Highlands & Islands

Highland Council to reduce size of gritter fleet

Twelve gritting lorries are to be axed by Highland Council as part of its efforts to save £55m over four years.

The council currently has a fleet of 115 gritters for use on Scotland's longest local authority-managed road network.

Highland Council said the 12 lorries were older vehicles and the fleet will be upgraded with more modern machines.

The move, which will be phased over two years and helps towards a £600,000 saving, impacts on 12 jobs.

Highland Council said it would seek to redeploy the affected staff, or phase out the posts as the workers retire.

Lochaber councillor Alan Henderson and Caithness councillor Matthew Reiss have criticised the move.

Mr Henderson said the it would lead to the loss of skilled workers. Mr Reiss said gritting "saved lives".

Highland Council said it would retain the capability to treat priority routes and deal with emergencies.

Councillors have been meeting in Inverness to debate a range of cuts.

Ahead of the meeting, the local authority's budget leader Maxine Smith described the scale of savings it must achieve as "immense".

She said the administration had listened to public feedback on proposed cuts and it had sought to protect frontline services and jobs.

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