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July 2008

John Green (Chair)
Chris Hobson (Vice Chair)
Keith Muir (Treasurer)
Eric Green (Member)
Alex MacManus
Dave Jones
3 members of the public
1. Apologies
Members Wullie Sinclair Irene Hendrie
Highland Councillor David Flear
Dunnet Head Nature Reserve
Prior to the business part of the meeting, Dave Jones from the RSPB gave a talk on the newly established Dunnet Head Nature Reserve. He explained that although they have already carried out some basic maintenance to the site such as tidying up the safety fences and posting warning signs at the cliffs, it is early days and they will be forming a development plan probably by about October. All interested parties are invited to contribute their thoughts on what they would like to see at the Reserve. In answer to questions, it was made clear that whilst the RSPB is naturally most interested in birds, the whole environment is of concern and they will be working to protect all species. There might for example be a specific project on the Great Yellow Bumble Bee (Bombus distinguendus) - please see http://www.snh.org.uk/speciesactionframework/saf-greatyellowbumblebee.asp for more info on this endangered buzzer.
News of the Reserve can be found at the RSPB website: -
The Chair welcomed the designation of the Nature Reserve, recognising that this will help to put the North on the map as a destination for wildlife enthusiasts with all the attendant benefits for local tourism, and thanked Mr Jones for coming along and asked him the keep the CC informed of progress.
2. Minutes of June Meeting proposed Eric Green Seconded Keith Muir duly adopted
3. Matters Arising
·        Roy Kirk – a letter has been sent thanking him for coming to our June meeting and summarising some of the emerging points of agreement. No reply has been received as yet.
·        Community Benefit from Energy from Tidal Power in the Pentland Firth. After some discussion it was agreed that the CC should take the initiative in setting out how the community could best benefit from any exploitation of tidal power.
·        Broch Centre: Alex McManus updated the CC on progress. Funding of £180K has been secured, and it is proposed that Phase 1 of the development – the internal works - should proceed in advance of securing the funding required to complete the external works. It is hoped that work will begin in September. The main partners in the project are HC, Caithness Archaeological Trust, and the National Museum of Scotland; funders are H2007; HC Discretionary Fund; and HIE.
·        Dunnet Beach: The next clean is due on 25th July. No agreement has been made by the operators of Dounreay to help with future funding and it was agreed to press them again to make a commitment. Action: Secretary to write
4.      Transport meeting: this was duly held and attended by John Green and Keith Muir. Sheila Fletcher the Rural Transport officer gave a talk, and an ex-Council member of staff with a particular interest and knowledge of rural transport, agreed to take matters forward and the CC awaits further developments.
5.      Kissing Gate at St John’s. This has been installed, but the Clerk of the Grazings Committee for Mey and Gills – Mr Jimmy Mathieson – had not been formally consulted prior to the installation as the CC Chair thought, following an informal with the grazings committee chair, that permission for the installation had been agreed. Mr Mathieson has now written to inform the CC that the Grazings Committee wants the kissing gate removed. It was agreed that three CC members present should inspect the gate and write back to Mr Mathieson to see whether some agreement can be reached acceptable to all parties. Action: Chair to write.
6.      AOCB
·        SNH Proposed designation of Special Protection Area.
The CC has received a letter from the Area Manager of Scottish Natural Heritage informing the CC that it is proposed to extend the Special Protection Area which currently covers the sea-cliffs important to nesting seabird colonies to include the sea area out to 2km from shore. This would cover almost all of the Inner Pentland Firth between Stroma and the mainland, as well as seas around Dunnet Head, Duncansby Head and the whole of Stroma.
This proposal is open to public consultation and responses are required by 22nd September.
It was resolved to publicise this matter as widely as possible since the designation could have serious impact on economic activity within the CC area, both for fishermen and for any potential development of tidal power.
It was also agreed to invite the Area Manager of SNH to attend in person our next meeting on 10th September to explain the need for the designation and the potential consequences for the local community, prior to the CC submitting a response to the consultation.
Action: Keith Muir to draft Press Release and post info on the website
Action: Secretary to write to SNH to invite them to attend meeting on 10th September
·        Rob Gibson – The Chair noted a letter from Rob Gibson MSP urging all interested parties to take part in the National Conversation about Scotland’s constitutional future
·        Seadrift upgrade to comply with Disability Discrimination Act – CC noted this is scheduled for the HC budget in 2011-12.
·        Data Protection – the CC noted that the Information Commissioner will be sending a representative to meet the association of community councils to explain our responsibilities regarding the handling of personal information.
·        Piers and Harbours – Alex MacManus circulated a list of approved maintenance works to harbours and piers in the area.
·        Horses on the Road warning signs: A member of the public raised the issue of warning signs on the road at East Mey; further discussion identified a need also at Dunnet forest; and also the need for warning of cyclists particularly at the Castletown end of the Dunnet Links which is part of a designated cycling route. Alex McManus agree to look into the possibility of obtaining signs and report back to the CC.
·        Canisbay speed limits: the extension of the 30mph zone agreed last October has not yet been implemented and Alex MacManus agreed to chase this up.
7. Next Meeting: Wednesday 10th September 2008 in Canisbay Hall
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