The Highland Council’s Community Services Committee has confirmed that the local authority if ready for winter with respect to its gritting service of council roads.
Members have been assured that the council has adequate salt stocks for the region which were replenished in September and October; that the authority will have around 60,000 tonnes in stock 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 2015/16 was 50,300 tonnes, which was around 30% (£1.27m) 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, 45 footpath tractors and 1 snow cutter with over 200 staff providing winter maintenance services.
This year (2016/17) the Service is replacing some of its existing winter fleet with 20 new vehicles; the first of which have arrived and remaining are expected to be delivered by December. On completion of this latest order the Council will have renewed 45 vehicles (45%) for the winter heavy fleet over the last two years.
Community Services staff involved in winter services provision at area level have received refresher training on 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 Community Services Committee, Cllr Allan Henderson said: “We have the supplies and resources and are already providing a winter service this year in the Highlands according to the Council’s policy.
“Community Services grit council roads and pavements 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.”
Vice Chair Cllr Richard Greene added: “I am assured that until we have received delivery of all our new winter vehicles, Community Services are retaining existing vehicles to ensure that the service is provided.
“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 £5.22 million for 2016/17, the Council is ready to salt - according to its policy – the 6,744km of roads for which the Council has responsibility.
Trunk roads in Highland are the responsibility of Transport Scotland and their operators Bear Scotland.