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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-04476: Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 3 November 2016

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide details of its winter preparedness plans.

Answered by: John Swinney 16 November 2016

The variability in Scotland’s weather means that we must be prepared to manage the impacts of a variety of severe weather conditions throughout the year. In the face of such changeability, the Scottish Government works closely with local authorities and key resilience stakeholders to ensure robust resilience arrangements are in place all year round.

There are 3 Regional Resilience Partnerships in Scotland, covering the East, West and North of the country. Together they build strong and mutually supportive relationships between the emergency services and responder community, including utility companies and the voluntary sector, which enable them to prepare for and respond to emergencies in a co-ordinated way. These arrangements come to the fore during any period of severe weather. They proved extremely beneficial in terms of information sharing and co-ordination at the start of the year when storms Abigail, Desmond, Frank and others brought repeated and prolonged challenges to communities across much of the country. Each partnership has made extensive preparations for the winter period, to ensure adequate arrangements are in place.

This work is supported by Scotland’s national resilience marketing campaign, which launched earlier this month. The campaign focusses on raising awareness of the measures that the public can take to be risk aware, to be well prepared, and to be a good neighbour to people around them who might find coping with wintry conditions particularly challenging. Just like Scotland’s broader resilience arrangements, it is delivered in close partnership with a wide range of organisations, in the public, private and third sectors. Key partners include Scotland’s local authorities, other emergency responders, and, of course the Met Office. This year the name of the campaign has been changed from “Ready for Winter” to “Ready Scotland”, in order to better reflect the need for year-round preparedness. I would encourage the public to go to ReadyScotland.org for advice about how best to prepare for and cope with severe weather conditions over the coming months.

Transport Scotland’s Multi-Agency Response Team arrangements enable a strategic overview of event and incident handling for severe weather and other challenges to the country’s transport infrastructure. This is a joint process with Police Scotland and includes trunk road operating companies, rail operators, the Met Office and others, as well as seconded personnel from Police Scotland and the Met Office to enhance closer partnership working.

I would also encourage people to sign up to tools such as Floodline and consult the Traffic Scotland website when planning to travel.