Fears of shortage of gritter drivers in East Dunbartonshire this winter

East Dunbartonshire Council has expressed concern over a “potential shortage of gritter drivers” this winter.

Gritter truck

Council boss Ann Davie told the Herald that although the local authority does not presently rely on outside contractors, shortages may become an issue.

She said the council plan to provide HGV training to road staff to help ensure roads are kept free of snow and ice if the worst happens.

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But she added that they could not rule out having to ask for assistance from other local authorities or seek other external support.

A recent Road Haulage Association (RHA) survey of its members estimates there is now a shortage of more than 100,000 qualified HGV drivers in the UK.

That number includes thousands of drivers from European Union (EU) member states who were previously living and working in the United Kingdom.

In a statement on Monday, Ms Davie, the Depute Chief Executive, said: “The Council's gritting service is provided by the drivers already within the Roads Service team.

"We do not currently rely on drivers from outwith East Dunbartonshire Council.

"These drivers are trained roads operatives, who also hold the required HGV license to operate gritters, rather than operatives whose sole responsibility is driving gritting vehicles.”

She added: "Potential shortages - which are not unique to East Dunbartonshire - are still of concern to the Council, and may become an issue in the future.

"However, we plan to provide HGV training to a selection of our current roads employees to ensure continuity of service in both our roads maintenance and winter gritting operations.

"Let me assure residents that we have salt supplies stored in our salt dome.

" Our highly experienced teams will be on standby throughout the winter to keep roads and pavements as snow and ice-free as we possibly can.

"Whilst we were able to deliver all gritting last year without the need to call on external contractors, our gritters are fitted with route navigation and automated gritting equipment to provide resilience should we ever need to call on other drivers across the authority or external support to assist."