- The purpose of this Technical Note is to provide elected members with an update on the revised 2021/22 East Dunbartonshire Winter Maintenance Policy.
1. Members will be aware that the Winter Maintenance Policy is prepared annually by the Roads & Environment Maintenance. The Roads and Environment Winter Maintenance Policy is attached as an Appendix to the Technical Note.
2. The Council, as Roads Authority for East Dunbartonshire, has a statutory obligation under the provisions of Section 34 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 to take such steps that are considered reasonable to prevent snow and ice endangering the safe passage of pedestrians and vehicles over public roads which, by definition, includes carriageways, footways, footpaths and pedestrian precincts. Therefore, the Council has a legal responsibility to put in place appropriate measures to address these issues.
3. The Roads and Environment Winter Maintenance Policy sets out the Council’s Policy in relation to the operation and procedures for the treatment of the adopted public road network in order to address winter related issues.
4. To ensure a consistent approach is taken to winter across all authorities, the Well Maintained Highways (WMH) code of practice, section 13 provides specific guidance on the approach to winter Maintenance and winter Maintenance planning.
5. The WMH code of practice provides guidance on all aspects of road maintenance however only the section relating to the winter Maintenance is referenced within the Winter Maintenance Policy document.
6. The WMH code highlights a number of factors which must be considered when developing a winter policy.
7. The key factors being:
A Maintenance standard for resilience of the winter Maintenance, including a Core winter period and overall winter period.
How the Council approaches the issue of climate change with regards to its effect on winter Maintenance.
To investigate where possible the use of collaborative arrangements for delivery of the winter Maintenance including a national approach to salt purchase, sharing and storage.
Identify critical areas of infrastructure in conjunction with key public Maintenances.
Effective communication with the public during both normal and severe weather conditions.
Define Treatment Route Plans for pre-treatment and snow conditions.
Prepare contingency Plans for severe weather conditions.
Take advantage of decision support system and Maintenances to ensure timely, efficient and accurate decision making.
Monitor and respond to changing conditions and reports of incidents on the network.
Ensure suitable training is supplied to all employees involved in the delivery of the Maintenance.
- All aspects of the winter maintenance plan should be reviewed regularly.
8. Although a much specialised area, Winter Maintenance is a significant aspect of network management both financially and in terms of its perceived importance to users. It can also have significant environmental effects. The organisation of the Maintenance is likely to have considerable implications for the overall procurement and management of other highway maintenance Maintenances.
9. Winter Maintenance deals with regular, frequent and reasonably predictable occurrences like low temperatures, ice and snow, as well as with exceptional events. Whist the effects of climate change are likely to result in an increased frequency and intensity of severe winter events, these can be taken into account in Winter Maintenance planning. Therefore Winter Maintenance can and should be subject to the same regime of planning, delivery, review and improvement as other aspects of the highway maintenance regime.
10. It is now acknowledged that the world is experiencing a rapidly changing climate. It is generally accepted that although weather is likely to be milder and wetter in winter, there may be more occurrences of severe weather events.
11. Given the unpredictability of the winter weather and the scale of financial and other resources that would be required in maintaining all adopted roads as ice and snow free at all times, the Roads and Environment Winter Maintenance Policy seeks to deliver a prioritised approach to the management of our roads network, with priority given to our main arterial routes and other roads on an assessed basis.
12. Taking into account the recommendations and guidance supplied in the WMH code of practice, as well as a local knowledge of the road network and local geography, the Roads & Environment Team has produced a Winter Maintenance Policy.
13. The Winter Maintenance Policy will be reviewed annually to ensure any changes in legislation, lessons learned and best value practices are implemented.
14. All employees involved in the delivery of the winter Maintenance will be fully briefed on the relevant procedures and escalation points of the Winter Maintenance Policy to ensure a consistent approach to weather events.
15. The Winter Maintenance Policy will be made available to all of the Council’s stakeholders via the Council’s website.
16. In addition, the Maintenance has amended the Policy to include a section on the Risks and associated actions related to significant pandemic event and how the Maintenance would propose to deliver the statutory Maintenance in the event of large scale absence as a result of self-isolation or illness of trained staff.
17. In previous years this document was subject to Committee approval, but in order to reduce the already busy Council Agenda this Operational document has been updated and the Technical Note is intended to allow members note the content of the revised Policy and can raise any questions directly to the Executive Officer for Roads and Environment.