Winter Service

The Council has a duty to prevent snow and ice endangering the safe passage of pedestrians and vehicles over public roads. Our Winter Service keeps the Council's road, cycle and pedestrian network clear for users during adverse winter conditions.

Up to date information on Winter Service issues in Dumfries and Galloway, including current forecasts and advice, can found on our Council's Facebook page or our Council's Twitter feed.

Winter Resilience Scheme

Dumfries and Galloway Council provide equipment to Community Groups including Community Councils, to assist in dealing with winter weather issues.

Footway Spreader The equipment includes pedestrian footway spreaders, snow shovels, grit/salt bins, gloves and high visibility vests. The scheme is open to Community Councils or where there is no Community Council, a minimum of 5 local residents.  It is expected that the equipment will be made available to others within your community for wider use. The scheme provides equipment for use on public roads, footways and footpaths.

If you want to help make your community safer this winter, join the Community Resilience Scheme:

Winter Service Treatment Routes

You can see which roads are salted using our interactive mapping tool: 

As well the Council's legal duty to take reasonable steps in order to keep public roads safe, we aim to ensure that delays, closures, diversions and inconvenience caused by severe winter weather are kept to a minimum. When we are allocating Winter Service resources, keeping schools open/operating normally is a formal priority for the Council.

Use the following links to find out the answer to some frequently asked questions on the Winter Service:

What does the Council use to tackle ice and snow?

Block of rock salt
The treatment of roads is often called gritting but this is misleading as the process actually involves spreading salt on the road. Most of the salt used by the Council is rock salt.

You can view the pdf icon guidance on rock salt [105kb] followed by the Council. 

Precautionary salting uses relatively small amounts of salt. Typically we'd use about a teaspoon for each square metre of road, though severe cold and snow require heavier salting.

Salt/grit heaps are not provided by the Council due to the adverse effects on the environment. New salt/grit bins will be provided on steep hills and at the request of a Community Council or, where there is no Community Council, a minimum of 5 local residents. Bins will not normally be provided on primary precautionary salting routes or within 250m of an existing salt/grit bin location. Our interactive map showing Winter Treatment Routes also includes the locations of salt/grit bins.

Lorry with gritter body and snowplough The Council uses 17 Tonne and 26 Tonne lorries which are fitted with spreading equipment (gritter bodies). The lorries are normal tippers and the gritter bodies can be removed when the vehicles are in use  for other road maintenance activities.

Most of the lorries used in Winter Service operations are capable of being fitted with snowplough blades which are only actually mounted when snow is expected. In the east of the region where snow is more common, snow blowers are available to cut through deep falls of snow.

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How do we know when to salt the roads?

The Council receive a 24 hour weather forecast each mid-day. The forecast is used by an experienced Duty Officer in each of the four area Roads offices to plan that night's operations.

All planned actions are entered into a computerised system and a Duty Co-ordinator then reviews the actions for all four areas. This review ensures a consistent approach across Dumfries and Galloway.

The plan is then issued by email to all Roads offices and depots, the Police, the Trunk Road management/maintenance contractors and also neighbouring Councils.

Precautionary salting (treatment to prevent ice forming) is normally carried out on primary routes. We aim to complete salting primary routes by 8am and secondary routes are generally only salted on a reactive basis and when significantly adverse conditions are anticipated to last into the period between 8am and 6pm.

A chart showing the pdf icon Decision Making Process for the Winter Service [90kb] is available to download.

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Which roads are salted?

All of the Council's public roads have been assessed against objective criteria with the scores used to split the network into three groups known as the Winter Service Hierarchy:

  • W1
    Roads that will form primary precautionary salting routes.
  • W2
    Roads that form the basis of secondary salting routes, treated either after W1 routes or, when circumstances indicate, during prolonged adverse conditions and when resources allow, treated concurrently with W1 routes.
  • W3
    Roads that will be treated on a reactive basis, after W1 and W2 routes have been treated, as resources allow and if conditions justify.

18 Primary salting routes have been planned which cover W1 road sections together with a number of W2 road sections where this is appropriate and enhances the effectiveness of a route.

12 secondary salting routes are in place which include a number of winter service hierarchy W3 sections as appropriate.

Our online Winter Treatment Routes map shows the primary and secondary salting routes across Dumfries and Galloway and the pdf icon list of Carriageway Treatment Routes [701kb] details the roads covered by salting. The interactive map also displays footway treatment routes, school access treatment routes and salt/grit bin locations.

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Who is responsible for trunk roads in the region?

Trunk Roads, including the M74 motorway, are the responsibility of Transport Scotland.

The M74 motorway is managed and maintained by Autolink, the A7 is managed and maintained by Amey, and the other trunk roads by Scotland TranServ.

The Council, working to instructions from Amey and Scotland TranServ, currently carries out winter service operations on non motorway trunk roads in Dumfries and Galloway. Council vehicles used on trunk roads display an Amey logo. The Council, BEAR Scotland and Scotland TranServ have agreed that they will assist each other in the event of severe weather.

Telephone 0800 728 1414 to speak to someone about a Trunk Road in the region.

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What about pavements and car parks?

Footways and car parks have been assessed against winter usage and priorities determined particularly for snow events.

Car parks have been designated as 'Strategic' and 'Non-Strategic' with footways classified as either primary walking routes, secondary walking routes or link and local access footways.

Further information can be found below:

Footway Treatment Routes can be seen on the online Winter Treatment Routes map which also shows the primary and secondary salting routes for public roads across Dumfries and Galloway.

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Policy and Procedures

The pdf icon Winter Service Operations Plan [826kb] is the key document which sets out the procedures and practice for Dumfries and Galloway. The policy and procedures contained in the plan are supplemented by the following documents:

Key information on the Winter Service is summarised in a printable leaflet:

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Related Information

Contact Details


Roads in Annandale and Eskdale

Tel: 01576 203113

Roads in Nithsdale

Tel: 01387 271171


Roads in Stewartry

Tel: 01556 505255

Roads in Wigtown

Tel: 01776 707500


Council - 24 Hour Contact

Tel: 030 33 33 3000

A74(M) Motorway


Tel: 0800 728 1414




Tel: 0800 728 1414
Web: Visit website

A75 / A701 / A76 / A77 / A751

Scotland TranServ

Tel: 0800 728 1414
Web: Visit website

More Information

Related Documents

External Links

Contact Dumfries and Galloway Council T: 030 33 33 3000

Council Offices
English Street

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