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Salt supplies at maximum levels in readiness for winter

17th November 2012

Photograph of Salt supplies at maximum levels in readiness for winter

Salt supplies in the Highlands are at maximum levels as The Highland Council prepares for the winter. Stocks stand at 67,300 tonnes.

This exceeds the average annual amount used over the last five years and gives the Council a resilience of 73 days for average frost or light snow conditions, or 20 days of extreme conditions requiring continual treatment.

Arrangements are in place to re-stock during the winter if the rate of use is high. The suppliers have adequate reserves for this to happen and no shortage is anticipated.

Councillor Graham Phillips, Chairman of the Councils Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee, said: With winter looming, it is important to assure the public that we are ready to cope with the type of adverse conditions that we have experienced in recent years. Our stores are at capacity and we have a ready supply of salt from our supplier, should we need it.

The Council spends on average 1.2 million per year on salt. The total winter maintenance budget is 4.7 million.

Councillor Phillips visited the Councils largest salt store - at the Inverness Harbour facility - which is providing the Council with a much improved service and underpinning the viability of the Harbour.

The Council has a commercial agreement for the storage and management of road salt with Scotlog Sales Ltd, a long established business based at Inverness Harbour with extensive interests in shipping, stevedoring and storage facilities. The annual throughput of salt will be in the region of 25,000 tonnes.

To minimise road haulage, salt is also imported direct to other Highland ports such as Invergordon, Wick, Scrabster, Kinlochbervie, Lochinver, Ullapool, Kyle of Lochalsh, Lochaline, Kishorn and Fort William.

For many years, the Council operated a salt storage depot located on land owned by the Inverness Common Good Fund adjacent to the Kessock Bridge Roundabout. Part of the Longman depot has been leased to Transport Scotland as a strategic salt store for the Highlands. This provides a reserve stock of around 7,000 tonnes.

The Council will endeavour to provide the same level of gritting and snow clearing service as in previous years.

First priority is given to main routes and these will be serviced between 6 am and 9 pm Monday Saturday. Second priority is given to other strategic routes, including bus routes, which will be serviced from 6am 9 pm Monday Saturday.

Third priority applies to urban streets and school bus routes and will be serviced between 6 am 9pm Monday Saturday. The fourth priority applies to the other routes from 8 am 6 pm Monday Saturday as resources allow, with difficult and steep route being treated first.

On a Sunday, Christmas Day and New Years Day, gritting will only take place on priority one routes, service bus routes and main urban streets between 7 am - 9 pm.

Neil Gillies, Director of Transport Environment and Community Services, said: At this time of year, we urge motorists to be aware of the dangers of sudden changes in weather and the hidden dangers of black ice and to prepare themselves and their vehicles before they travel. From now until the end of March, the Council monitors roads and weather conditions for the need to treat ice and snow conditions on local roads. It is not possible to treat every road at the same time, so priority routes have been established.

He said the Council would like to encourage self-help in adverse conditions and to this end would like to encourage motorists who may have to travel on snowy roads before they are cleared, to consider fitting winter tyres. He also encouraged property owners to clear the snow from the footway in front of their own premises.

The Councils roads and street lighting helpline is 01349 886601. Staff at the Councils Service Centre will be on hand to respond to calls between 8 am 5 pm Monday Friday and 9 am noon on a Saturday. In cases of emergency outwith these times, the public should contact the Council on 01349 886690.