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Highland councillors told to get on their bikes to save money

Riding instead of driving will help to save £50k

Cuts to public services might be swingeing, but they will also keep a few of us fit – at least in the Highlands of Scotland.

Councillors there have been asked to consider cycling and sharing lifts to meetings to save money on expenses. The Highland Council, based in Inverness, needs to shed £50,000 from its members' budget and a raft of measures are being considered.

In addition to getting to meetings under their own steam, councillors may be asked to make greater use of video conferencing and webcasts to reduce the need for travel.

Tea and coffee will also not be offered at meetings lasting less than two hours at the council's HQ in Inverness.

Last week, Highland councillors froze council tax levels for the third year running and set a budget of £607.2m for the financial year 2010-11. Savings of £12.1m will have to be made over those 12 months.

Carolyn Wilson, resources committee chairwoman, told the BBC: "The council has got to make £60m savings over the next three years and members are acutely aware of the part that they have to play in achieving efficiencies.

"I look forward to future proposals coming to the council's resources committee on how we can make more significant savings on travel."

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