Scottish Transport minister preparing for winter


An icebreaker has been purchased by the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland from Scandinavia to deal with hard packed ice on roads this winter to keep Scotland moving should a third consecutive big freeze strike.

The icebreaker will become one more tool in what is now a small army of hundreds of winter road clearing vehicles including: snow ploughs, snow blowers, gritters and tractors.  Should it be necessary, a number of farmers with tractors are on stand-by and are ready to lend aid.

Transport minister Keith Brown, already preparing for the worst, kicked off his winter roads preparedness planning with ‘Exercise Polar Storm’ in September to test Scotland’s readiness for another big freeze.  Mr Brown says that everyone must prepare for a possible repeat of the past two winters. 

Mr Brown said: “We have to be prepared for any eventuality.  The watchword is to be as responsive as possible.”

Amey and BEAR Scotland, two of the firms responsible for motorway and trunk road maintenance for Transport Scotland, are using infrared cameras and ice patrol vehicles for the first time this winter to provide faster information about weather conditions for the relevant authorities and road users.

Amey (Glasgow and the south-west) has a stockpile of 21,000 tonnes of de-icing material – a vast increase in stock compared to last winter.  BEAR (Edinburgh, the south-east and the north east) has 31,000 tonnes, twice the quantity they had last winter.

Both Amey and BEAR say they are confident preparations have made to keep traffic moving this winter.