Gritting Roads in Rural Areas
Dennis Robertson (Aberdeenshire West) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government what steps it has taken to ensure that roads in rural areas are gritted. (S4O-03968)
The Minister for Transport and Islands (Derek Mackay): Transport Scotland and its operating companies are responsible for winter treatment on trunk roads in rural areas, while local authorities are responsible for winter treatment on all other rural roads. From 1 October to 15 May, a 24-hour dedicated winter maintenance service operates on all of Scotland’s trunk roads. Our operating companies’ winter service plans are available on the Transport Scotland website.
Daily winter action plans continue to be made publicly available on the Traffic Scotland website by our operating companies throughout the winter. The information goes live at 3 pm each day, following receipt of the forecast. The action plan information tells people where the gritters will be, at what time and how much salt they will be spreading.
Dennis Robertson: The minister will be aware that there has recently been a significant increase in road traffic incidents in my constituency of Aberdeenshire West, and there have been a couple of fatalities. That is sometimes due to the condition of the roads. Can the minister reassure me and my constituents that everything is being done to ensure that roads are maintained to a suitable standard for people who commute into towns for work to drive on?
Derek Mackay: I appreciate the point that Mr Robertson makes. I have witnessed at first hand the strong partnership working that we have. As well as sharing information and working together on, for example, salt supplies, we have strengthened the multi-agency arrangements, and local authorities are, of course, part of that.
In addition to our preparation campaigns, we deploy teams where they are required. I will pay particular attention to incident reports and raise matters as appropriate with our agencies and local authorities to ensure that any disruption to roads is minimised and that safety is paramount.