Winter Ready, Scotland Wide
The gritting operatives met Keith Brown and the well-known forecaster today at Snow Factor in Braehead, where the year-round wintry conditions allowed operatives to explain how they’ll be working round the clock to make sure people around Scotland can all get to school and work, whatever the weather.
The Transport Scotland winter service has been enhanced again this year, with new Trunk Road Operating company contracts being in force across the whole of the country.
This means that roads and pavements will be treated even quicker than before by around 500 operatives with almost 200 gritters based at 44 depots across Scotland.
As always, The National Traffic Control Centre, in South Queensferry, will be monitoring conditions across the country and any response to major incidents will be co-ordinated from there. Partners such as Police Scotland and the Met Office will be working alongside representatives from the transport networks.
Information on conditions will be given to the public as quickly as possible through the Traffic Scotland website, internet radio or twitter feed, where #winterinfo will be used to flag-up the most relevant weather related information.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said:
“We have been lucky in Scotland and the last two Winters have been relatively mild in comparison to the previous years. However, it is important that we remain alert to the changes in conditions that Winter can bring and we are prepared to meet those challenges.
"This year, we are delivering further enhancements to our service and with all four of our Trunk Road Operating Companies on new contracts, roads and pavements will be treated more quickly than ever before when a warning of snow or ice is received.
“We have more salt in stock than we used across the whole of last year and our monitoring systems have been activated to give us all of the real time information that we need on conditions on the trunk roads.
“Our teams will be out on a 24/7 basis, supporting our economy and helping people go about their daily lives with as little disruption as possible. If there is a major incident we have the systems in place to mitigate its effects to help us get back to normal as quickly as possible.
“It is essential for people to get the latest information about conditions as quickly as possible and the Traffic Scotland Twitter feed will be using the #winterinfo this year to help people easily find out what is happening on the roads.”
STV Weather presenter Sean Batty said:
“I know how unpredictable the Scottish weather can be but I wasn’t aware of the massive efforts that go into keeping the road network running in Winter.
“I’ve been hearing today how gritting teams are out across the day and night, using the most effective treatments to make sure that the roads remain open for us whether it’s rain, hail or snow.
“The service they provide is often taken for granted but we should recognise that it makes a huge difference to us all, especially when the weather is at its worst.”
Scotland TranServ, manages the trunk roads in the South West of Scotland. Their Contract Director Russell Rennie, said:
“Our winter fleet has been ready for operation since 1 October this year and is equipped with some of the most hi-tech equipment in the UK. This, combined with the vast experience of 160 winter service operatives and the team behind them means this years’ winter operations preparations have been stronger than ever.
“We work together with our partners to ensure road users are kept informed, 24/7 on current road conditions and potential issues, ensuring the public can make informed driving choices. While we are playing our part in keeping south west Scotland’s roads safe we would ask road users to stay informed and ensure that they always drive according to road conditions.”
Amey Account Manager for the South East Unit, Keith McKune, said:
“Amey’s winter service will operate 24/7, taking action at the earliest sign of inclement weather. Our service is staffed by 58 highly-trained operatives and 35 Scottish Borders operatives, with additional capacity currently being recruited to ensure we always have cover in place. Our new, superbly-equipped gritters, snow ploughs and TRISS (Trunk Road Incident Support Service) vehicles are ready to keep Scotland’s south east trunk roads clear and safe.”
BEAR Scotland is responsible for trunk roads in the North of Scotland. Their Managing Director, Brian Gordon said:
“We have been involved in the delivery of Scotland’s trunk road winter service over the last 13 years. Our main priority remains to ensure the safety of all road users.
“We will be doing all that we can to keep the 2500 km of trunks roads across the North of Scotland safe and clear over the coming months. We have over 200 dedicated operatives specially trained in winter maintenance activities and over 100 winter vehicles ready to tackle winter conditions this year.
“We ask that motorists play their part by being fully prepared for winter too. This includes ensuring their vehicle is well maintained and that they carry equipment to help themselves should conditions deteriorate.”
The owner of Snow Factor International, Jamie Smith commented:
“Snow Factor is the ideal setting to outline plans to be Winter Ready, Scotland Wide. With over 1500 tonnes of fresh snow, normally used for skiing and snowboarding, the winter teams will certainly feel at home.”
The Scottish Government’s Ready for Winter campaign, delivered in partnership with the British Red Cross, provides the public with a range of advice and information on preparing for winter weather. Further information is available at www.readyscotland.org
For real time journey information visit www.trafficscotland.org, follow @trafficscotland on Twitter or call 0800 028 14 14.
For Weather Alerts, including the Chief Forecaster's Assessment and a map showing the areas included in the Alerts, go to http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/
Rail, ferries and air users should check with individual service operators’ websites.
For SEPA live flood warnings, information and advice go to www.floodlinescotland.org.uk or call Floodline 0345 988 1188