Transport chief to work all night as Scotland freezes

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Keith Brown
Image caption,
Keith Brown said he wanted to "keep Scotland on the move"

Scotland's new transport minister has said he plans to work round the clock to help prevent further travel chaos.

With forecasters predicting more heavy snowfall, Keith Brown will spend Wednesday night in Transport Scotland's control room in Glasgow.

Keith Brown became the new Scottish transport minister on Sunday following his predecessor's resignation.

Stewart Stevenson quit the post over the way he handled the problems caused by last week's severe weather.

The heavy snowfall caused gridlock on Scotland's roads last week, with thousands stuck overnight.

Mr Brown published a six-point plan on Tuesday aimed at keeping the country moving if the severe weather strikes again.

He said: "Forecasts for later this week predict more wintry weather, and we want to take every possible step to ensure that we keep Scotland on the move."

Group response

Measures include storing salt and grit at key locations on the road network for quicker access, and the possibility of removing the central barriers on roads to allow easy access to vehicles that are blocking the carriageway.

It was also revealed that a special group, including police, road operating companies, Transport Scotland and ScotRail, will be set up to respond to any more severe weather.

A spokesman for ScotRail said they were planning for the return of the freezing weather to ensure they run "as many services as possible".

A Transport Scotland spokesman confirmed Mr Brown was not planning to sleep on the job.

He said: "He will be anchored in the Transport Scotland control room on Wednesday evening and will be there all through the night.

"We're expecting the weather situation to deteriorate overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning."

He added: "The Transport Scotland control room is very much at the heart of the preparations in terms of having all the key agencies based there."

Arctic air

The spokesman said Mr Brown had already spent a "substantial amount" of time in the control room since taking on the job and would be staying on Wednesday night "in order to ensure that he is on top of the situation".

Rain and snow is expected to spread southwards across Scotland early on Thursday, with widespread ice developing for morning rush hour.

Severe weather warnings have been issued by the Met Office, which expects cold Arctic air to bring temperatures down to as low as -10C.

Winds from the north look set to bring a band of rain and high winds on Thursday, immediately followed by snow.

Up to 20cm (8in) of snow is expected to fall in parts of Scotland by Friday evening.

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