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Highland Council urges communities to apply for winter weather assistance

By Gregor White

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Highland Council can provide supplies for people to treat their own areas in the event of snow or ice.

The council’s winter maintenance service commences today, continuing through until April.

While the council says it is ready to salt the 6766km of roads for which it has responsibility and has a fleet of footpath tractors it says resources are insufficient to clear every path in the region.

Instead it can assist with the provision of salt in either bins or heaps, snow shovels and pushers, gloves and hi-viz vests, as well as health and safety advice to volunteers and public liability insurance.

It is a condition of the assistance scheme that volunteers must register their intention to assist via their local community council, through which the scheme is administered.

A council spokesperson said: "The arrival of Covid-19 during 2020 has presented the council with significant challenges and there remains uncertainty as to what level of transmission may occur within the Highland area over the coming winter.

"Motorists and members of the public must recognise that despite the council taking all necessary precautions there is still a risk that, should an outbreak occur within one of our larger depots, the level of service provided may be affected due to the need of driver(s) to self-isolate.

"Should this occur resources will be supplemented, where possible, with drivers who have the correct licence requirements from within the council.

"Subsequently this could have a knock-on affect in the delivery of other services such as waste and amenities.

"In a worst-case scenario, it may be necessary to reduce the extent of the road network treated at any one time.

"This may result in the shifting of resources to concentrate on the treatment of the primary and secondary networks only.

"Alternatively, it may be the case that the whole network continues to be treated but it is late afternoon or the next day before all the minor roads and residential streets are treated.

"The council is required to adhere to the driver’s hours regulations which limits the length of time a driver can operate a vehicle, so driver resources are not limitless."

For further information visit www.highland.gov.uk/gritting

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