Comhairle makes winter policies clear

WESTERN Isles Council has reiterated its revised policy on gritting and snow-clearing to the travelling and general public.

Malcolm Burr, Chief Executive, said this week: “A full review of the Comhairle’s Winter Maintenance Policy and Operational Plan was carried out earlier this year, and the Comhairle approved the new Policy and Plan in September.

The service provided in the past was simply no longer affordable and had resulted in significant overspending in the last two years. The policy provided a more enhanced level of service compared to other areas in the north of Scotland, and changes were accordingly necessary.

To summarise the new policy, gritting operations will not start until 0600 with the highest priority routes (Priority 1 and Priority 2) to be completed by 0730 and 0830 respectively with the lower priority routes (Priority 3 and Priority 4) being treated by 0930 and 1030 respectively.

In the event that the gritting of roads is required in the evening, generally only Priority 1 routes will be treated, with an intention of doing so by 1800. Only under exceptional circumstances will any other routes be gritted in the evening.

On Sundays and Local Public Holidays, only Priority 1 and Priority 2 routes will be gritted, in the mornings, starting at 0800 with completion by 0930 and 1030 respectively.

In common with the other days of the week, only Priority 1 routes will be treated by 1800; only under exceptional circumstances will any other routes be gritted in the evening.

Details of the policy and of the routes across the Western Isles are available on the Comhairle’s website at

The public are encouraged to familiarise themselves with how the details of the prioritisation of routes and the target treatment times affect them and their ability to travel to and from their homes.

The Comhairle’s Director of Technical Services, Iain Mackinnon, emphasised that, in accordance with the Comhairle’s legal responsibilities, the Comhairle shall: “Take steps as they consider reasonable to prevent snow and ice endangering the safe passage of pedestrians and vehicles over public roads”.

Mr Mackinnon confirmed that the terms of the Policy constitute what the Comhairle consider to be reasonable and emphasised that the travelling public are responsible for ensuring their own safety and that of their passengers when travelling in such conditions.

Do you think the Council’s decision on this matter is correct send us your comments via this story, or write a letter to the Stornoway Gazette at 10 Francis Street Stornoway, Isle of Lewis HS1 2XE. Alternatively contact the Gazette