Highland Council's under threat Countryside Ranger and Access Team has been removed from the cuts hit list.

There was widespread concern when the local authority said it was considering axing the popular service. Now though Councillor Leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson has confirmed that it will be retained in the council’s budget proposals for 2017/18.

She says the Council has listened to representations from members of the public and organisations about the authority’s Countryside Ranger Service and Access Team.

Over 60 representations from individuals were received about the Rangers and Access Team along with comments from organisations such as the Scottish Countryside Rangers Association, Scottish Wildlife Trust, John Muir Trust, RSPB Scotland and Scottish Youth Hostel Association.

Cllr Davidson said: “As part of the council’s budget’s proposals for consideration on 16 February we have revised the Rangers and Access Team savings and are seeking to retain both services with minor reductions and restructuring.

“Importantly, we understand the value that is placed on countryside services and the high regard with which they are held within the community. The council’s proposals will only have a limited impact on the future of the service.

“I would like to thank all of the public who commented, for their response on the matter. They obviously highly regard the service and we have listened.”

Highland Council will set its 2017/18 budget at a meeting of the Council on Thursday 16 February 2017. The budget meeting agenda is on the council’s website at: http://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/3814/highland_council