Council leaders hails "fantastic" staff for coping with Arctic blast

WORKERS have been praised for "fantastic efforts" at East Dunbartonshire Council, which insists it is ready for further bouts of foul weather.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie has paid tribute to staff, many of whom walked to work to ensure vital services continued.

She said: "Over the past two weeks the conditions we experienced were the worst for decades and saw the whole country grind to a halt.

"But despite the conditions, our gritters continued to operate 24 hours a day to ensure that our primary routes were accessible and our home carers continued to deliver their vital services to the most vulnerable in our communities even during the worst of the frozen conditions."

Services delivered across the council area during the extreme conditions included:

* 10 gritting vehicles with 18 employees on rota, working round the clock

* 10 footway tractors with 16 employees on rota throughout the day

* More than 300 grit bins replenished on rotation throughout the area

* Over 60 employees clearing paths (including waste workers and grounds maintenance teams)

* 341km of roads on primary gritting routes (67 per cent) treated daily

* 54 facilities management employees clearing routes to schools

* 97 per cent of home carers reporting for work and delivering services to the vulnerable

* Average emergency heating call-outs rose to 479 for the fortnight (compared to 107 over the previous fortnight)

* Average emergency plumbing callouts rose to 270 (compared to 63 over the previous fortnight)

* Transport management employees shopping for and delivering supplies to customers they could not transport

Councillor Geekie said: "I have heard numerous stories of employees walking for miles when it was impossible to use their cars or public transport, to ensure they were able to get to work and carry out their jobs.

"Their efforts have been fantastic and have been hugely appreciated – they have ensured that vital services have been able to be delivered to our customers.

"Our customer contact centre was also fully operational throughout the adverse weather to respond to customer enquiries and our website was updated 24 hours a day.

"I know residents are frustrated when their areas are not on primary gritting routes or it is simply too dangerous to access bins with the refuse collection vehicles, but I would like to assure them that our response teams were working to full capacity to ensure priority routes were clear and that the most vulnerable in our community received the vital services they required.

"I have reviewed operations during this period and believe we have the resources and systems in place to continue to address any further adverse weather."