Highland is ready for winter – are you?
The Highland Council is ready for winter and prepared to grit council roads as the council’s winter maintenance programme starts on 14 October.
Trunk roads in Highland are the responsibility of Transport Scotland and their operators Bear Scotland.
The council can confirm it has adequate salt stocks for the region of around 60,000 tonnes for the start of the main winter season and that there are no concerns about future provision of deliveries from the council’s supplier.
The total salt usage for last winter 2016/17 was 37,200 tonnes, which was around 28% (£1.12m) of the overall cost of the service last year.
The winter fleet has been mobilised, serviced and salt spreading equipment checked. The fleet includes 105 gritters, 42 footpath tractors and over 200 staff providing winter maintenance services.
This year (2017/18) the Council is replacing some of its existing winter fleet with 14 new vehicles; the first of which have arrived and remaining are expected to be delivered through November. On completion of this latest order the authority will have renewed 59 vehicles (57%) of the winter heavy fleet over the last four years.
Staff involved in winter services provision at area level are trained in using the Council’s weather forecasting service. The forecasts are used each year to assist local decision-making on daily and longer term winter services actions.
Chair of the Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Allan Henderson said: “We have the supplies and resources in place to provide a winter service this year in the Highlands according to the Council’s policy. Council roads and pavements are gritteds as specified within the council’s agreed winter maintenance policy – details of this are on the council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting.
“The Council will continue to do what it can within its resources and policy however, I would encourage communities to come forward and apply for winter resilience assistance from the Council that will provide them with salt in grit bins or heaps and other equipment to take action in their local areas that are important to them.”
Within its winter roads maintenance budget of £4.98 million for 2017/18, the Council is ready to salt - according to its policy – the 6,744km of roads for which the Council has responsibility.
Area Winter Maintenance Plans are set by Area Committees within Council strategy and budget allocated by the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee. The Ross and Cromarty, and Caithness Winter Maintenance Plans for 2017/18 will be set at the next Area Committee meetings on 31 October and 21 November respectively. Until those dates, the existing 2016/17 Winter Maintenance Plans plans for each area will be in place.