Gritting priorities for Highland Council roads and footpaths across the Lochaber area this coming winter 2022/23 have been approved by Members of the Lochaber Area Committee today (Tuesday 30 August 2022).
Lochaber Area Committee Chair, Cllr Kate Willis said:
“To prepare for winter in the Highlands a great amount of planning is required to ensure that the gritting policy, winter maintenance team and the equipment and supplies required are in place and ready to be implemented when the winter weather arrives.
“The Highland Council has an approved list of priority routes for treatment and would encourage the public to familiarise themselves with the gritting maps for your area.
“It isn’t possible to treat every road and path; however, the dedicated Lochaber team work extremely hard to maintain a challenging geographical area.”
Cllr Kate Willis added:
“Community self-help will continue to be encouraged under the Councils ‘Winter Resilience’ scheme whereby communities can submit an application via their community council to carry out footway gritting operations.
“The Council will continue to provide the community with salt/grit, bins, scrapers and reflective waistcoats.
“It is important to note that this does not replace the service provided by the Council but allows the community to provide an enhanced level of service.
“People should think about this now and apply as soon as possible, plan ahead and be prepared in advance of the winter weather.”
The report, available here, Lochaber Area Roads Winter Maintenance Plan 2022/23, presents the current position regarding the delivery of the Highland Council winter service for 2022/23.
It takes consideration of the current service level required by the Winter policy.
Lochaber Area Committee Members have approved a plan which includes priority routes and maps.
The plan explains that primary routes are treated first, followed by secondary routes and then all ‘other’ routes as resources permit.
Councillors discussed the priorities, timings and resources available for gritting the Lochaber area network of 235km (35%) primary routes, 51km (7%) secondary routes and 395km (58%) other routes across both Lochaber wards.
For Lochaber Area there are 8 front-line gritters available and 2 footpath tractors.
There are a limited number of spare gritters available across Highland.
The average annual usage of salt for Lochaber Area is approximately 3,000 tonnes.
Although the occurrence of snow lying on the roads has reduced, ice and frost remain prevalent especially on the higher routes.
There is sufficient salt in stock or on order for the winter ahead.
The Council also provides (on request) salt/gritting services for key strategic local service providers, including hospitals, health centres, fires stations, airports and train stations etc.