Transport Minister photoThe extensive range of specialist equipment that will be used to clear  roads this winter was displayed yesterday in Edinburgh by Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown.

Mr Brown, MSP, tested two Finnish-made road ice breakers  which have been purchased by Transport Scotland. One will be stored in Glasgow for use by the South West and North West Operating Companies, the other near Linlithgow for potential deployment on the North East and South East routes.

Also on display were a range of gritters, equipped with mobile road surface temperature sensors and ‘Gritter Cams’, a V-Plough, community self-help kits, and a footway snow blower.

Other measures and improvements implemented since the winter of 2010-11 include:

  • A commitment to have more salt stocked at the start of this winter than used across Scotland in the entire winter of 2010-11
  • A strengthened network of weather stations and new cameras at 24 sites to improve decision-making
  • New guidance for Operating Companies on when to use alternative de-icers that work in severe conditions
  • Publication of daily gritting plans to give the public and media more access to more information about the treatments taking place
  • A Freight Scotland Hotline for drivers to highlight network problems and guidance for HGV drivers
  • New YouTube on Winter Service Provision produced for key stakeholders and the public
  • Transport Scotland sits on the World Road Association Winter Technical Committee to discuss international lessons

Mr Brown said; “Transport Scotland delivers its winter service programme on Scotland’s trunk road network from the start of October right through to mid-May. One of our main aims  is to encourage road users to start thinking now about how severe weather can impact on their journey. We are highlighting what motorists can do to prepare for the worst and plan ahead.

“Additional gritters, greater use of state of the art technology and getting information to people ‘on the move’ are just a few of the ways we have strengthened winter treatments, decision making and communication with road users.  However, for the system to work, what road users do to plan for their journey is just as important. Keeping a close eye on weather and travel information, as well as ensuring vehicles are suitably prepared prior to setting off, is crucial. If we all plan ahead, Scotland will be better prepared for winter.

“Last year we stocked more salt than was used over the whole of the previous winter and we published daily gritting plans for Trunk Road Operating Companies. We also have 110,000 litres of alternative de-icers in stock that will work in the most severe conditions when road salt becomes less effective.”