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News / Council says it’s cold enough to grit

SHETLAND Islands Council has promised to grit all side roads after drivers throughout the isles complained about being stuck on thick ice.

Last Friday protests started pouring into council offices after cars, truck and buses taking children to school were involved in a series of minor accidents on icy roads, and the complaints have continued ever since as the cold weather maintained its grip over the weekend and into Monday.

On Friday the council insisted its decision to stop gritting minor side roads as part of its spending review was not responsible for the icy roads, blaming rain for weashing away salt and then freezing.

However on Monday afternoon the council announced it would start gritting small side roads from Tuesday morning because of the severity of the ice, which is forecast to continue for the rest of the week.

Environment and transport committee chairman Allan Wishart said the decision was in line with the new policy set on 31 October and not the result of the public outcry.

“This has been triggered by the length of time that the adverse weather conditions have endured,” Wishart said.

“The policy states that if it persists for a number of days and there is no sign of it letting up then we will grit the roads.”

He added that there were no plans to review the new policy in light of recent events.

On Friday icy conditions saw drivers lose control of their vehicles and come off the road in several parts of Shetland, while even pedestrians were slipping and falling over.

NHS Shetland have confirmed that there has been a slight increase in the number of weather related injuries, especially on Friday and mostly on people’s own property.

In many of the smaller roads over the past few days the ice has compacted and made it impossible for vehicles to travel, stranding some people at home.

Shetland is currently on yellow alert for snow and ice on Tuesday.

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