23 November 2001

Caithness Community Web Site     WINTER MAINTENANCE CONCERNS News Index
The Scottish Executive may have saved 75 million on the retendering of the trunk road maintenance contract for the Highlands, but there are serious question marks that the contract provides the public with a safe winter maintenance service.

The Highland Council Convener David Green believes that some of the savings should be ploughed back into the contract to enable the new contractor,  BEAR Scotland, to provide a satisfactory level of service.

He said: "I note the Auditor Generals finding on the tendering process for the trunk road contracts. However, I believe the issue now is to ensure the satisfactory delivery of trunk road maintenance services to the Highlands.  Despite the assertions of both BEAR and the Scottish Executive that the performance was satisfactory in last week's first spell of wintry weather, all the evidence from the travelling public, local staff, doctors, nurses and teachers is that this is not the case.

"We must be concerned that by taking 75 million out of an untested contract for other purposes, the Executive may be storing up problems for delivering a safe winter maintenance service to the Highland public. We need assurances that if the level of winter maintenance contracted for proves to be unsatisfactory, then the Executive will ensure that changes are made to the contracted levels
to deliver a satisfactory level of service."