New council snow ploughs will help keep Caithness roads clear
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Highland Council has invested in 10 new winter gritting vehicles to replace some of its ageing fleet.
The new vehicles, which have been dispatched across the Highlands, complement the council’s existing winter fleet that includes 99 gritters, 42 footpath tractors and two snowblowers, with more than 200 staff ready to provide winter maintenance services.
Chair of the council’s economy and infrastructure committee, Councillor Trish Robertson – who was given a test drive in one of the newly purchased snow ploughs – said: “Modernising our fleet by buying the new vehicles is an investment that will help us provide our communities with an efficient and reliable service over the coming winter months.
"These new top-of-the-range vehicles have all the equipment to make them as efficient as possible when carrying out the work.”
The winter roads maintenance budget for 2020/21 is £5 million which will be used to look after the 6766km (4204 miles) of roads for which the council has responsibility.
Cllr Robertson added: “All preparations have been made and crews across the Highlands are ready to start the winter service as soon as required. The new fleet of snow ploughs will have an important role in making sure we are able to provide our communities with the best service we can within the resources available.”
There have been no changes to this year’s winter policy so service levels throughout the local areas are expected to remain unchanged from last year.
The service will commence at 6am each day as and when required. There will be a Monday to Friday service in which all roads are treated and a weekend service which includes treatment of all the primary routes, strategic secondary routes and difficult "other" routes. The service will be provided within the resources available and as weather conditions permit.
Details of the council’s Highland-wide and local area gritting policies and maps are available from this link www.highland.gov.uk/gritting
As in previous years, Highland Council is offering assistance to communities which wish to take action in their own area to help clear snow and ice from footpaths but providing salt in either bins or heaps, snow shovels and pushers, gloves and hi-viz 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 at www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/download/836/winter_resilience_community_aid