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Council Calls For Patience During Wintry Weather

23rd December 2009

The Highland Council's Convener Councillor Sandy Park is calling for patience when it comes to clearing Highland roads and pavements.

Since the recent wintry conditions have started the Council's entire fleet of 114 road, and 54 pavement gritters and over 200 winter maintenance staff have been working flat out within the Council's gritting policy to keep roads clear.

Councillor Park said: "We have the longest road network of any Council within Scotland and as such it is simply not possible to treat every road at the same time. 14% of Scotland's roads are maintained by The Highland Council and we are responsible for 4,200 miles (6,700km) of roads. We therefore grit roads under a priority system which targets roads based on their local importance.

"Because of the severity of the weather conditions it has not been possible to get to all third or fourth priority routes and therefore some rural and housing estate roads have not been treated. First and second priority routes which are main roads and bus routes have had to be repeatedly ploughed and re-gritted. Ploughing takes much longer than simply spreading grit and we have had deeper snow than for many years, combined with temperatures so low that the salt takes longer to act.

"I would ask residents and businesses to try to help by clearing the pavements in front of their own houses or shops where this is possible and to watch out for elderly relatives, friends and neighbours and help them."

He added: "Our winter maintenance staff are doing a great job with the resources available to them. They are not immune to the poor weather conditions as we have had 14 gritting vehicles off the roads since the bad weather started but all of them have been recovered and are back in action."

Information on the Council's winter gritting policy is on the Council's website at under "Winter Watch". Please note that there will only be a Sunday service (Priority 1 routes only) on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.


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