Council to offer daily updates on how it’s handling winter weather

Residents across Dumfries and Galloway will be able to get daily updates on how severe weather conditions are being tackled this winter.

The council intends on keeping the public fully informed by posting a winter service action plan on its website each day.

People will even be able to track the location of gritters being deployed across the region under forward-thinking plans by the council’s roads team.

These proposals are included in the local authority’s Winter Service Plan for 2021/22, which is due to be discussed at the communities committee on Tuesday.

Council roads manager Mike Fawkes produced a report on the winter plan, which states: “Communication on winter operations is extremely important to inform the public with clear and up to date information.

“It is proposed for this winter that the winter service daily action plan will be placed on the council website to give the public advance information.

“In addition, the roads service will provide a website-based gritter tracking facility to further provide clear and concise information to the road users.

“Such information is already provided by the local trunk road operator and will provide more holistic information for road users.”

He added: “Customer services staff will, as far as possible, continue to deliver face to face, website, telephone and social media customer services to ensure that enquiries from members of the public and community representatives on the impact of weather conditions can be answered.”

Preparations are being made for the months of November through to April, with December until February considered the highest risk for severe weather conditions.

The council has already stocked up on salt for gritting across the region, and a pre-season starting stock level of 50 days’ worth of salt is to be maintained at all five depots in Castle Douglas, Dumfries, Lockerbie, Newton Stewart and Stranraer.

The trunk road network including the M74, A75, A76, A77, A701, A751 and A7 are the responsibility of Transport Scotland.

But the council’s roads service will continue to assist Transport Scotland and their operating companies in the event of any severe weather in a reciprocal arrangement.

Keeping schools open and operating normally is a priority, with the local authority recognising the impact on working parents and businesses if schools have to be closed in emergency circumstances.

Head teachers are authorised to make an emergency closure when the state of the weather or any other exceptional circumstance make it absolutely necessary in the best interests of the pupils.

However, the council winter plan states: “Parents should be made aware that there is a responsibility upon them to make sensible decisions on behalf of their children when weather conditions are severe.

“If they have concerns about their children travelling between home and school, they should ‘play safe’ and keep them at home, informing the school that they are doing so.”

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