Aberdeen City Council’s winter roads budget could be extended should the weather be worse than anticipated, councillors have been told.
It comes as a budget of more than £1.5 million was agreed by councillors on the local authority’s operational delivery committee yesterday to deliver this year’s winter roads plan.
It was previously revealed the budget would only be able to cope with a mild season yet forecasters have predicted the coldest in more than 30 years.
Council roads chiefs told councillors that a report would be presented to them in November asking for permission to extend the budget, should the weather be worse than anticipated.
Convener of the committee, John Wheeler, told the Evening Express that “contingency money” is available for any “emergency situations or unexpected expenditure” which may be required during winter.
The council spent £1.7m in 2018-19, £2.3m in 2017-18 and £1.6m in 2016-17, showing the final cost to the local authority is heavily dependent on actual conditions experienced during the winter. Salt levels have been taken back up to 9,411 tonnes and this will be topped up with regular deliveries throughout the winter.
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The city council’s transport spokeswoman Sandra Macdonald said the local authority has a “robust plan” in place for dealing with the city’s roads during the winter.
She added: “We’re certainly as prepared as we can be.
“We can never tell what the elements are going to throw at us.
“But I feel reassured that there is a robust plan in place and, should there be any necessary adjustments, they will be made – including budget adjustments.”
Roads bosses have warned it is not feasible to salt every road, pavement and cycleway around the city at the same time so they are prioritised, with main routes given top priority.
The report to committee said brine and de-icing chemicals have been trialled as a precautionary treatment at locations in the city centre and on cycleways. These trials have been successful, with benefits including the elimination of salt spread into shops and private properties, and the treatment remaining effective for longer than hard salt.
Meanwhile, the local authority is continuing its policy of not issuing any additional salt bins this winter, claiming it is a labour-intensive operation which adds to restocking problems. Instead, people are encouraged to apply for one-tonne community salt bags before November 1, for using on communal roads and pavements in their area.
In a new development this year, the public will be able to visit the city council’s website to see where road gritters are as the vehicles have been fitted with tracking devices.