Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Friday, 12 March 2010

Winter disruption to be reviewed

Snow in Inverness
The Highlands has been among the regions hardest hit by extreme weather

Highland Council is to review how its services performed during the winter, one of the coldest in 100 years.

Council officials have suggested the level of resources for roads and arrangements for schools should be among areas that should be examined.

How the public can contact the authority over the festive break has also been flagged up.

A report to councillors details how the council's main offices were shut for 11 days during the festive holidays.

The Highlands was among the regions hardest hit by severe winter weather, with travel by road, rail, air and sea disrupted.

Dozens of schools were forced to close because of snow and ice.

Deep snow

Altnaharra near Lairg in Sutherland recorded the UK's coldest temperature of the winter at -22.3C.

Scotland as a whole suffered some of the coldest winter months in almost 100 years, the Met Office confirmed last month.

By combining the temperatures of January and December it showed they were the coldest since 1914 - the year data started being logged.

In a report to next week's TEC services committee, Highland Council officials said winter maintenance, refuse collection and burial services were the areas most challenged by extreme weather.

Snow in Inverness
Deep snow caused problems in emptying wheeled bins

Policy on winter maintenance - which includes the clearing of roads - was last updated in 2003.

Rubbish collections were badly disrupted with refuse lorries unable to turn around in cul-de-sacs and staff having difficulties moving wheeled bins over deep snow.

In Grantown on Spey, some residents launched a campaign on the social networking website Facebook urging people not to pay their council tax in a protest over roads and pavements not being cleared and refuse left uncollected.

All planned burials went ahead during the bad weather because of efforts of the staff involved, according to the report to Thursday's committee.

However, officials went on to report that a number of undertakers were concerned about the availability of the burial administration service over the holiday period.

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