Efforts are being made to reduce the number of vehicles run by Fife Council to plug a £77 million budget black hole, depute leader Lesley Laird has claimed.
The council’s efforts to reduce vehicle costs have been outlined after Fife Liberal Democrat group leader, Councillor Tim Brett, drew attention to the fact that Fife Council has the largest number of vehicles of any local authority in Scotland.
This is despite Fife being the third-largest local authority in Scotland behind Glasgow and Edinburgh.
A recent Liberal Democrat freedom of information request revealed Fife has 1,684 vehicles, 36% more than the next council in Scotland, Highland, with 1,235 and 40% above the Glasgow figure of 1,202.
Mr Brett said: “I appreciate Fife Council is the third-largest local authority in Scotland next to Glasgow and Edinburgh which although they have larger populations do not have anything like the geographical area to cover.
“However, I have written to Dr Bob McLellan, head of transportation, drawing his attention to this.
“I know there have been some recent reductions in the number of vehicles the council uses but I have asked if there is scope for looking further at this.
“Given the severe financial constraints the council faces and the fact the use of vehicles has been raised with me by constituents, I hope a further look into this might result in additional savings being made by the council.”
Ms Laird said: “Managing the council’s fleet vehicles is an area which can deliver big savings for the council.
“Since 2011, there are 312 fewer council vehicles on Fife’s roads.
“In addition we’re continually reviewing our work practices to make further appropriate reductions.
“In the past, the council replaced fleet vehicles every five years but since April 2014 this is now every seven years in our efforts to maximise the vehicle’s life.
“In some cases it’s every nine years, where the vehicles are low mileage and in good condition. It is also difficult to get a like-for-like comparison between one council and another unless you take other factors into consideration.
“For example, direct service delivery arrangements can be different with other councils where some have contracted out all, or part, of their service, which we know is the case in Glasgow.
“It is also important to look at the geographic spread of Fife which requires a service delivery which is a mix of both urban and rural.
“If you only look at the headline numbers it will not give an accurate comparison.
“Continuing to look at our fleet operations is just one of the ways we are working differently to make savings and address the £77 million budget gap.”