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Scottish authorities go to court over road tenders

SCOTTISH LOCAL authorities are this week seeking a court ruling forcing the Scottish Executive to suspend the procurement of its four regional road maintenance contracts.

The local authorities believe that the tender process is skewed towards private sector bidders. They claim it is geared more to the price than to the quality content of the bids.

Last autumn local authorities and private groups put in bids for five year term maintenance contracts covering each of Scotland's four motorway and trunk road regions.

It is now believed that Amey Highways and Bear Scotland, a consortium comprising Babtie Group and Ennstone Thistle, will be awarded all four contracts between them covering the whole of Scotland.

Clyde Solway Consortium, led by South Lanarkshire Council, which is bidding for the south west contract this week, lodged legal action against the Scottish Executive in the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

It is seeking a judicial review of the tender process, in particular the assessment criteria for trunk road maintenance contracts.

Tayside Council-led Tayside Consortium, which tendered for the north east contract, was this week considering similar action.

Two other council led groups are thought to be doing likewise.

Scottish motorway and trunk road maintenance is currently split between eight regions, of which six are local authority run.

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