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The Highland Council Is Ready For Winter

12th October 2023

Photograph of The Highland Council Is Ready For Winter

The Highland Council's winter maintenance programme starts on 14 October 2023 and the Council is ready to treat - according to its policy - the 6,766km of roads for which it has responsibility.

Chair of the Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Ken Gowans said: "We have the supplies and resources in place to provide a winter service according to the Council's policy. Council roads and pavements are gritted as specified within the council's agreed winter maintenance policy. Details of the council's highland wide and local area gritting policies and maps are on the council's website at

"Service levels throughout the local Areas will remain, essentially, unchanged from last year. When required, and when weather conditions allow, operations, Monday to Saturday, start at 6am and continue until 9pm. There is no overnight service. On Sundays and days classed as public holidays a restricted service is provided which starts at 7am.

"When it comes to winter gritting, we are grateful for the great support we received last year from most members of the public who showed great awareness and understanding that when the snow comes, it comes all at once and services are always stretched at these times.

"We will continue to do what it can within our resources and policy however, I would encourage communities to come forward and apply for winter resilience assistance from the Council that will provide them with salt in grit bins or heaps and other equipment to take action in their local areas that are important to them."

Community groups, volunteer groups and individuals who require further information or are wanting to access the Winter Resilience Programme can contact their Area Roads Office by email or details are on the Council's website

The winter fleet mobilisation programme is complete and includes vehicle servicing and calibration of salt spreading equipment. The fleet includes 105 gritters, 42 footpath tractors and over 200 staff providing winter maintenance services.

The council can confirm it has adequate salt stocks for the region of 34,000 tonnes for the start of the main winter season and that there are no concerns about future provision of deliveries from the council’s supplier.

Cllr Gowans added a warning. He said: "Salting will not prevent roads from icing up in extreme conditions. This is particularly relevant on low traffic roads where there are insufficient vehicle movements to aid the interaction between the salt and the ice crystals so we urge drivers to be extra careful driving in these conditions."

• Driver should take account of prevailing weather and road conditions.

• Winter weather conditions within the Highlands can be very localised.

• Black ice can be a particular danger. You cannot see it and it can still be there even after treatment.

• Dawn frosts can also catch drivers unaware. At first light a clear sky will allow heat to radiate quickly from the road surface causing icy patches to form on wet or damp roads.

Staff involved in winter services provision at area level are trained in using the Council’s weather forecasting service. The forecasts are used each year to assist local decision-making on daily and longer term winter services actions.

Area Winter Maintenance Plans are set by Area Committees within Council strategy and budget allocated by the and Infrastructure Committee. The current Winter Maintenance Plans for each area are available on the Council’s website HERE

Trunk roads in Highland are the responsibility of Transport Scotland and their operators Bear Scotland.