Highland Council's road and pavement gritting aims to reduce slips and falls
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Highland Council says it is doing everything it can to keep roads and pavements clear and to help reduce pressure on the NHS this winter.
It said it wanted to reassure communities that its winter gritting teams were working hard across the region to provide a service based on its priority routes policy.
The local authority has access to 105 gritters, 42 footpath tractors and one snowblower, with more than 200 staff who spread around 50,000 tonnes of salt on Highlands roads and pavements in a typical winter.
Ten new winter gritting vehicles were purchased last year to replace some of the ageing fleet.
A spokesperson said: "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.
"The council is extending coverage where possible by bringing in additional resources to enhance services related to pavement gritting."
It is also encouraging communities to take action in their own area by helping to clear snow and ice from footpaths, for which it will provide 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 at www.highland.gov.uk/info/20005/roads_and_pavements/99/roads_information/7
Communities are asked to help identify the most suitable locations for these by either completion of the form on the website, or by contacting Roads.Caithness@highland.gov.uk or Roads.Sutherland@highland.gov.uk
Trish Robertson, chairman of the council’s economy and infrastructure committee, 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.”