West Lothian Council has plans in place that aim to reduce the impact that adverse weather may have on communities.
The council invests over £2.3million each year to carry out winter related duties and services are as prepared as they can be. The council has 30,000 tonnes of salt available for the winter period, which is about three times the amount that is needed for a normal winter.
The council also has a significant fleet of vehicles equipped to tackle winter conditions, such as gritters, multi-purpose vehicles and mini-tractors.
This year, the council has put in place a £1million winter resilience fund which will help provide extra resources over the next three winter periods. The funds will be used to boost the council's resources should the weather be severe. The funding will enable the council to create a small dedicated team to replenish grit bins on an ongoing basis which will speed up the time taken to re-fill bins when they are empty. However, the council is reminding residents that in periods of severe weather, public grit bins can be emptied within a few hours and it is important to remember that this additional resource will not have the ability to meet that level of demand. Residents are therefore urged to purchase their own supply of salt/grit for their own homes and paths in advance.
This year, the council has provided 25 self-help salt pick-up points in locations across West Lothian.
Jim Jack, the council's head of operational services said: "Forward planning means that West Lothian is well-prepared to tackle the impact of severe weather this winter. Other services across the council are also prepared to ensure essential services can still be delivered in the event of severe weather, which can include freezing temperatures, high winds and flooding as well as snow and ice.
"We have trained staff and a significant fleet of vehicles ready to be deployed when necessary. Our winter service has already begun and it's vitally important that all residents take the necessary and proportionate steps to ensure that they are also prepared for winter."
Executive councillor for the environment, Tom Conn said: "I wish all the teams well as we enter the winter period. They do a tremendous job in tough conditions and I know that the local community appreciate their hard work and efforts.
"We understand the frustration that severe winter weather can bring and the council will always look to assist communities where we can. As a council, we are facing huge reductions in our budget, but we continue to invest heavily in our winter services and further investment has been set aside for our winter services this year."
More ideas for how to prepare are available on the council's website at Gritting and Winter Maintenance