UNCERTAINTY still surrounds the future of Bury’s ranger service despite calls from rival politicians not to make it a casualty of cuts.

A Conservative motion to retain the service was effectively trumped by an amendment from the ruling Labour group which gave no guarantee that the eight rangers would be reprieved.

At last week’s full council meeting Cllr James Daly moved that the ranger service should be retained as “a central part of the council’s continuing effort to make a difference to the lifestyles and quality of life of people across the borough’s various communities. This will also support efforts by the council to improve the health and wellbeing of all the people within the borough.”

The Conservative group urged retaining the service “as the best way the council can act as an enabler to encourage local communities to have ownership and commitment to their local parks and green spaces.” They argued that funding could be found from current council reserves and more than £4 million balances.

Cllr Daly said: “What a record of service these eight people have given to this borough. Please give them a chance.”

Labour’s Cllr Jane Lewis said: “We would love to retain this service as it is. Sadly, these cuts have led us to where we are.”

The successful amendment read: “This council notes the substantial work and achievements of the Bury Ranger Service and regrets the unfair cuts imposed on the council’s budget and the threat to jobs and public services, putting vulnerable and disadvantaged people at risk.

“This council is confident that those undertaking the consultation, including that on the ranger service, will do so openly, transparently and fairly, taking into account all the representations made in the light of the unprecedented cuts to the budget.”