Although we know that severe weather will cause disruption, the Government has taken a wide range of steps to improve our resilience to the challenges of winter, to mitigate its impacts and to recover our transport networks and businesses and get daily life back to normal as quickly as possible. That has been done in partnership with public, private and third sector partners, and has included new investment, development and innovation, all learning the lessons from recent winters. Plans are in place to cover the three concurrent risks for this winter: Covid-19, European Union exit and winter preparedness.
During the past week, Scotland has faced severe snowfalls in some parts of the country. I thank all the staff who have worked to keep the country moving. What part have local councils played in ensuring that there has been minimal disruption to the roads network?
While Scotland’s 32 local authorities are responsible for all winter service operations within their own jurisdictions, roads authorities often work in partnership. Following early forecasts of the severe weather that we have experienced in recent weeks, winter partners at the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers, along with Transport Scotland, have been holding extraordinary winter maintenance meetings to discuss preparations and to offer mutual aid, where appropriate. They have also been looking at salt supplies and maintenance of public access to our vaccination centres.
That goes to show the vital role that our local councils play in making sure that we minimise disruption to our roads during periods of adverse weather. I echo Richard Lyle’s thanks to all the roads crews, who have worked extremely hard in what have been very severe conditions over a prolonged period.