Scotland

Winter weather preparations in place

Gritter Image copyright Scotland Transerv
Image caption Gritters have been out across the country to help in efforts to keep roads clear

Transport Minister Derek Mackay has inspected preparations to deal with winter weather as snow, ice and strong winds affected Scotland.

He visited a salt depot near Glasgow as gritters were out across the country.

Emergency services had to deal with "several" accidents on the A9 at the Drumochter Pass on Sunday.

Mr Mackay spoke to police, the Met Office, Traffic Scotland and road firms to ensure their response was as "co-ordinated and effective" as possible.

Gritters have already been out on trunk roads across the country in recent days in response to the winter conditions.

Mr Mackay saw salt being loaded onto some of the spreaders used by the Scotland Transerv team at Polmadie.

'Difficult conditions'

He said: "While this weather is not unusual in Scotland at this time of year, some areas are seeing their first snowfall of the season.

"A wide range of agencies and organisations are working together to implement their response plans with the aim of keeping disruption in difficult conditions to a minimum.

"The efforts being made by the team here at Scotland Transerv are being replicated by the trunk road operating companies across the country and the focused response to weather events will continue throughout the winter."

Image copyright Traffic Scotland
Image caption The A9 was affected by snowfalls on Sunday with a number of accidents reported

He said more salt was in stock than was used in the whole of last year and winter control rooms were ensuring routes were being treated and patrolled where and when needed.

Mr Mackay said motorists could see where gritters would be in operation via a map on the Traffic Scotland website with the latest information on its Twitter feed, smartphone app and internet radio.

"The Scottish government's annual preparedness campaign, Ready for Winter, is a good reminder of the simple actions we can all take to be prepared," he said.

"It urges motorists to check conditions before they travel, leave some extra time for their journeys and make sure their vehicle is well maintained with an emergency kit."

A Met Office yellow "be aware" warning of snow and ice remains in place across most of Scotland until lunchtime on Monday.

A further alert of winds of up to 70mph for the whole country has been issued starting at 00:15 on Wednesday and running until 06:00 on Thursday.

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