Preparing for the worst

KIRKCALDY;'December 2010 SNOW; ST Clair Street'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
KIRKCALDY;'December 2010 SNOW; ST Clair Street'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
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KIRKCALDY’s councillors received assurances that Fife Council is “preparing for the worst” in terms of dealing with winter conditions.

Members of Kirkcaldy area committee heard at their meeting yesterday (Wednesday) lessons have been learnt by transportation services from the last couple of years on how they prepare and deliver services.

And officers are confident that following the review of the local authority’s winter gritting and snow clearing policy - undertaken after the most severe winter weather in more than 50 years last winter - they are prepared for this year.

A budget of around £3.3m is in place to deliver the winter service this year - an increase of £343,000 on 2010/11.

Lessons

Steve Knowles, team leader, road services mid Fife, said: “We have learnt a few lessons over the last couple of winters and we’ve found the expectation from the public is much higher.

“We have reviewed what we do and how we deliver the service and steps have been taken.

“We’re hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

“We had problems in the past sorting salt supplies over winter.

“Last year we had 21,000 tonnes of salt, which was more than we had used in previous years, but it wasn’t enough.

“This year we have got 40,000 tonnes in place, and hopefully we won’t have to use it all.”

Gritters

Councillors heard the number of gritters in Fife has also increased, with more removable gritters that can be put on lorries which can go where the fixed body gritters couldn’t get to.

Mr Knowles explained the Council has improved its communications system to ensure Fifers are able to access up to date information on school closures, service disruption and road conditions as easily as possible.

Methods available to the public include the Council’s own website, social networking sites, local radio stations, mobile alerts and telephone lines.

He added: “When compared with councils in other areas, we are providing a good, high quality service, but the public want more and we have to try and meet that expectation.”