Council puts plans in place to deal with winter hazards

Despite carnage caused by snow on roads across Argyll and Bute this week, most of Kintyre had only a light dusting on the hills.

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Members of Argyll and Bute Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee approved the area’s 2020-2021 Winter Service Policy on Thursday September 10, setting out priorities for treatment and pre-treating routes ahead of winter hazards.

Winter stand-by arrangements operate from Friday October 30 until Friday April 16 2021. The programme is similar to previous years with the inclusion of additional guidelines for using vehicles safely, to protect against Covid infection.

The winter service policy sets out routes that will be treated ahead of winter hazards. When cold weather hits, the council pre-treats 52 per cent of the road network, which is more than most other local authorities.

There are 31 front-line vehicles ready for action, and two spare in case of breakdown. There are a further six vehicles, as well as tractors and ‘V’ ploughs, that can be deployed if necessary.

More than 11,000 tonnes of salt will be stockpiled to keep Argyll’s 750 miles of priority routes clear. This takes careful planning by a team of people who analyse local weather forecast data so they know by the end of each day what they need to do to make sure the roads are treated appropriately the following morning.

Councillor Robin Currie, policy lead for housing, roads and infrastructure services, said: ‘Each year, we thank our roads workers who come to work on the icy roads, in the dark, to make sure the rest of us can get to our daily commitments as safely as possible. More than ever this year, we will value the front-line service they provide.

‘Please look out for vulnerable neighbours when conditions underfoot are poor.

‘Throughout winter, we work closely with colleagues in Police Scotland and promote any relevant travel advice through our own council Facebook and Twitter channels. Please pay close attention to travel advice during poor weather conditions and stay safe.’

For more information on the council’s adverse weather plans, visit its website at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has a useful fact sheet on being prepared for winter driving on its website. However, in very bad weather, advice is to avoid driving completely unless journeys are absolutely necessary.