‘Lessons to be learned from snow clearing’

Council workers tackle the snow
Council workers tackle the snow

Local councillors have called for a review of snow clearing operations to see whether there are any lessons to be learned from the recent cold snap.

Prolonged low temperatures have meant that despite there being relatively little snow fall in recent days, snow and ice has not shifted despite treatment, leading to a number of complaints from residents about underfoot conditions.

Opposition Leader Cllr Richard Thomson and Ellon & District councillor Gillian Owen have asked for a review of the council’s snow clearing operation to see whether any lessons can be learned. Cllr Thomson said: “The council workers involved in gritting and snow clearing operations do so in often appalling conditions and deserve our thanks for what they do.

“It’s clear that Aberdeenshire Council staff have been putting an enormous amount of effort into keeping residents safe in line with the policies which have been approved by councillors - something which we recognise and commend.

“During this most recent cold snap, most of our major routes were kept open and that in itself is a major achievement.

“The prolonged low temperatures have brought their own issues however, and where we would normally have expected the snow and ice to have cleared by now, a lot of residential streets are still affected because council staff are having to still have regard for keeping the major routes safe. That reduces the amount of time available for tackling other roads which, while less of a priority in terms of keeping goods and services flowing, are nonetheless still important to local residents.

“There are always lessons which can be learned from how things are done and I am keen to see if there are any here which can improve how the council responds to wintry conditions. This is a particularly appropriate time to do so as the various political groups are working on their budgets for the council and if there are any resourcing issues affecting the council’s winter weather response, now would be the ideal time to factor that in to the budget.”

After a meeting with the Director, Cllr Peter Argyle said: “Council officers are actively reviewing events in order to learn and improve the gritting service.

“As well as complaints about roads, there have been extremely icy conditions on footpaths, car parks and within school grounds.

“Measures will include looking at the prioritisation of gritting for car parks and schools, the provision of additional grit bins, the refilling of grit bins, obtaining new equipment for tackling footpaths, and improving communication to make it easier for residents to report particular problems.

“Some £4.3m has been allocated in the budget to deal with these road conditions.”