Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Cold weather forces schools to close

Gritting
Road access difficulties and frozen pipes have closed schools

Snow and freezing temperatures have caused more problems as thousands of people returned to work and school after the festive break.

All schools in Aberdeenshire, the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway were closed, and Borders council said its schools would remain shut on Wednesday.

Some were also closed in Fife, Glasgow, Aberdeen, South Lanarkshire, Perth and Kinross and the Western Isles.

Councils are continuing the battle to keep main roads clear.

On Monday, it emerged that some councils were running low on supplies of grit and salt for the roads.

Fife Council said it had exhausted supplies of salt, before it received a delivery late on Monday.

Highland Council said 3,000 tonnes of salt were expected to arrive by sea at Inverness.

It said the weather conditions had been among the most severe for 30 years.

Weather conditions

South Lanarkshire Council said it was looking at shipping in supplies of salt from Africa.

Councillor Chris Thompson said: "We have been sending fleets of lorries to England on a daily basis to bring up more salt, but this is now running out and we are now talking to suppliers about bringing 5,000 tonnes in by ship from North Africa or the Mediterranean."

Pat Watters, president of local authority group Cosla, said councils had been forced to find extra cash from maintenance budgets to battle the wintry conditions.

Mr Watters told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "We're eating into the maintenance budget trying to keep the roads actually usable at the present time.

"When this frost goes the road condition we're going to be left with is going to be horrendous.

"We're going to have sit down very seriously with the government and look about how we take this forward."

Snow near Ballater
The Aberdeenshire area has been particularly badly affected

Snow fell across all of the country overnight and temperatures dropped to -11C at Dalwhinnie in the Highlands.

Some Highland roads were closed due to snow, including the A939 Grantown on Spey to Cockbridge road, while in Grampian the B974 Banchory to Fettercairn road and the A939 Strathdon to Ballater were among the routes shut.

Road conditions on major routes were said to be "difficult".

Scotland's airports are open but passengers are advised to check with their airlines, before arriving at the terminal.

Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports were all disrupted.

On the railways East Coast Main Line travellers were delayed, Edinburgh and Glasgow Central trains were limited and buses were replacing trains between Edinburgh and Motherwell.

Passengers going between London and Glasgow Central on the east coast were being advised to take Virgin Trains' West Coast trains instead.

Signalling problems in Carstairs caused delays on Virgin and First TransPennine Express trains.

ScotRail was advising passengers not to travel from Glasgow to Kilmarnock, Ayr and Stranraer because of the cold weather.

Buses were running between Inverness and Aviemore to replace rail services because a derailed freight train is blocking the track.

Vehicle access to schools will be difficult and we would ask all road users to be extra cautious
North Lanarkshire Council

Meanwhile, councils in the Borders and in Dumfries and Galloway decided on Monday to keep their schools closed for at least another day.

Fresh new snow falls overnight in the north east led to Aberdeenshire closing all its schools.

There were also widespread problems in Aberdeen, with 37 schools closed or partially closed, and drivers faced city centre delays.

Fourteen Glasgow schools have been shut, four of which are currently morning closures, and 25 schools in South Lanarkshire were closed to pupils.

Ten schools have been closed in the Western Isles, and there have also been school closures in Fife and in Perth and Kinross.

Some closures were due to frozen water and others because of school bus access problems on the icy roads.

Schools in Edinburgh and the Lothians and Argyll and Bute are not due to reopen until Wednesday, while Highland Council schools remain on holiday until Monday 11 January.


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SEE ALSO
School closures across Scotland
05 Jan 10 |  Scotland
Snow derailment problems continue
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Ministers deny salt supply crisis
04 Jan 10 |  Scotland

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