Transport Scotland is being sued for almost £1 million by Nationwide Gritting Services (NGS) over claims the transport authority failed to properly tender for salt supplies.
NGS, a Southampton based supplier, claim that TS failed to follow the correct purchasing procedure for de-icing salt during the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11. It also claims 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 attempted to have the case thrown out under technical grounds but the Court of Session in Edinburgh threw out the move.
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 argues that TS failed to publish either a contract notice or a contract award notice. It argues that the weather conditions were foreseeable. Accordingly Transport Scotland should have arranged to procure salt supplies at an earlier date. If a contract notice had been published, NGS states that it would have lodged a tender at prices lower than those of the actual supplier.
However, Transport Scotland maintains 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.
During the preliminary hearing, lawyers for TS claimed that the action should have been brought within three months of NGS realising the injury had been suffered.
The claim is being allowed to continue after NGS successfully argued that it had not had sufficient information to bring its case any earlier.