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Highland Council grits its teeth, roads and pavements during lockdown


By Tom Ramage

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Highland Council confirmed this afternoon that its winter gritting teams were ploughing on throughout the lock-down, providing a road and pavement gritting service in line with its policy on prioritisation of routes.

Details of the council’s regional and local area gritting policies and maps can be found here.

Ten new winter gritting vehicles replaced some of the ageing fleet before the weather changed, with the fleet now comprising 105 Gritters, 42 footpath tractors and one snowblower, with over 200 staff who spread around 50,000 tonnes of salt on Highlands roads and pavements in a typical winter.

New gritters were brought in for this winter, confirmed Councillor Trish Robertson
New gritters were brought in for this winter, confirmed Councillor Trish Robertson

"With the current COVID pandemic, the council is committed to doing everything it can to reduce the pressure on the NHS from those suffering from falls or slips due to winter weather," said a spokesperson.

"The council is extending coverage where possible by bringing in additional council resources to enhance services related to pavement gritting.In addition, and as in previous years, it is offering assistance to communities who wish to take action in their own area to help clear snow and ice from footpaths by providing salt in either bins or heaps, snow shovels and pushers, gloves and hi-vis vests, health and safety advice to volunteers and public liability insurance.

"Full guidance and an application form can be found on the council's website."

Badenoch ad Strathspey communities are asked to help identify the most suitable locations for these by either completion of the form on the web-site, or by contacting: Roads.LNBS@highland.gov.uk

Trish Robertson, chair of economy and infrastructure, said: “The council is working hard to deliver our winter gritting services despite the challenges that the COVID pandemic is putting in front of us.

"Recognising the challenges being faced by the NHS, we want to do as much as possible to avoid the risk of slips and falls, and allow people to be able to get out and about as much as possible.

"If communities are able to assist in providing enhanced or more localised services, there is an opportunity for salt to be delivered to locations along with equipment to assist in spreading.

"The link on the council’s web-site gives further information, and I would urge any community or resilience groups who have capacity to help to get in touch and our local teams will help advise on appropriate locations for salt storage.”

Today's roads condition report for the strath, posted just after 8am observed: "Snow across all roads, being treated as necessary."

As the evening arrived more snow started falling across the strath.

Badenoch 5pm: as the lights go on, the snow comes down
Badenoch 5pm: as the lights go on, the snow comes down

Inverness faced: "Low roads wet with icy stretches, 1 inch covering of wet snow on high roads, all roads to be gritted today, plus bladed where required

The UK Met Office currently has a yellow warning for further snow and ice across the Highlands. Find out more about warnings and advice at https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/


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