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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-14173: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 29 January 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the social and economic benefits of clearing and salting pavements and cycle ways during periods of adverse weather.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 15 February 2018

The impacts of disruptive winter weather on transport cover a wide spectrum – from the direct economic costs of lost output if people cannot get to work and of freight vehicle delays, to the personal time lost from travel delays and journeys not made at all, additional road vehicle collisions, the personal impact of slips, trips and falls, as well as the costs to the health service, hardship endured by those dependent on access by carers and service providers, and other categories.

Footways, footpaths and cycle facilities alongside the trunk road network are organised into three categories: A, B and C. These categories are based on a wide range of factors including location, pedestrian flow, social inclusion and accessibility.

Salt treatments are undertaken on all Category A footways, footpaths and cycle facilities when temperatures are forecast to fall to less than or equal to 1 degree Celsius, or when snow conditions are expected.

Category A and B footways are required to be cleared of snow and ice by 8 am, or within two hours of snow ceasing to fall during the period 6 am hours to 6 pm. Category C footways are to be cleared of snow and ice by 5 pm the following weekday.

In 2014, Transport Scotland (TS) outlined an approach to better understand the economic welfare impact that occurred in the country during the winter of 2010-11. The results stated clearly the benefit of well-targeted investment in winter maintenance activities, however, there were key data gaps with judgement employed. Whilst this currently does not include footways and cycleways, the same principles apply.

This research has been ongoing for the past three years and the information elicited from this analysis has given a clearer indication of the saving made through current levels of investment in winter maintenance activities and provided an understanding of individual event performance as well as macro level network details.

Further analysis of the results is ongoing during winter 2017-18 and will offer some insights into how the data can be used for planning and investment decisions.