Category Archives: Communications and infrastructure

Scottish Water – Tiree’s supply and network, and water saving

At our December 9th 2020 meeting we had a presentation (click here to download the PowerPoint slides used) from Scottish Water, in which a great deal of helpful information was provided about the Tiree water works and pipe network and how it has been performing in terms of leakage rates (actually very well) and how the peak demand in summer compares to the supply capacity (currently coping but without very much to spare – but efficiency savings could address this for some time to come).

Of particular interest to residents may be the following we were sent afterwards:

There was a query regarding how to report a leak. This can be done by calling the contact centre on 0800 0778 778. The number is on the front page of our web-site https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/. A leak can also be reported through the website by accessing https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/your-home/your-water/leakage and clicking on the “report” button and answering some questions.

There was also a query around leaks on (customer, household) supply pipes. I’ve attached a booklet from our web-site that notes that in certain situations we may be able to offer a subsidised leak repair or pipe replacement if certain conditions are met.

Your Guide To Water Pipework

Scottish Water have a new water use calculator and are keen for as many households on Tiree as possible to try it out. It only takes a few minutes but gives great insight into how much water is used within the home throughout the day and an idea of some of the carbon savings you can make through reduced energy related to hot water. The process follows on to provide water efficiency advice and because Tiree is seen as a priority area free water efficiency devices are also available. Scottish Water have committed to provide a report on the findings from the “Get Water Fit” platform in the new year, so the more people we have responding the better the results.

The link to the water use calculator https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/your-home/save-water/how-much-water-do-you-use

While the link https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/your-home/save-water takes you to more general water saving advice. The presenters said that based on Tiree’s water use data, an improvement in water efficiency could free up enough capacity for a further 30 homes on Tiree. Small changes can make a big difference.

A particular example that was discussed and may be of particular note for Tiree are leaky toilet cisterns. The push button type, although supposed to be more efficient in terms of water use, are very prone to build-up of sediment or scale causing the internal seal to leak. This results in a steady trickle of water into the bowl, and so can go unnoticed or be ignored by the user for a long time – however because it is a constant loss of water it can result in a huge increase in water usage by a household.

Given that Tiree’s water is extremely “hard”, we are particularly prone to build-up of limescale in our plumbing, which may make this issue more common – residents are encouraged to check to see if their cisterns have this issue and address it if so – https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+clean+a+push-button+cistern+seal

Recent correspondence re Tiree air service vehicle replacement

On behalf of both the Community Council and the independent Tiree Transport Forum our Convenor recently sent the following letter:

Dear Michael,
Tiree Community Council and Tiree Transport Forum have asked me to write to you.
Both bodies are concerned about the consequences of Loganair’s pivot away from
their SAAB 340 fleet to the ATR 42 as the airline sought to develop scale and a wider
footprint before Covid-19 struck. The ATR is unable to land at Tiree airport.
As you know, pre-pandemic, the Scottish Government’s two Twin Otter DHC6-400s
occasionally struggled to maintain the busy Glasgow, Barra, Tiree and Campeltown
rotations. The availability of the SAABs allowed Loganair to task these planes on an
emergency basis if one of the Twin Otters were taken out of the schedule. This has
not been infrequent on the Tiree run.
Obviously, passenger numbers have been heavily impacted by Covid and you must
have more pressing matters in your in-tray at the moment.
However, adding or replacing plane capacity is an expensive and complex task with a
long lead time. We wondered if the programme to phase out the SAABs has slipped
because of the pandemic, and how Transport Scotland intends to replace the
capacity that the SAAB fleet has given Loganair in the past.

Yours sincerely,
Dr John Holliday, Convenor, Tiree Community Council on behalf of the community
council and the Tiree Transport Forum

 

We have now received the following reply:

Dear John

Thank you for your e-mail of 18 November 2020 about Loganair’s fleet replacement plans. I hope you are keeping well in these difficult times.

My understanding is that, while Loganair’s plan to phase out their Saab 340s and replace them with ATRs has been delayed due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is still their intention to complete their fleet replacement programme. As you note, the Saab 340 is sometimes used on the Tiree-Glasgow service and the ATR cannot be used due to its weight. Two of the assessment criteria as part of the tender process for the PSO contract are relevant here – ‘maintenance and back-up arrangements’ and ‘proposals for non-availability of aircraft’. The ‘maintenance and back-up arrangements’ criteria recognises that the aircraft normally used on the routes will be out of service at various times in order for routine maintenance to be undertaken. This includes each aircraft’s annual heavy maintenance check which takes several weeks. Loganair confirmed as part of their bid that they own a Twin Otter aircraft, in addition to the two they lease from HIAL, that will be used in the delivery of services from Glasgow to Campbeltown, Tiree and Barra.

In relation to ‘proposals for non-availability of aircraft’, Loganair’s bid set out a clear, multi-layered approach offering a high degree of resilience which provided us with assurance that they could continue to provide the services even if the normal aircraft used on them were unavailable. This included use of their own Twin Otter aircraft as well calling on other aircraft in their fleet should that be necessary. At the extreme, the leasing in of further aircraft would be considered.

There is no requirement within our contract for Loganair to use specific aircraft types for the provision of services. This is deliberate so that it gives an airline the maximum flexibility to ensure that services are provided. Loganair is, however, contractually required to provide the services as per the specification. Should they fail to do so then we would take action under the contract to address the situation.

You will be aware that Covid-19 has led to a significant drop in passenger numbers across the air network and including the Glasgow-Tiree service. As a result of this, the number of weekly rotations has been reduced to take account of this lower demand. It is neither economically nor environmentally desirable for an airline to be flying empty planes. We expect, however, that this reduction in frequency will be a short term measure. We expect demand to pick up again next year as the Covid-19 situation is resolved and travel restrictions are lifted. In the longer term, we are committed to the provision of the current specification during this contract period and I look forward to continuing to engage with you and your colleagues on the Community Council and Transport Forum, both in terms of ensuring that services are currently operating as they should in meeting the needs of the community as well as considering further refinements to the specification for the next contract period.

Should you have any further queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely

Michael Bratcher
Aviation Policy
Transport Scotland

 

Royal Mail post to Tiree

Following the matter being raised by a constituent we have been making enquiries into additional (i.e. not the usual weather related) delays to the mail service reaching the island over the last months.
We made enquiries with Loganair, who confirmed the issue to be due to the increase in volume of postal deliveries to the island since the start of COVID-19 restrictions. The increase was such that the maximum carrying capacity allowed for on the regular plane service was being reached quite frequently, and this caused delays to post that then couldn’t be loaded until a following flight. They referred us to the appropriate contact at Royal Mail who determine the service provided.
We have since been in dialogue over the past month or two with Distribution Manager for the area, Paul, who went away and looked into the options possible to address this for Tiree.
We are delighted to have just heard that additional capacity on the flights has now been agreed and put in place which should resolve the capacity issue. Welcome news indeed ahead of the Xmas period!
We are grateful to Royal Mail for their response and commitment to serving all customers in the UK regardless of where we live – and of course to the staff locally and further afield whose efforts all mean that Tiree residents (many of us not making trips to the mainland to shop for less common items because of COVID-19) have access to much of the things we all rely on and/or which provide welcome comfort during trying times.

Scottish Government looking for ideas of how to overcome the challenges of COVID-19

The First Minister announced a website set up by Scottish Government seeking input on a “framework for decision making” in response to COVID-19. Individual members of the public and community groups and organisations can submit ideas.

This includes proposed changes and options about:

  • staying at home
  • visiting other households
  • resuming care and support for those most affected by the current restrictions
  • businesses that have been subject to restrictions or closure
  • allowing pupils to return to school

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon emphasised the need for transparency when she launched the framework and invited the people of Scotland to engage in this conversation to help us take the next steps to navigate to a new normal.

Our first public meeting of the Community Council since this situation began was held on May 6th, and the deadline is on May 11th so there is little time left for TCC to develop a full response to this on behalf of the community – but we are looking at doing what we can. However we’d encourage anyone with thoughts to submit these as an individual:

The site can be found here: https://www.ideas.gov.scot/covid-19-a-framework-for-decision-making

Paid work role to support TCC meetings and communications

TIREE COMMUNITY COUNCIL – ADMINISTRATOR CONTRACT

Applications are invited for a new contractor role as Administrator of Tiree Community Council (TCC). The work includes advertising TCC meetings, booking the hall and opening this up; taking minutes of the public meetings, writing them up and circulating them to councillors; liaising with TCC councillors and helping to maintain the TCC website and Facebook page; and other support that might be necessary to help the smooth running of the council It is expected that this work will involve 8-10 hours a month (subject to negotiation). The post will be self-employed and the rate offered is £15 an hour, paid monthly. TCC public meetings are usually held in the first week of every month, with no public meetings in January, July and August.

To apply, please send a brief account detailing your relevant experience, and how you see yourself in the role. Applications by 1700 24 January 2020 to the Tiree Community Council Secretary, Phyl Meyer: phyl@tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk

An Update From EE

An Update from EE

‘We are in the process of getting the backhaul delivered to the site at Scarinish. As the second site south of Kilmaluaig will link into Scarinish by microwave backhaul, that too cannot go online until the Scarinish site is up and running. Looking at timelines for similar processes at other sites, I would expect we can start turning on the 4G in April, or shortly after’

Cash Machine Survey

When the Royal Bank of Scotland announced revised hours of opening last year, Tiree Community Council were asked by members of the public at that time to request further clarification from RBS. As it was apparent from correspondence with RBS that the decision to introduce shorter opening hours would not be reversed, Tiree Community Council felt that the provision by RBS of 24 hour cash dispensing and balance enquiry by the installation of a ‘hole in the wall’ cash dispenser, or ATM, at RBS Scarinish would provide additional convenience for the public.

Further enquiries to RBS by Tiree Community Council asking that consideration of 24 hour cash dispensing be looked at has not at this time met with success. However, in order to build a suitable business case, the local RBS branch manager has requested that Tiree Community Council provide RBS with some evidence of the numbers that would potentially make use of 24 hour cash dispensing at RBS Scarinish.

To help Tiree Community Council provide some factual evidence to RBS, we would be most grateful if you would take the time to complete a very short and simple survey. We will then pass this additional information to RBS to allow them to make an evidence based decision.
You can answer the survey in the box below, or you can do so at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/M23GZMP

 

Create your own user feedback survey

Charrette Outcomes Public Meeting: Wed 22 March 7.30 @An Talla

Most of you will remember the Island Futures Charrette workshops that took place last year, facilitated by Ironside Farrar Ltd. A variety of public meetings and workshops were carried out and attended by the community who were encouraged to input into the process.
The results from the Charrette were presented to The Trust in the form of a Socio-Economic Baseline Study and a Strategy Report.  In October of 2016, Tiree Trust held a public meeting to present the key information collated from the reports. Unfortunately, this meeting wasn’t well attended and it was felt that we should re arrange the meeting in order to give the community another chance to learn about the key results from the Charrette process and what the ‘next steps’ would be in relation to the recommendations.

The second public meeting will be taking place on Wednesday the 22nd of March at 7:30pm in An Talla and we would urge as many people as possible to come along.

You can find out more at http://www.tireetrust.org.uk/charrette-outcomes-public-meeting/

Adopt a kiosk?

Tiree Community Council is proposing to try to “adopt” the majority of telephone boxes in Tiree.

Why?

  • Very few calls are made from these boxes. BT has already offered some boxes to the Community Heartbeat Trust, to avoid them being removed entirely. The reality is that these boxes will all disappear within the next few years if someone doesn’t take responsibility for them.
  • The boxes are suffering from wear and tear.
  • We know we can turn them into some brilliant things!
  • We don’t want to lose our iconic red phone boxes.

What do we intend to do with them?

  • We will ensure they are painted, fixed and maintained.
  • BT has already offered some boxes to the Community Heartbeat Trust. We are talking with the Community Heartbeat Trust about installing defibrillators in some boxes, as well as 999 emergency phones.
  • We are talking with Tiree Broadband about the possibility of turning them into wifi hotspots, although this will be entirely dependent on network capacity, which is not currently available.

Other proposals include:

  • A history trail. People can travel round the boxes, see parts of the island that they may not otherwise see, and find out about the history of each village or area where a box is located
  • A scavenger hunt for young visitors. They would need to find answers in all the boxes to get a prize.
  • Art exhibitions
  • Book swaps
  • Offering boxes to community groups or businesses to decorate or advertise in, sell from and take ownership of.

Pros

  • A great tourist attraction
  • Defibrillators within communities
  • 999 phones
  • Wifi for visitors, distributed around the island
  • Fun, quirky and guaranteed smiles
  • We get free paint for them, and BT will leave the power on AND pay the bill.
  • The boxes will cost the Community Council £1 each

Cons

The telephones would be removed by BT. It is likely, however, that these boxes will be decommissioned anyway over time.

Fundraising would be required for defibrillators and SOS phones if we wish to go down that route for some of the boxes.

Next steps

The public meeting thought that this was a good thing to explore further. No decisions have yet been made.

However, we have been in touch with BT and applied to be considered. All 10 phone boxes we are interested in now have a notice advising people of a 42 day consultation period. There are details on the poster of how to object.

Heanish was not included as it is regularly used.

Cornaig was originally included, but after an objection we have withdrawn that application.

The 42 consultation period is part of a wider 90 day Council consultation period. Once that is over Rhoda will report back to the public meeting and we can figure what if any next steps will be taken.

Notes:

http://www.communityheartbeat.org.uk/

http://www.coatings.org.uk/adopt-a-telephone-kiosk.aspx

https://business.bt.com/solutions/small-business/communities/adopt-a-kiosk/

 Tiree phone boxes under consideration

  • 01879 220 444 (Mannel)
  • 01879 220 389 (Baile Mhullinn)
  • 01879 220 350 (Heylipol)
  • 01879 220 313 (Kenovay)
  • 01879 220 320 (Silversands)
  • 01879 220 310 (Caolas)
  • 01879 220 441 (Baile Phuil)
  • 01879 220 328 (Crossapol)
  • 01879 220 331 (Scarinish)
  • 01879 220 477 (Middleton)

Reduced Times of Opening, Scarinish Branch

It was recently suggested that we write to the Royal Bank of Scotland in relation to the reduced branch opening hours which will begin later in the summer. It was noted that the letter received by customers mentioned an ATM. We thought it would be a good opportunity to see if one might be installed. There are no promises, but the initial communication has been positive.

Dear Mr Crawford,

Thank you for your recent letter advising RBS customers on Tiree of reduced hours of opening at the above branch. The matter was discussed at last evenings Tiree Community Council meeting, following representations by RBS customers to Tiree Community Council.

In particular, RBS customers are puzzled to learn from your recent letter that, “cash machine availability will remain the same”. As the Scarinish branch does not currently have a cash dispensing machine, there will be no obvious advantage to RBS Scarinish customers. May we suggest that RBS investigates the installation of a cash dispensing machine, which would in fact go a long way toward balancing the additional days that the branch will be closed. This simple act of providing a cash machine would put Tiree on a level playing field with larger, (and not so large), city branches, and all at minimal cost to RBS. I might add that currently, non RBS customers are turned away from the Tiree branch as it is only RBS customers who can receive card based cash.

I do hope that you might seriously consider the above proposal as overcoming some of the obvious reputational damage to your company when visitor numbers on Tiree swell to over 2,500 during the summer months, many of these will of course be existing RBS customers, with an expectation that they can withdraw cash at any time.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should I be able to provide any further information to you.

Best regards,

Ian

Ian Gillies,
Secretary,
Tiree Community Council.

And the response:

Mr Gillies

Many thanks for the email and for taking the time to reply to the letter that I had sent and also for discussing the hours change at your recent Council Meeting. I have also copied Craig Smith from the branch into my response so he is aware of our communications.

Firstly let me apologies for the wording of the letter around the cash line. Upon reading the wording back it could’ve been either removed or worded in a different way as you are quite correct that there is no current ATM facility.

The subject of the cash machine came up on my last visit to the Island and after discussions with the Tiree Music Festival organisers and it is something that we investigated last year. At that point we had decided that the current set up of full time branch hours and a mobile cash machine visiting the festival was discussed and we felt this was the correct way forward. Now with the branch hours changing that may lead us to a different conclusion. I have today went away and requested a business case to be looked at within the company for the feasibility of a ATM machine to be installed in the branch. What I would say though is there wont be a quick answer but I will start the communications within the bank to see what can be done.

I will work with Craig to get all the supporting information including local events and visitor numbers to help the case.

While I cant promise it will be successful I can promise that I will try and get a successful outcome for you and the community.

Thanks

Gary

Gary Crawford | Local Chief Executive Officer