Community support to tackle the snow

Councillor Eileen Durno says communities have to be prepared for a repeat of last winter's snow
Councillor Eileen Durno says communities have to be prepared for a repeat of last winter's snow

Communities in Deeside are to be given more power over snow-clearing operations.

It follows discussions between Banchory and Mid Deeside councillor Eileen Durno and Aberdeenshire Council officials.

A paper was prepared for the infrastructure services committee meeing last Thursday which will now extend the snow warden scheme and give community groups access to grit spreaders and relevant protection equipment.

There was widespread concern last winter that the severity of the conditions was greater than the council’s resources were able to manage and left many communities exposed with relatively few grit treatments.

The cost to Aberdeenshire of the snow clearing operation amounted to more than £7 million, which culminated in measures to deal with the effects of the Beast from the East, which brought heavy snow and freezing temperatures throughout the area in February.

Councillor Durno said: “Local community groups are being asked to do more to support themselves but they often don’t have the resources to let them do it.

“We had a particularly severe winter last year and we have to be prepared in case we have similarly bad conditions again.

“I have been talking to officers regarding expanding the snow warden scheme and it looks like they have listened because it seems communities will be given more resources to keep their pathways clear.

“The council gritters obviously focus on primary, priority roads but every road is a priority for someone and it is important that local residents have the resources to keep themselves safe in the winter months.”

There will be greater communication with community councils to publicise the scheme, guidance and improved identification of the nearest grit bins.

The local authority also aims to improve its communication strategy in winter months with an increased social media presence and more localised information, and gritter tracking information to give people an indication of which roads have received treatment and the status of gritting lorries in real time.