The Winter Service forms an integral part of the management and maintenance of Stirling Council’s road network. Stirling Council, by virtue of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984, has a statutory duty to take such steps as it considers reasonable to prevent snow and ice or indeed the consequences of any other weather condition endangering the safe passage of vehicular and pedestrian traffic over the Councils public roads.
The intention of this duty is not that Stirling Council will take immediate and simultaneous steps to clear/treat every road whenever ice formations or snow accumulations, floods, fallen trees or other impediments exist. To do so would be impossible and beyond the limit of the resources available and, indeed, this is recognised by the Courts. The Council therefore prepares a plan of action, setting out how it intends to treat ice and snow in a reasonable and logical manner. Flooding events and the management of flooding is also covered by the action plan that was initially agreed by Stirling Council in February 2007.
In order to deal efficiently and effectively with Winter Service delivery, operations need to be planned in a systematic manner and it is essential that a policy and procedures, with clearly defined priorities, is established. The objective is to provide a Winter Service that will permit the safe movement of all road users, including pedestrians, whilst minimising effects on the environment and the consequences of adverse weather conditions to the national and local economy and all related influences on inhabitants of the country.
Stirling Council’s Operations Service is responsible for providing the Winter Service, on public adopted Roads and other identified routes, within the Stirling Council area.
The Winter Service comprises the following types of treatment:
The treatment of the snow and ice conditions is generally carried out in accordance with the Well Managed Highway Infrastructure: A Code of Practice (October 2016) from UK Roads Liaison Group.
The principal Winter Maintenance period covered will extend from Friday 15th October 2021 to the morning of Friday 15th April 2022. However, cover will be available, at short notice, out with this period, should weather conditions so necessitate.
Operational cover will be available on a 24-hour basis, with Operations Services employees covering normal working hours. Duty Officers will work on a two week “lead in” period from mid-October, and a two week ‘lead out’’ period concluding in the first two weeks of April each year, and will respond appropriately if there is adverse conditions forecasted. Outside of these dates should conditions remain adverse, then additional action may be taken.
The Council’s Winter Service, which has been established for the execution and control of winter treatment, for the forthcoming winter period, is set out in this document.
The Council’s policy statement in relation to winter treatment is;
The reduction, as far as reasonably practicable, of the effects of adverse weather conditions on the movement of people and vehicles, to permit safe travel on the more important roads, within the Stirling Council area.
The Council will determine the appropriate level of treatment or standards of treatment in accordance with the relative importance of any particular carriageway, footway or footpath in its network.
The Senior Manager of Environment & Place will endeavour to limit the level of expenditure provided in the annual revenue budget. However, prevailing weather conditions will determine the actual level of expenditure. The Senior Manager of Environment & Place will provide regular updates, to the Council, of the actual expenditure incurred.
The Council will provide a Winter Service for a period of at least 25 weeks from 15th October 2021 to 15th April 2022.
Carriageways will receive treatment based on the following priority category:
Scottish Executive provides a Winter Service for trunk roads and motorways, which run through the Council area.
BEAR Scotland, the current Term Contractors carry out treatments on the A9, A82, A84 & A85, M9 (Keir Roundabout South) and the M80 which includes any interchange, roundabouts and slip roads. (Telephone Number 0800 587 1107).
Stirling Council have agreements with each adjacent local authority to ensure that arrangements at the road boundary of the Council is dealt with in the most efficient and cost effective manner. This may result in other authorities carrying out Winter Services within Stirling Council area and Stirling operations working outside its boundaries. Each arrangement is covered by a Memorandum of Understanding between each authorities.
These routes shall normally receive precautionary salt treatment between 5.30am and midnight and;
The roads treated to priority 1 standard are set out in the route maps that form part of this document.
(Where the cumulative number of vehicles is within 5% of the threshold value then a 5 day (Weekday) average will be used to determine the winter service priority.)
These routes will comprise of roads where the 24 hour cumulative daily average flow (both ways) is greater than 600 vehicles.
These routes will only receive precautionary salting, and any treatment of ice or snow when a specific instruction to do so is given by the Duty Manager, who has to be satisfied that the following criteria are met:
These are the identified Tertiary Routes where the cumulative daily average (both ways) is greater than 400 vehicles per day.
A route through, or in and out of, each Council car park, where practical. Includes the shortest practical route from a road gritted in any priority group, e.g. Station Road for Station Car Park, Bridge of Allan.
Treatment of ice conditions on footways, and footpaths, will only be carried out between the times (5.30 to 16.00hrs).
The treatment of footways and footpaths may have to be locally curtailed, due to the obstruction caused by wheelie-bins, on collection days. This situation will be most acute where mini-tractor equipment is used to treat footways. Due to the random nature of this eventuality the Council will only return once the wheelie-bins have been removed from the footways to carry out the required treatment.
The footways and footpaths to be treated in the following sequence.
Footways and footpaths will be cleared, when snow exists unless specific information indicates that a thaw will take place before 8.00am.
These will only be treated in very exceptional weather conditions and when resources permit. Treatment will require authorisation by the Duty Manager.
Note: Link footpaths will not be treated where alternative, albeit longer footway, routes are available.
The Council will provide salt bins, for the storage of 50/50 salt/grit mix. Bins will be placed at various identified locations, throughout the Council area. . Bins will be provided, as follows:
Community salt bins will be provided to communities that are not served by existing salt bin provision and do not meet salt bin provision criteria. These are generally communities where gradient and geometric difficulty is not an issue. Locations of community salt bins will be identified through local community resilience plans and coordinated via the Emergency Planning team. These will be located at strategic locations where there is suitable safe access and egress for the delivery and collection of salt. A community salt bin may be provided for each area up to a maximum of two per 1 sq. kilometer.
Salt/Grit piles would be placed in rural road verges once a severe weather warning has been issued. Salt/grit piles would be placed predominately on bends, junctions or steep sections of the adopted road network as local self-help facilities.
The Service is developing a range of performance indicators for the delivery of the Winter Service. These will be reported through the Council’s Bulletin at regular intervals during the winter period. The following are indicative indicators which will form the core of our performance reporting:
Stirling Council Operations Service is a member of the Tayforth Machinery Ring. The Tayforth Machinery Ring is a non-profit making member owned co-operative, formed in 1989. Its primary purpose is to encourage more efficient joint use of agricultural equipment and labour mainly between its farming and non-farming members. Contracts and supplies are arranged between members in Fife, Tayside and centrally located Councils in Scotland. Stirling Council can call upon this arrangement for additional resources such as excavators, loaders, front and rear mounted snow ploughs during times of extreme weather.
Stirling Council will supply snow ploughs to local farmers, located throughout the Council area, with suitable tractor units and who are members of the Tayforth Machinery Ring. Each farmer will sign an agreement to ensure they maintain the plough in good order at their expense. The ploughs will be subject to an annual inspection by a Tayforth Machinery Ring representative, who will provide feedback on results and any replacements required. The inspection sheets will be audited by a Stirling Council representative annually. In return the Council will hire the services of the farmer plus tractor and plough through the arrangements of the Tayforth Machinery Ring to plough snow from roads during extreme conditions. The hire arrangements will only be instructed if the Winter Service Duty Manager has been notified of impending severe weather warnings of snow from the Met Office and/or the Duty Manager considers that the extreme adverse weather will impact on the ability of the service to clear sections of the road network.
During rock salt shortages, extreme winter events or during periods where operational difficulties occur Stirling Council will work with Clackmannanshire and Falkirk Councils to share resources when demand and resources allow. Assistance will only be provided under this agreement if authorised by the Senior Manager of Environment & Place or their nominated representative.
During the Christmas and New Year Public Holidays, when priority route treatment will be carried out on a call-out only basis, unless weather conditions warrant there will be no pre-arranged stand-to or patrols. The Operations Manager will circulate details, in early December, of the rostering arrangements for the Christmas & New Year period.
As well as formal training from our weather forecaster, Duty Managers and Duty Officers will refer to Well Maintained Highways – Code of Practice Oct 2016 as additional guidance. The following notes and matrix give an insight into the decision making process for carriageways:
A suggested procedure for decision making, taking into account various operational scenarios is given in Table H2.
Training of decision making and management staff is important in making a rational decision. Although there is no formal qualification for Winter Service decision making and management available, staff should have a number of years‟ experience and have received a minimum level of training in operational and weather forecasting methods. Authorities should also conduct periodic exercising to test plans for responding to severe weather events.
|Road Surface Temperature||Precipitation||Predicted Road Conditions||Predicted Road Conditions||Predicted Road Conditions|
|May fall below 1°C||No rain
No hoar frost
|Salt before frost||Salt before frost (see note a)||No action likely, monitor weather (see note a)|
|Expected to fall below 1°C||No rain
No hoar frost
|Salt before frost||Salt before frost (see note a)||No action likely, monitor weather (see note a)|
|Expected to fall below 1°C||Expected hoar frost
|Salt before frost||Salt before frost (see note b)||Salt before frost (see note b)|
|Expected to fall below 1°C||Expected rain BEFORE freezing||Salt after rain stops (see note c)||Salt after rain stops (see note c)||Salt after rain stops (see note c)|
|Expected to fall below 1°C||Expected rain DURING freezing||Salt before frost, as required during rain and after rain stops (see note d)||Salt before frost, as required during rain and after rain stops (see note d)||Salt before frost, as required during rain and after rain stops (see note d)|
|Expected to fall below 1°C||Possible rain
Possible hoar frost
|Salt before frost||Salt before frost||Monitor weather conditions|
|Expected snow||Salt before snow fall||Salt before snow fall||Salt before snow fall|
The decision to undertake precautionary treatments should be, if appropriate, adjusted to take account of residual salt or surface moisture.
All decisions should be evidence based, recorded and require continuous monitoring and review.
(a) Particular attention should be given to the possibility of water running across carriageways and other running surfaces e.g. off adjacent fields after heavy rains, washing off salt previously deposited. Such locations should be closely monitored and may require treating in the evening and morning and possible other occasions.
(b) When a weather warning contains reference to expected hoarfrost, considerable deposits of frost are likely to occur. Hoarfrost usually occurs in the early morning and is difficult to cater for because of the probability that any salt deposited on a dry road too soon before its onset, may be dispersed before it can become effective. Close monitoring is required under this forecast condition which should ideally be treated just as the hoarfrost is forming. Such action is usually not practicable and salt may have to be deposited on a dry road prior to and as close as possible to the expected time of the condition. Hoarfrost may be forecast at other times in which case the timing of salting operations should be adjusted accordingly.
(c) If, under these conditions, rain has not ceased by early morning, crews should be called out and action initiated as rain ceases.
(d) Under these circumstances rain will freeze on contact with running surfaces and full pre-treatment should be provided even on dry roads. This is a most serious condition and should be monitored closely and continuously throughout the danger period.
(e) Weather warnings are often qualified by altitudes in which case differing action may be required from each depot.
(f) Where there is any hint of moisture being present, a pessimistic view of the forecast should be taken when considering treatment to negatively textured surfaces.
Supplementary guidance from NWSRG Section Seven – Winter Service Decision Making (2020) provides information on consistent decision making. This can be downloaded from https://nwsrg.org/7-winter-service-decision-making
The Winter Service policy does not prioritise the treatment of many residential and side roads or footways. Indeed, during severe weather, there can be periods when most or all resources are targeted at the main routes and it may not be possible to clear the snow routes or the lower priority areas for several days. To help fill this gap, the Council would seek to engender a sense of civic responsibility for local communities to act in their locality.
Salt bins are located throughout the area in key locations allowing residents to distribute salt as required.
Community groups may have resources that can sometimes be deployed during adverse conditions. Assistance is available for preparing in advance for periods of adverse conditions, and feedback is used in reviewing service provision. Assistance may be offered and provided to these groups by placement of grit bins at the request of a Community Group subject to safe sites being identified. Community bins are the responsibility of the Community Group.
Delivery of salt supplies by request of Community Groups for use by the community locally and in community bins grit bins.
In advance of each winter season the Community Groups are contacted to establish if they have any new requests for grit bins and how much salt they need delivering at the start of the season. Additional deliveries can be made during the season as resources allow. Further supplies may be available during the season.
Elected members have contact with their local communities and during adverse conditions the
information that they receive is of value in evolving provision of winter service. This information is used and assessed during each annual review that is carried out before the start of the next season.
Based on national guidance issued by the Scottish Government advice is available to householders and communities on Clearing Snow and Ice: