Renfrewshire Law Centre
This campaign is run under the auspices of Renfrewshire Law Centre for the purpose of opening a dialogue on the icy roads issue and recording up-to-date developments in the campaign.
We are calling on central and local government to take further action, and would urge Ministers, M(S)P's, Councilors and Officials to consider the following points:-
1. Cold weather affects the UK in general and Scotland in particular, therefore we should be prepared to deal with it.
2. Our weather system is unpredictable, perhaps more so than in other countries.
3. It may be subject to change in years to come in consequence of global environmental factors.
4. Other countries appear better prepared to deal with their own cold weather.
5. Inadequate preparation for cold weather has a dramatic impact on the national economy, forcing individuals to stay off work or to keep their children off school, and forcing businesses, services and schools to close.
6. The resultant financial loss outweighs the cost of preparing properly for cold weather. The 'lack of resources' cry from councils smacks of false economy. For example, according to TV news reports, on 6 January 2010 some 450 Scottish schools were forced to close, and many hundreds remained closed today, 7 January. Yet their education departments will still have to pay all those teachers and other staff at a cost of millions to the taxpayer, while pupils' parents may have to stay off work as well in order to look after their children, producing a domino financial effect.
7. Hazardous road conditions cause accidents, serious injury and even death to vehicle drivers and their passengers and to pedestrians alike. The emergency services and hospitals are put under extreme pressure as a result.
8. Inaccessible roads effectively besiege some people in their own homes, making it impossible for them to reach not only work and schools but also shops for essential supplies as well as medical facilities for treatment and medicines. The young, elderly, sick and disabled are particularly vulnerable.
9. The law needs reform.
10. Central government and local councils need to work together, rather than trying to pass the buck or foot the blame one against the other.
11. The existing legislation needs to be overhauled and strengthened by putting in place a whole package of measures and funding.
12. The sanctions for failure to comply with the law need to be firmer.