Friday, 25 October 2013

Plan ahead for winter weather

Get ready for winter – that’s the message from North Ayrshire Council as staff begin to prepare for the possibility of severe weather over the next few months.

A Council spokesperson advised that “Taking precautions now can save a lot of trouble should temperatures plummet.

“Our roads team will be on weather-watch from October 24 until April 10 next year – or even longer if we’re shivering into spring.  A squad of 40 drivers will be on call 24/7 during the cold spell to keep the gritters and snow ploughs on the road.  The Council’s fleet of 17 multi-purpose vehicles includes seven new models purchased in the last year to replace those that had reached the end of their working life.

“Our drivers have been out on a ‘dry run’ in preparation for severe weather, checking out equipment and vehicles and familiarising themselves with routes.”

Some 10,000 tonnes of road salt will be stocked at North Ayrshire’s two main storage depots – 8,000 tonnes at Goldcraigs in Kilwinning and 2,000 tonnes at Brodick on Arran, which is more than double the amount held during the gritting shortage that hit the whole of the country in 2010.  Salt is also stored at strategic points throughout North Ayrshire for use by residents, with 400 street bins and 13 larger community bins from which people can collect salt for personal use on roads, driveways or footpaths.

The Council spokesperson said, “Weather forecasts are relayed three times a day - literally morning, noon and night – to the roads team who use the information to determine whether or not a snow and ice alert is issued.  All the latest road updates are posted on the Council website periodically.”

Scotland Transerv is responsible for any issues on trunk roads in the area (A78, A737 and A738) and can be contacted on 0141 218 3800.

Meanwhile, North Ayrshire Council now has a one-stop helpline number that tenants can use for information and to report emergencies - 01294 310000 – which operates day and night, every day of the year.

The local authority’s SNP Cabinet member for Environment and Infrastructure, Cllr John Bruce, said, “Winter throws up many challenges for us all but we can overcome these by working together.

“I am confident that North Ayrshire Council has the right resources and the necessary experience to tackle the worst of the weather.  I would urge motorists and householders to take heed of the very sound advice issued by both the Council and the Scottish Government.  These precautions will prepare us for the very worst of conditions should the country be affected as it was a few years back.”

Cllr Bruce added, “Of course, I’m hoping that we avoid much of the misery of past winters and the weather remains mild this time round.”

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