THE unseasonably good weather of late has not put Highland Council off the prospect of a harsh winter, and are asking people: ‘Are you ready for winter?’
The local authority has a winter roads maintenance budget of £5.22 million for 2015/16.
It has the responsibility to salt a staggering 6,744km of roads under its control.
Highland Council’s road salt stocks are currently at 55,000 tonnes.
This equates to more than 14 days of extreme conditions or 53 days restricted use.
Another 5,000 tonnes of salt are on order and due for delivery by 1 November.
Arrangements are in place to re-stock during the winter if the rate of use is high. The council claims suppliers have adequate reserves for this to happen and no shortage is anticipated. The council has 105 gritters and 48 footpath tractors and one snow cutter with 215 staff providing winter maintenance services.
This includes an investment of £2.2m this year on 25 new vehicles for the coming winter. Roads are gritted according to policy and priority.
Primary routes are gritted Mondays to Saturdays 6am to 9pm and on Sundays and public holidays from 7am to 9pm.
Secondary routes will follow the completion of primary routes and are gritted Mondays to Saturdays from 6am to 6pm within available resources.
‘Other’ routes are treated as resources permit. In extreme conditions all efforts will be made to keep primary routes clear. Grit and salt bins on council roads have a telephone number displayed on them to allow the public to request a refill.
Councillor Allan Henderson, chair of the Community Services Committee, said: “It’s been a mild autumn so far and frosty days seem a far off prospect but we all know that conditions can change in the Highlands rapidly.
“We want people to think ahead and be prepared for a change in the temperature and all types of severe weather. Are you ready at home and while travelling for potential hard frosts and snow and do you know how to find out if your school is closed?”
The authority’ss Winter Maintenance Policy and existing local area gritting maps are on the council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting. The Highland Council is supporting the Scottish Government’s Ready Scotland campaign at www.readyscotland.org and urges people in the Highlands to take some time to get ready for winter and all kinds of severe weather.