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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Cumbria council awards emergency mowing contract

Accelerated grass growth across Cumbria this spring has forced council chiefs to use emergency powers to award a roadside maintenance contract.

Cumbria County Council bosses issued the mowing mandates – with a combined value of £404,000 – to two firms last month.

The authority had to invoke an urgency provisions procedure to allow the contractors to begin work before formal permission from members of the cabinet committee had been secured.

The move went ahead despite a pledge to bring the cutting of verges in-house to save £100,000 this year.

But a council spokesman said the planned savings would still be achieved with external contractors carrying out part of the work.

He said: “In February the county council agreed a budget which decided to implement a number of the savings propositions put forward in the council’s budget consultation.

“It emerged that a more effective way of delivering the savings would be to have a combination of in-house and external delivery.”

The contracts will run until March 31 next year.

Delaying the decision until the next available cabinet meeting could have affected the ability of the council to deliver the service, a report on the matter to elected councillors stated.

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