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Councillor tells authority 'you can't push a barrow to Tain' after public skips removed from Dornoch depot

By Caroline McMorran

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East Sutherland and Edderton councillor Jim McGillivray is predicting an outcry after it becomes more widely know that Highland Council has removed the public skips at the Meadows depot in Dornoch.

Cllr Jim McGillivray has told council chiefs that Dornoch residents ‘can’t push a barrow to Tain’.
Cllr Jim McGillivray has told council chiefs that Dornoch residents ‘can’t push a barrow to Tain’.

Civic amenity sites were closed to the public at the onset of lockdown and the authority removed the skips at that point on the grounds that the site does not comply with site licensing as well as health and safety regulations and was also not sustainable because of the costs involved in operating it.

Council chiefs are of the opinion that Dornoch residents can use the recycling centre in nearby Tain which is set to reopen shortly. That would mean an 18-mile round trip.

But Cllr McGillivray said lockdown provided the council with a “perfect excuse”. Negotiations over the issue had been taking place and he was under the impression that a limited skip service - possibly Saturday only - would be put in place, but with an aim to set up a official recycling centre on community land at the old abattoir site.

He has since been in communication with the council’s communities and place executive chief officer Carron McDiarmid to point out that the Dornoch IV postcode had the highest population in Sutherland and that residents could not “push a barrow” all the way to Tain.

Cllr McGillvray warned her: “Without a dropping-off point for Dornoch rubbish, people in the main will not go to Tain but will fly-tip at various quiet places - usually forestry tracks, which surround Dornoch. I feel obliged to highlight it in advance before the flood of complaining emails hits my in-box.”

He anticipated there would be a “local furore” when other amenity sites opened and local people began to realise that there was no longer anywhere to go in Dornoch.

In her response Ms Diarmid reminded Cllr McGillivray that the skips were not sustainable and sent a map of the locations of recycling centres and the travel time people have to access them. The map shows the Dornoch area shaded in green which, according to a key provided, means that 93,199 properties are less than 20 minutes travel time from a recycling centre.

Ms Diarmid wrote: “If members were to consider creating any new centres should funding become available, they would no doubt want to look at the need for that across the region. The map shows south Skye, Lochalsh and rural Lochaber as the least well served communities. The Dornoch community is relatively well served compared to them. I fear this would make the case for new Dornoch provision harder.”

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