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News / Petition seeking to get gritters out earlier

One of the council's snow ploughs in action.

TWO YOUNG women working at the Shetland Gas Plant have started an online petition urging the council to dispatch its fleet of gritters earlier so that commuters can get to work safely in wintry conditions.

Jodie Whitfield, from Voe, said road conditions have been treacherous on many mornings this winter.

Gritting Shetland’s main roads gets under way at 6am on frosty mornings but Whitfield and her colleague Anne Stewart, from Scalloway, said this was far too late for them and many others.

Whitfield said a considerable amount of people working for the oil industry at Sullom had to be driving north on untreated roads.

“The standard of service allowable by the SIC is not acceptable,” she said. “Shetland has ever-growing industries and working hours vary within each and every one of them. 

“The standard ‘gritting times’ does not apply any longer.  There have already been enough crashes during this year’s wintery period.  

“The council seem to get away with ignoring this discussion ever year as it is such a short period of time, and therefore it is forgotten about when the weather improves.”

Both stressed their campaign had absolutely nothing to do with individual gritter drivers, but was about urging the council to use more resources to make roads safer.

The level of winter maintenance was reduced back in 2014 following council cuts. But SIC transport and environment committee chairman Michael Stout said the level of service in island was still better than in other local authority areas.

“We will respond to the petition once it has been handed in, “ he said.

The petition can be found here.

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