NGS loses case against Transport Scotland

Nationwide Gritting Services (NGS) has lost its case against Transport Scotland. The company attempted to sue the transport authority for almost £1 million over claims it failed to properly tender for salt supplies.

But Lord Woolman found in favour of Scottish Ministers in a judgement that was published on Friday (17 October 2014).

NGS, a Southampton based supplier, claimed that TS failed to follow the correct purchasing procedure for de-icing salt during the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11. It also claimed that TS failed to publish tenders or contract award notices for several salt purchases during both periods in the Office Journal Of The European Union (OJEU).

Transport Scotland purchased de-icing salt in January 2010 and again between August 2010 and February 2011. The salt was obtained from several suppliers, including Ineos Enterprises Limited.

NGS argued that TS failed to publish either a contract notice or a contract award notice. It also argued that the weather conditions were foreseeable. Accordingly it claimed Transport Scotland should have arranged to procure salt supplies at an earlier date. If a contract notice had been published, NGS stated that it would have lodged a tender at prices lower than those of the actual supplier.

However, Transport Scotland maintained that it was entitled to enter into contracts for the supply of the salt without a competitive tendering procedure because of the extreme urgency of the situation.

In response to the judgement, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We welcome today’s opinion which found that the case against the Scottish government had no merit.

“In the face of extremely severe winter weather the Scottish government acted properly to keep the economy going and to protect public safety. Securing additional salt supplies helped to keep the majority of our roads open and to keep people on the move in exceptional circumstances.

“Following the two severe winters Transport Scotland and its partners have made significant improvements to the winter service. Additional gritters, greater use of technology and getting information to people when they need it most are just a few of the ways winter treatments, decision making processes and communications have been strengthened.”

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