Mouthpiece: Working to avoid meltdown

SNOWMEN, sledging, snowballs, snowflakes, surreal scenery – all the ingredients of a winter wonderland are around us. Icy roads, snowed in, scared to go out, heating breakdowns, running out of food, shortage of salt, refuse collection disrupted – all the elements of misery are potentially present too.

Keeping the city moving and looking after vulnerable residents are top priorities for the council in this current freeze. The council's roads team has been working 12 hours on and 12 hours off, tackling snow and ice on roads in priority order, from main routes and emergency services access through to local roads and pavements.

We have now re-deployed more than 250 council staff to assist in priority areas such as routes to sheltered housing, schools, and local shopping areas; and an additional 100 workers are now snow-clearing in the hardest hit residential areas. Staff have also been moved in to assist in waste collection in areas affected by access difficulties.

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There are 1,600 on-street grit bins across the city, refilled as quickly as possible. We are working with the Scottish Government to ensure salt stocks are replenished, to make maximum use of our 26 gritters and 12 mini tractors.

The council continues to support elderly and vulnerable people. Home care and day care service requirements have been assessed, with those unable to attend their usual day care service contacted to see what help they require.

We are very grateful to the many individuals and voluntary organisations who are clearing elderly residents' paths, shopping or just keeping an eye out for vulnerable people. This community spirit reflects well on the people of Edinburgh and I am thankful for the generosity and hard work.

• Jenny Dawe is leader of Edinburgh City Council. For support for a vulnerable person, phone 0131-200 2324 or 0800 731 6964 out of hours. For information and updates on council services, visit