Council is prepared to take on severe winter weather

Aberdeenshire Council is gearing up for winter.
Aberdeenshire Council is gearing up for winter.

Aberdeenshire Councili is gearing up for the onslaught of winter.

The authority has more than 38,000 tonnes of salt, 1,330 grit bins, 147 gritters and ploughs and over 300 people at the ready to tackle snow and ice.

Council officials have been preparing, ensuring salt and grit are fully-stocked and inspecting vehicles.

It maintains more than 3,300 miles of roads and 930 miles of footpaths, with around 1,030 miles of roads identified as a priority network for winter treatment.

The fleet includes 98 gritters and ploughs/snow blowers available to treat carriageways, with a further 49 footway gritter and ploughs.

A team of 229 people are readily available for routine winter work, and this can be expanded to 319 with staff from other parts of the council if conditions become severe.

Further boosting these resources and supporting council staff are up to 120 tractors operated by farmers, with blades supplied by the council, and 35 ploughs operated by contractors. 

These farmers and contractors play an important role in the overall winter response plan, and provide the initial snow clearing response across our more rural network.

Aberdeenshire is a geographically diverse area, covering landscapes from mountain to sea. Weather conditions can vary dramatically across the area, so personnel and equipment are dispersed so appropriate treatments can be carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Councillors recently endorsed numerous measures aimed at improving the winter roads service.

The tracking of gritters and snow ploughs and improvements to the level of information available to the public were among the measures identified in a review of the service last year.

These actions are among the second phase of improvements due to be implemented by the service this winter season, the first wave of which was introduced last season.

Councillors were told that a private radio network has now been introduced across the whole of Aberdeenshire to enable reliable communications with gritter and plough operatives and drivers.

Work has also moved forward to improve the way information is made available to the public with the development of new initiatives aimed at providing live information to smart phones and tablet devices.