Pilot ice patrol fleet launched for Scotland's roads

Ice patrol vehicle
Image caption The new fleet has ice sensors which will give a more comprehensive picture of temperatures

A pilot fleet of new ice patrol vehicles has taken to the roads in an effort to improve Scotland's winter resilience.

The fleet of 15 vehicles equipped with mobile ice sensors was launched by Transport Minister Keith Brown.

The sensors provide real-time road surface and air temperatures for the vehicles' patrol routes.

The move is part of a six-point plan drawn up by the Scottish government to improve its response to harsh weather.

The plan was implemented in December after heavy snow and freezing temperatures led to gridlock on some of the country's busiest trunk routes.

Other measures under the plan include a new target response time of 30 minutes for priority routes, which will now be monitored by patrols, along with eight additional vehicles.

A total of 50 sensors have been ordered for new and current vehicles across all road operating companies at a cost of about £100,000.

Mr Brown said: "The new kits will provide additional real-time information about temperatures on the network, allowing for targeted response - which will now be made within 30 minutes for priority routes with high traffic volumes.

"These new measures will provide Transport Scotland and road operating companies with more tools to help tackle the effects of severe weather, keeping our road network moving and Scotland open for business."

The sensors will present a more comprehensive picture of temperatures across the network, and supplement the data collected by fixed sensors.

They will provide gritter drivers with real-time road surface and air temperatures, allowing them to identify and instantly treat localised cold spots.

Last month, the Scottish Ambulance Service announced it had invested in new ambulances and equipment to cope with adverse weather conditions.

It now has 10 new 4x4 accident and emergency vehicles based across Scotland.

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