Council gets winter ready

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South Ayrshire Council has been hard at work getting ready for winter this year.

Last year, between December 2010 and January 2011, the Council’s full complement of gritting vehicles ventured out a total of 314 times, using 4,341 tonnes of salt – equivalent to 550 double-decker buses to deal with the unprecedented severe weather.

Councillor Peter Convery, Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment said: “Our new winter maintenance programme stood the test of last year’s winter, but we’re already looking ahead to the coming winter.

One of the ways we’re doing this is by signing up as partners to the Scottish Government’s “Ready for Winter” campaign launched in response to the extreme weather we experienced last year.”

The Government’s research showed that the majority of people are concerned about the prospect of severe weather and most don’t feel prepared for an emergency situation.

Many people said they would welcome information and advice on how to prepare and the Council is supporting this in South Ayrshire by helping to remind individuals and families of the risks and consequences of being under prepared for the impact of severe winter weather.

Councillor Convery continued: “In addition to the winter road maintenance pages on our website, which offer up to the minute advice on weather conditions, safer driving, routes being gritted, grit bin locations and a 24 hour emergency helpline, we’re adding a web page to help people stay safe and sound in their homes, cars and in the community.

“This will link to the Government’s ‘Ready for Winter’ pages with a whole host of practical advice on how to prepare, what to take on journeys, how to stay warm, how to look out for your neighbour and much more.”

Posters, leaflets, stickers and a handy booklet are now available from County Buildings, Burns House and Carnegie Library, but all of this information can be accessed easily online.

The campaign messages are that people, families and communities can do a few small things, to save a lot of trouble later, such as looking out for neighbours, and clearing their own paths and access ways from snow and ice.

Other ideas include having a winter plan, agreeing emergency contacts, preparing an emergency bag, getting homes and businesses ready, and making sure their car is all set for the worst of winter weather.

Councillor Convery concluded: “We learned a great deal from the severity of last winter’s exceptional weather and, although we will not take Mother Nature for granted, the Council is well prepared and ready for winter 2011/12 and we want our residents to be just as prepared.