Councils ‘ill prepared’ as snow hampers commuters

The gridlocked A1 at Tranent. Picture: Comp
The gridlocked A1 at Tranent. Picture: Comp
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COUNCILS in Lothian were today accused of being ill-prepared after several inches of snow left motorists and pedestrians struggling to get to work and school.

Drivers faced white-out conditions and found even main roads difficult to negotiate.

A worker sweeps snow off the pavement in Castle Street. Picture: Julie Bull

A worker sweeps snow off the pavement in Castle Street. Picture: Julie Bull

Councils insisted gritters had been working round the clock to clear the snow. But dozens of people took to social networking sites to voice their frustration. Wendy Paterson demanded via Twitter: “Where are the gritters in Edinburgh this morning?”

Helen McCombs tweeted: “@Edinburgh_CC You grit the roads when temp didn’t drop below 2 degrees..but this morning!! Not like the snow wasn’t forecast.”

And @liveontheedge1 asked: “So what is #Edinburgh #road #snow clearing policy ... Can’t see any evidence.”

The Met Office had a yellow “be aware” warning for the whole of eastern Scotland and the central belt.



Police reported problems on the city bypass, with cars getting stuck and breaking down. It was said to be taking up to 30 minutes to get past some sections.

Traffic was also slow on the M8. Motorists complained two snow ploughs clearing the carriageway were causing more delays by slowing traffic down.

And the Forth Road Bridge imposed a 30mph limit and warned of a skid risk. A Twitter message from Craig Mcinally said: “A massive congratulations to @Edinburgh_CC ,not only have you excelled with waste collection, you’ve now forgotten to clear the snow.”

@Rpearson081 tweeted: “Breaking News - I seen a gritter on Queensferry Rd at 6.45am. Absolutely ridiculous that gritters were not out overnight.” And a message from Lee Carson said: “@Edinburgh_CC Not your best performance concerning yesterday’s snow folks, must try harder.”

But a city council spokeswoman said gritters had been out and the problem was caused by fresh snow falling later. She said: “We’ve had 20 mini-tractors and 21 gritters working round the clock since 6am yesterday to clear the roads and treat the pavements. They were out four times overnight trying to clear the snow as it fell, but there was no traffic to keep the roads clear and more snow was falling on top. They will continue to work throughout today. We ask everyone to take care when they are out and about.”

Midlothian Council also found itself under fire. @mark192611 tweeted: “@midgov: Our gritters will be back out this weekend as the weather turns colder. Really? Do ur drivers know? Roads r a disgrace.” But Midlothian Council’s website said all main priority routes were clear following overnight snow. “Midlothian’s gritting crews are out treating the roads and footpath network this morning following around 3cm of overnight snowfall.”