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Everyone is being asked by Edinburgh’s Transport Leader to work together where possible, to help make sure front paths and local streets and pavements are safe and walkable this winter, and to help communities cope with the challenges that colder months can bring.

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.

A fleet of 16 brand-new mini tractors ready to grit and clear pavements and cycle paths of snow.

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 and its 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 crews will benefit from ‘thermal mapping’, based on road temperature data gathered over recent years, helping teams to direct resources accordingly to the roads most in need of treatment.

The service will also continue to utilise telematics devices fitted to the entire winter weather fleet to allow lorries and tractors to transmit their location and gritting operation, meaning a quicker response to the public’s needs.

Local farmers have been enlisted, as in previous years, to support the Council’s winter weather response by gritting rural routes and contracts are in place with external companies if the Council needs access to additional staff and equipment in extreme winter conditions.

Staff from across the Council training for paid shifts to support winter weather efforts.

The public can find out about priority road, cycle path and pavement gritting routes by visiting the Council website’s winter weather pages which include an interactive map so that residents can locate their nearest salt bin.

If severe weather strikes, the Council will use its social media channels, website and local radio stations to keep residents updated on any impact on services.

WINTER WEATHER RESPONSE BY NUMBERS
• 13,500 tonnes of salt stockpiled for use across the city
• 16 brand new mini-tractors to cover the priority network of footpaths and cycle routes, which this year are trialling the use of snow clearing brushes for the first time
• 75 Edinburgh Roads Services staff working three shifts to treat roads
• 60 staff from across the Council working three shifts to treat priority footways and cycle routes (including customer advisers, social work, facilities, parks, housing, community safety, environmental wardens, project managers, care and support, cemeteries, rangers, IT)