Moray to hit the road and join a northern alliance of councils

A JOINT COUNCILS COMMITTEE has been formed in the north east and Highlands that seeks to promote closer cooperation between local authorities for road improvement works.

Moray Council has joined with their counterparts in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Highland, Argyll and Bute, Angus and the Western Isles to form the norther roads collaboration joint committee.

The new group will meet at least quarterly and is not intended to replace existing council committees with a responsibility for roads and transport. The new committee is just one of several being proposed as a means of councils throughout the north pooling their resources in the face of mounting financial pressures.

Peter Argyle is the deputy leader of Aberdeenshire Council: “Increasingly local authorities will need to work together on a range of services – and roads is clearly one that offers a lot of scope for cross-boundary working and even sharing of equipment.

“It is about sharing ways of working rather than budgets – there is a lot to be worked out.”

An area that councils will see as viable for such cooperation would be winter treatment of roads, being able to pool their fleets of gritters to deal with the most pressing weather emergencies would provide some clear operational as well as financial advantages.

Aberdeenshire Council is expected to take the lead in the first year of the project, with annual reports on the activities of the committee being fed back to local authorities.

Last year Highland, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire merged their procurement departments – a plan that they believe could ultimately save all three councils millions of pounds, with their combined purchasing power reported to be capable of making savings of around £22million over five years.