Scottish government’s trialling of new road salting solutions to prevent icy build-ups on Scottish roads are welcome, but measures needs to go further, warns the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
Chris MacRae, FTA’s Head of Policy for Scotland, said:
"We welcome continuing efforts by Scottish government, Transport Scotland and their delivery partners to look at methods of combating any repeat of the extreme weather problems that caused so much difficulty for Scotland’s supply chains pre-Christmas."
"However, an all-embracing review of all the failings and the successes over the last two months is needed so all the lessons can be learned. The scale of disruption faced by Scotland’s supply chain in the pre-Christmas snowfall was unprecedented and many companies are still counting the costs."
Scottish government is also pressing ahead with a cost benefit assessment of the fitting of ‘winter tyres’ to HGVs and other vehicles. But it is important that this small part of winter preparedness does not become the focus of Scottish government’s entire solution.
"While FTA is happy to help inform the debate, we remain a bit concerned that this assessment by government should not become just a focus on winter tyres as if it is some form of silver bullet to the issue of snow or ice on roads – because it isn’t. We still want to see a holistic review of the lessons from last winter for government, its agencies and the different parties to Scotland’s multi-modal supply chain. Through the multi-modal supply chain membership of FTA we are uniquely placed to assist in this."
In the initial phase of snow disruption in Scotland, government had suggested that HGVs could be parked up in case they ‘jack-knifed’ on snow or ice. But with lorries making essential deliveries, industry battled to persuade policy makers that doing so would be untenable if the economy was to keep moving.
"Following regular meetings with ministers, FTA is satisfied that its views are receiving an appropriate level of attention. FTA’s jack-knifing and winter tyres surveys, for example, will help inform Scottish government future severe weather protocol and encourage a rational debate as opposed to a kneejerk response."