Caithness and Sutherland prepared for winter
19th November 2013
“The North Highlands are ready for winter” was the message given at the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee yesterday (18 November 2014) with staff, vehicles and a plentiful supply of salt in place to treat roads and footpaths over the coming winter months.
The Highland Council has increased its winter maintenance budget to £5.6 million this year and has introducing an improved service with 45,500 tonnes of salt in storage in readiness for winter. The average annual usage of salt for Caithness and Sutherland has increased over the last 3 winters and is now approximately 25,000 tonnes.
Area Chairman Councillor Deirdre Mackay added: “Our staff in Caithness and Sutherland do a great job and work extremely hard over the winter months to keep routes open so it is reassuring to know plans are in place for them to spring into action when the bad weather comes. This year’s national Ready For Winter Campaign focuses on being prepared in the community, at home, on the move and in the workplace and gives lots of helpful tips on how we all can be better prepared. I would also like to remind everyone that when Highland experiences severe weather conditions, you can stay informed on school closures and any transport problems by visiting our website www.highland.gov.uk”
Chairman of the Council’s TEC Services Committee, Councillor Graham Phillips said: “We will endeavour to provide the highest level of service possible during the winter but people need to be aware that during severe weather it may not be possible to keep every road free from ice or snow at all times. Today the Winter Maintenance Plan for Caithness and Sutherland was approved which sets out the route priority network and details of these will now be publicised so people are aware of which routes are classed as Primary and will therefore be treated first.
“We have been engaging with communities over the last 6 months to make sure we can be as prepared as possible and to promote our community self-help scheme with local contractors on standby to provide additional resources if needed. Ensuring all the grit bins are kept topped up with salt is also a priority so bins will have a telephone number printed on them so people can call us if more supplies are needed. We are encouraging individuals, families, businesses and communities across the Highlands to think ahead and be prepared for winter and all kinds of severe weather.”
The target treatment times for completion of routes during conditions of ice and light snow are:
Monday - Saturday
Primary Routes 8.30am
Secondary Routes 9.00am
Other As resources and conditions permit
Sundays, 25th/26th Dec & 1st/2nd Jan
Primary Routes 9.30am
Maps showing all the routes for the area will be available from the Council’s website www.highland.gov.uk/gritting.
Highland Councillors considered Scottish Government's proposals for changes to the management of schools at today's meeting of the Council. The Scottish Government is proposing new legislation on education, which would include a Headteachers Charter, placing even more responsibility and accountability for the running of schools on Headteachers, with other responsibilities passing to a new collaborative organisation covering Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Shetland, Orkney, Western Isles, Argyll and Bute as well as Highland.
Maps of the Council's gritting routes by priority and policy are available online at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting The information provided is a summary of reports from operational staff and is intended to give a general indication of typical conditions in each area at a point in time. It is not intended to imply that any individual route is entirely snow and ice free and drivers must be aware that conditions can change rapidly and make their own assessment of conditions for travelling.
The Highland Council today welcomed the proposal by the Scottish Government to establish a national not-for-profit energy company and agreed to make a case for the proposed company to be based in the Highlands. The motion, put forward by Cllr Richard Laird and Cllr Iain Cockburn, sets out the belief that Highland customers do not always experience the benefits of the energy produced in our communities and therefore proposes that the Council engage with the Scottish Government to make the case for the energy company to be based in the Highlands, where much of the energy is produced, and bringing jobs and benefits to the region.
The Highland Council has agreed to set up a tourism working group to take a strategic overview and set priorities to support the success and growth of tourism in the Highlands. The Council has also agreed to identify financial support that allows EventScotland and their partners to bid for future major International events to be hosted in Highland.
The Highland Council is reassuring people in the region that since Storm Caroline and the arrival of winter weather to the region, the Council's Community Services has been deploying all of its available resources to tackle the condition of Highland Council pavements and roads. The Council's gritting fleet includes 105 gritters, 42 footpath tractors and over 200 staff providing winter maintenance services.
Budget update Council will today consider a potential budget gap of Â£33.5 million in the next financial year in 2018-19. It will take several days to achieve clarification of the precise settlement to The Highland Council following the Scottish Government's draft budget announcement.
Maps of the Council's gritting routes by priority and policy are available online at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting . The information provided is a summary of reports from operational staff and is intended to give a general indication of typical conditions in each area at a point in time.
With Storm Caroline hitting the Highlands yesterday, today's heavy snowfall and the forecast for a drop in temperatures over the next 48 hours, the Highland Council's crews and winter vehicles have been busy in action. The fleet includes 105 gritters, 42 footpath tractors and over the coming months 200 plus staff will be providing winter maintenance services.
Wick Campus, including Wick High School, Newtonpark Primary School and High Life Highland Leisure facilities will remain closed on Friday 8 December 2017. The closure is due to high winds during Storm Caroline today which caused some damage to part of the roof of the Wick campus gym, causing the metal flashing around a roof light to become detached.
Following the high winds forecast and experienced this week due to Storm Caroline, The Highland Council is encouraging landowners to check trees and vegetation near to public roads which may have been damaged. Roads affected by fallen trees this morning were near Beauly; Achnagarron near Invergordon and Lochaber which staff are clearing.
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