Ministers chair resilience meeting on weather preparations
Ministers have been updated on preparations for the wintry weather expected in Scotland this week at a meeting of the Scottish Government’s resilience team this afternoon.
The Met Office has issued several Yellow (Be Aware) warnings for snow and strong winds from Wednesday through to Friday.
Details are available at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings
The meeting, chaired by Deputy First Minister, John Swinney and Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, covered planning for all major modes of transport and the utilities. The flood risk for Scotland remains low for the next few days.
The conditions will lead to some difficult driving conditions. The strong winds will be the most immediate issue with likely road bridge restrictions on Wednesday, especially for high-sided vehicles. When combined with the sleet and snow showers there is also a risk of snow drifts on higher routes on Thursday and Friday.
Gritting teams will be out across the period to help keep the trunk roads moving. Patrols will also be stationed at strategic locations on the network to make sure that they can respond to any emerging issues.
Disruption to other transport modes, especially ferries tomorrow, is a possibility and passengers should check the latest on conditions before they set-off on their journeys.
Utilities companies are putting the necessary arrangements in place to cope with incidents should they arise.
Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf said:
“We will be seeing cold and windy conditions over the next few days and plans are in place to help us do all we can to mitigate the impact of the snow and gale force winds.
“The transport network is likely to be the first sector affected by strong winds on Wednesday with possibility of HGV restrictions on bridges. Our winter treatments will be carried-out across the period with patrols out where required. We have more gritters available than before and salt is in plentiful supply.
“Key routes will be monitored through our network of weather stations and live cameras and the Traffic Scotland National Traffic Control Centre will take all of this information and send it out to road users through the website and Traffic Scotland twitter feed on a 24/7 basis.
“We would ask that people keep the conditions in mind when they are making their travel plans and leave plenty of time. We are making as much information available as possible to allow the public to make informed decisions. The winter treatments page on the Traffic Scotland website has details of which routes are being treated and our Trunk Road Gritter Tracker lets road users see where gritters have been out in the last 24 hours.
“Travel operators websites will have all of the relevant information on ferries, rail and air and Traffic Scotland has a webpage with all of these links. The advice is to check before travel to make sure that you get to your destination safely.”
Chief Superintendent Andy Edmonston, Head of Road Policing, said:
“With a risk of weather-related disruption for the remainder of the working week, motorists should bear in mind the risk of potentially hazardous driving conditions to come.
“If you are traveling, please ensure your vehicle is well prepared before setting off; making sure your windscreens are completely free of snow and ice; ensure your number plate is clear; and your lights are working and clean.
“Ensure you have sufficient fuel in the vehicle, as well as supplies for yourself and passengers, including food, water, warm clothes and a fully charged mobile phone. Check your route before you set off, and consider options for an alternative route, if necessary. Be aware public transport could be disrupted and restrictions could be in effect on road bridges.
“Motorists should also adapt their driving to suit road conditions, as well as the behaviour of other road users, including leaving more space between vehicles.
“Road Policing crews will be patrolling the trunk roads and other priority routes to keep people safe during this period - please follow our advice and travel with caution."
The Scottish Government’s annual resilience marketing campaign, Ready Scotland, is a good reminder of the simple actions we can all take to prepare for adverse conditions. Further information is available at www.readyscotland.org