New Skye and Lochalsh grass cutting contract awarded

A new contract for grass-cutting in Skye and Lochalsh will be awarded this Easter, Portree councillor Drew Millar said this week.

Woking-based firm ISS had their contract suspended late last year amid claims that local cemeteries were left uncut for long periods.

Mr Millar said ISS would be allowed to re-tender for the work but added that the new contract would be a lot “tighter” than the old one.

“Much more will be expected from the self-monitoring process and of course the council will be carrying out their own verification checks,” he said.

Last week Highland Council’s Skye, Ross and Cromarty area committee gave members the opportunity to look back over the year to see how the contractor and in-house operators had performed and discuss the required standards specified in the grounds maintenance agreement.

A report highlighted the fact that from April to December a total of 180 notices were issued for breaches of standards from a total of 41,249 tasks. Sixty per cent of these breaches were rectified.

During the debate members discussed issues including the challenge of ensuring a consistent approach across the whole area, the importance of monitoring work and the processes for doing this. They also put forward suggestions as to how the system for submitting and following up complaints could be better carried out.

It was agreed that councillors would review the required service standards throughout the year at their ward business meetings.