to The Highland Council with a letter of support, outlining our position.

More Information

Take Action

If you want to see these proposals go ahead you should:

  • Comment on Common Place
  • email your support to activetravel@highland.gov.uk
  • Contact your local Councillor to let them know you support the improvements
  • Contact councillors on the Inverness Area Committee* to ask them to approve the plans.

What Next?

Academy Street Timeline

The next stages are approval at the Inverness Area Committee of Highland Council and funding approval from Sustrans.

The City of Inverness Area Committee

The city of Inverness Area Committee is made up of 23 members from the wards covering Inverness, Culloden, Ardesier, Loch Ness and Aird. Full papers will be available 3 working days before.

  • Colin Aitken (Ward 19 – Inverness South)
  • Chris Ballance (Ward 12 – Aird and Loch Ness) Deputy Chair
  • Bill Boyd (Ward 13 – Inverness West)
  • Ian Brown (Ward 16 – Inverness Millburn)Chair
  • Glynis Campbell Sinclair (Ward 17 – Culloden and Ardersier)
  • Michael Cameron (Ward 14 – Inverness Central)
  • Alasdair Christie (Ward 15 – Inverness Ness-side)
  • Helen Crawford (Ward 12 – Aird and Loch Ness)
  • David Fraser (Ward 12 – Aird and Loch Ness)
  • Ken Gowans (Ward 19 – Inverness South)
  • Alex Graham (Ward 13 – Inverness West)
  • David Gregg (Ward 16 – Inverness Millburn)
  • Jackie Hendry (Ward 15 – Inverness Ness-side)
  • Emma Knox (Ward 12 – Aird and Loch Ness)
  • Isabelle MacKenzie (Ward 16 – Inverness Millburn)
  • Ryan MacKintosh (Ward 13 – Inverness West)
  • Andrew MacKintosh (Ward 15 – Inverness Ness-side)
  • Kate MacLean (Ward 14 – Inverness Central)
  • Duncan Macpherson (Ward 19)
  • Bet McAllister (Ward 14 – Inverness Central)
  • Morven Reid (Ward 17 Culloden and Ardersier)
  • Trish Robertson (Ward 17 – Culloden and Ardersier)
  • Andrew Sinclair (Ward 19 – Inverness South)