Winter is coming: Edinburgh prepares for colder months

As the clocks are wound back and Guy Fawkes Night approaches, winter is well on its way, and Edinburgh is fully prepared for the colder months ahead.


Plans, which draw on decades of winter weather experience, are already in place, with a fleet of gritting lorries, snow ploughs and mini tractors serviced and ready to go, as well as more than 14,000 tonnes of grit stockpiled in anticipation of icy conditions.
This year, the service will benefit from new tracking technology enabling more efficient management of resources. Following a trial in 2016/17, telematics devices have been fitted to the entire winter weather fleet, allowing lorries and tractors to transmit their location and gritting operation, meaning teams can respond more quickly to the public.
In addition, the temperature of the city’s road network will be digitally logged throughout winter to create a thermal map, allowing for better gritter route planning in years to come.
Standby arrangements for treating roads, pavements and cycle routes are now in place 24 hours a day, while salt bins across the city are topped up and will be checked when necessary.
Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “The winter may be just beginning, but we never can tell what conditions it will bring – as we’ve seen in previous years - so it’s essential that we are well prepared.
“That’s why we’ve been busy planning for the months ahead, ensuring our fleet of winter weather vehicles are set to go, salt stocks are topped up and staff are trained. This year our gritters and tractors will also benefit from new telematic technology, meaning we can track and direct resources where they are most needed.
“And while we have everything in place to deal with severe weather, I would encourage the public to find out as much as they can about keeping safe and warm over the period too by visiting our web pages and following the Scottish Government’s Ready Scotland advice online.”
To supplement the core team, staff from across the Council have been recruited to its severe winter weather tactical response team to help keep the city moving should a weather emergency strike, fulfilling a variety of roles from information gathering to operational coordination of contractors.
Local farmers have also been enlisted, as in previous years, to support the Council's winter weather response by gritting rural routes and contracts are in place with external contractors should the Council need access to additional staff and equipment in extreme winter conditions.
The public can find out about priority road, cycle path and pavement gritting routes by visiting the Council website’s live winter weather pages which include an interactive map so that residents can locate their nearest salt bin.
If and when severe weather strikes, the Council will use its social media channels, website and local radio stations to keep residents updated on any impact on services.

  • 14,000 tonnes of salt stockpiled for use across the city. 
  • 19 mini-tractors, based at the three Roads Service depots, used for high ground pavements, city centre routes, cycle paths and local priority routes.
  • 30 gritting and snow plough lorries.
  • 615km of priority 1 road treated throughout the winter
  • 96 Edinburgh Roads Services staff working three shifts to treat roads
  • 54 staff from across the Council working three shifts to treat priority footways and cycle routes with mini-tractors (including staff from customer advisers, facilities, parks, housing, community safety, environmental wardens, project managers, cemeteries, rangers, IT, street cleansing etc) 

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