Tracking facilty for Aberdeenshire snowploughs

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THE REVIEW’S readership area extends into Aberdeenshire to the north. The council there has provided details of its plans for snow and ice clearing this winter.

Aberdeenshire Council has over 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.

In common with many public agencies, the council has been ensuring salt and grit are fully-stocked and inspecting vehicles.

The council’s roads and landscape service maintains over 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.

To deliver the winter services the council has 98 gritters and ploughs/snow blowers available to treat carriageways, with a further 49 footway gritter and ploughs.

A team of 229 people is 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.

The farmers and contractors play an important role in the overall winter response plan.

Weather conditions can vary dramatically across the area, so personnel and equipment are dispersed so appropriate treatments can be carried out quickly and efficiently.

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 was introduced last season.

A private radio network has been introduced across the whole of Aberdeenshire to enable reliable communications with gritter and plough operatives and drivers.

It provides a comprehensive record of a vehicle’s location at any point in its journey, enabling the service to answer queries, complaints or claims about road treatment.

The way information is made available to the public is being improved, as well as other council services, with the development of new initiatives aimed at providing live information to smart phones and tablet devices.

Chairman of the Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, said: “It is great to see the second wave of improvements identified in last year’s review coming through and shows how committed Aberdeenshire Council is to providing the best winter roads service possible.

“Members of the public also have a vital role to play, and can help us maintain the best possible roads network by reporting faults and assist community resilience by doing what they can to be prepared for winter.”