£343k extra cash for winter

Getting to grit with wintry conditions
Getting to grit with wintry conditions

A REPORT on Fife Council’s winter gritting and snow clearing policy was presented to the Enterprise, Environment and Transportation Committee.

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

Dr Bob McLellan, head of transportation and environmental Services said: “We aim to improve the winter service this year by getting into residential streets at the same time as the priority routes. We’ve purchased additional plant giving us a fleet of 31 gritters. These cover 23 Primary gritting routes which equates to 59% of the Fife Road Network. This is against a Scottish average of 42%. Additional resources from our Environmental operations and Parks and Countryside give us access to smaller plant and tractors, enabling us to tackle residential streets and footpaths more quickly.”

Following the most severe winter weather in more than 50 years, a review was undertaking of the winter services and good practice. Feedback from last winter showed that secondary routes had suffered unduly mainly due to the introduction of salt conversation practices following the national salt shortages and subsequent guidance issued by the Scottish Salt Group.

The experience of the last two winters has shown that it is practically impossible to procure additional salt in any significant quantity during prolonged adverse weather throughout the UK. Fife is maximising its salt holding at the start of this winter at a level of 40,000 tonnes to ensure resilience against the most severe winter weather.

He added: “Last year, we had access to 1,000 people during the peak periods of severe weather at a cost of £150,000 per day. We also very much welcomed the self help of Fife’s residents. The regular restocking of grit bins will continue this year and we have also ordered 3,000 one ton winter sacks for use at schools and care facilities.

“Communications have been improved to manage public expectations when the most severe conditions arise and will continue to build on this in the coming winter and encourage more engagement with the local communities to ensure we deliver a robust winter service.”