Council answers Bute road treatment criticism

Argyll and Bute Council has provided information on its pre-treatment and reactive treatment of Bute's roads network.
Argyll and Bute Council has provided information on its pre-treatment and reactive treatment of Bute's roads network.

Argyll and Bute Council has outlined its approach to treating Bute’s road network in winter after concerns were raised by readers of The Buteman that some parts of the island were left untreated in advance of this week’s spell of cold weather.

High Street, Barone Road, Ballochgoy, the Bush and Crichton Road in Rothesay, plus Ardmory Road in Ardbeg and pavements all over the island, were some of the areas readers said had not been treated after we received complaints that not enough of the island’s road network had been gritted in advance of the low temperatures of Tuesday, November 19.

Following those initial complaints, we asked the council for details of its Bute winter road treatment programme, and a spokesperson pointed us in the direction of the authority’s winter road maintenance policy - which states, among much else, that the council “doesn’t do any pre-treatment of pavements”, spreading grit only “in hazardous conditions when there is frost, ice, snow and it is persistent”.

The policy also gives details of the pre-treatment routes and priority areas for reactive treatment of pavements.

The spokesperson continued: “The Winter Service Policy states the hierarchy of roads and footways with respect to pre-emptive and reactive treatments.

“It should be noted that we pre-treat 52 per cent by length of the adopted road network as a whole throughout Argyll and Bute. However the Bute-specific proportion of pre-treatment of the adopted network is 80 per cent, with just mainly the urban residential network left as reactive treatment.

“All footways are reactive treatments, as resources become available and as deemed efficient and necessary in the forecast for several days ahead.”

We also asked whether the council’s approach to roads maintenance on Bute had changed this year, and if so what was the driving force behind that change.

In response we were told: “This year there has been a slight change in that we now have a road closure protocol. This simply formalises what has been normal practice for some years.

“The philosophy behind the Winter Service Policy is unchanged and remains similar to the level of service agreed since 2006, this is based on the national ‘Well Maintained Highways’ code of practice.”

Finally we asked where the council’s own Eaglesham House office fitted in to its winter treatment programme, after being told the approaches to the building had not been treated in advance of Tuesday’s cold weather, and were told: “All council premises have a responsible officer who will make arrangements for treating steps, pathways and any other issues as required.”