Edinburgh’s Transport Leader is asking everyone to do their bit, where possible, to help make sure front paths and local streets and pavements are safe and walkable this winter.
The City of Edinburgh Council is braced for every weather eventuality, with 22 lorries primed to grit the city’s streets, 16 brand new mini tractors ready to treat pavements, and more than 13,000 tonnes of salt stocked in preparation for frost, ice and snow.
Over recent weeks the fleet has already been out gritting neighbourhoods overnight with temperatures dropping below zero.
Residents are also being reminded about the 3000 salt bins located across the city, which are regularly refilled to help people maintain their local streets where it is not possible to treat overnight. During this time staff need to focus on Edinburgh’s 1050km of priority one roads and 300km of priority one pavements leading to hospitals, schools, care homes and other key locations.
Transport and Environment convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “We’re well aware of the impact severe winter weather can have on the city, the surrounding areas and local services, as we saw when the ‘Beast from the East’ hit Edinburgh last year.
“That’s why we’re well prepared, as ever, with a fleet of lorries and gritting teams ready to tackle ice and snow during the colder months.
“What we’ve also seen during recent periods of extreme weather is the dedication shown by individuals and groups who have pitched in to help make their communities safe.
“We make every effort to keep the city moving over the winter, but resources need to be focussed on priority routes serving emergency services, vulnerable people and key arterial thoroughfares. It’s often thanks to these community members’ hard work that ice and snow is cleared from smaller streets, and I hope we will see people continue to make use of local grit bins and look out for their neighbours this winter.”
As well as a 75-strong road services team working in shifts round the clock to treat the city’s priority routes, there are more than 60 paid volunteers from departments across the council.
Amongst these are staff from social work, facilities, parks, housing and community safety departments, who are on standby to assist the maintenance of priority pavements and cycle paths in the event of extreme weather.
This is the second winter season when council crews will benefit from ‘thermal mapping’, based on road temperature data gathered over recent years – this helps the teams to direct resources accordingly to the roads most in need of urgent treatment due to the weather.