Councils 'prepared for winter'

Councils in Scotland are well-equipped to deal with any emergency should this winter turn out to be as severe as last year's, First Minister Alex Salmond has told MSPs.

Local authorities will have access to an emergency salt stock of more than 30,000 tonnes and they are prepared to enlist offenders doing community service to help clear up roads if required, he said.

Mr Salmond said the councils had delivered a "good performance" last year, but insisted that "no-one is resting on their laurels and they are looking at lessons that can be learned to improve performance if we are hit once again by an exceptional winter".

He was responding to questions in the Scottish Parliament about preparations for the winter and measures in place to keep road safe.

The First Minister said: "A report commissioned by Scottish ministers on the lessons learned from last winter was published in August and included 11 recommendations, which are being progressed jointly with local authority partners.

"These include the monitoring of salt stock supplies across Scotland and the establishment of a strategic salt stock. This will provide over 30,000 tonnes of extra salt which can be accessed in an emergency."

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