Published 21 November 2019

West Dunbartonshire Council’s six gritters have new names – thanks to the creative talents of the area’s schoolchildren.

Pupils were asked last month to get their thinking caps on and enter the Council competition to name the trucks.

After receiving hundreds of entries, the winning titles were Plougher of Scotland, from Ross Wardrop in S3 at Our Lady & St Patricks; Gritty Gritty Bang Bang, from Aimee Reid in S3 at Vale of Leven Academy; Darth Salter, from Amy McColl in S5 at Vale of Leven Academy; The Gritonator from Sophie Deeley in P5 at St Stephen’s Primary;  Auntie Slip from Alicia Glasgow in P5 at St Stephen’s Primary; and Gritty McGritterson from Eryn Fabiani in P7 at Balloch Primary School.

The newly-branded trucks will be out gritting West Dunbartonshire’s roads all through winter.

The winning pupils were invited along to Elm Road Depot, along with Councillor Iain McLaren, Councillor Marie McNair, and Council Leader Councillor Jonathan McColl this week to see their named gritters in person, and receive a small prize for their efforts.

Councillor Iain McLaren, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “A big thank you to all the children who entered the competition, especially to our winners. It was extremely difficult to pick just six names as so many of the entries made us laugh.

“It was great to see the pupils at the depot today who were so excited and enthusiastic about seeing the name they chose on a gritter, as well as getting the chance to see how the gritter themselves work.

“As is the case every year, a lot of planning and preparation has gone into making sure the Council is ready for winter.

“Grit stocks have been replenished, and staff have the equipment  ready to deal with the worst of the weather.

“The workforce who maintain roads and footpaths are well prepared for all eventualities and I’m sure they will do a fantastic job again this year. Some disruptions are inevitable if severe weather hits, but we will do everything possible to ensure this is kept to a minimum.”

Councillor Marie McNair, Vice Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration & Economic Development, added: “Our Roads team work tirelessly every winter and this year will be no different. Often the weather can turn quickly and without much advance notice, which is why our teams ensure the primary road network is gritted to keep traffic moving. I would encourage all residents to bear in mind that journeys often take longer in bad weather and to plan extra time this winter. I would also encourage residents to think of what they can do to help in their area if the bad weather hits, including checking on any elderly or vulnerable neighbours.”

More than 4000 tonnes of rock salt is available to help keep West Dunbartonshire moving this winter.

Council staff are already working behind the scenes to ensure our highways and pathways remain safe during freezing conditions.

The Roads team’s fleets of gritters will continue to regularly treat every primary route, and secondary routes during longer periods of adverse weather.

They have been on 24-hour standby since October 22, reacting when temperatures dip below freezing or if there is a risk of ice.

When severe weather conditions are forecast, the Council grits over 60 per cent of West Dunbartonshire’s public road network.

The Greenspace team work to ensure footpaths near schools, care homes, hospitals and other priority routes are kept clear.

West Dunbartonshire has more than 450 roadside grit bins across the area, meaning that generally no home is more than 300 metres from a supply should it become necessary. This level of provision is one of the highest per heads of population in Scotland.

Residents can obtain small quantities of rock salt for private use from the Council's Road Depots located at Elm Road, Dumbarton or Stanford Street, Clydebank.

A map detailing gritting routes and locations of grit bins is available on the Council website.