News from Orkney Islands Council
Police Scotland and Orkney Islands Council are urging people not to venture out on the county’s roads unless their journey is absolutely essential.
Strong winds and drifting snow have made driving conditions treacherous – with snow plough and gritter crews often fighting a losing battle to keep roads open in many areas.
NHS Orkney is also advising that people due to receive their Covid vaccination at The Balfour today to only travel to their appointment if it is safe to do so.
A message from NHS Orkney: if you miss your Covid vaccination appointment because of the weather phone the vaccination centre next week between 9.30am-4.30pm to arrange a new time. The number to phone is 0300 303 5313.
NHS Orkney Chief Executive Michael Dickson said:
“If people living in Kirkwall can get to the hospital safely, they can still receive their vaccinations.
“But we don’t want people in more outlying areas to put themselves at risk. We can reschedule appointments for them and see patients for their vaccinations next week.”
Chief Inspector Matt Webb, Police Scotland area commander for Orkney, said:
“I would re-enforce both messages. People living close to the hospital may well wish to travel there for their vaccinations if they can do this safely.
“But travel by road should only be undertaken in an emergency or for the most essential reasons for those living in most other areas of Orkney. Conditions on most roads are among the worst we have seen for many years. If your journey isn’t necessary don’t put yourself and others at risk.”
John Wrigley, OIC’s Roads and Environmental Services Manager, said:
“Our snow plough and gritter crews are concentrating their efforts, as they have been for many hours now, on the main Priority 1 routes and they will continue to do this until 6pm this evening.
“They are doing their utmost to keep these roads open, but it is a near impossible task at times – with more than a week’s worth of snow having built up on surrounding fields. As the winds pick up this is being blown on to the roads and collecting again as soon as they’ve been cleared.
“Our crews are facing up to four feet high walls of snow across some of the main roads on Orkney Mainland. Drivers can expect to encounter serious problems and blocked roads wherever they travel – our clear message to folk is to stay safe by staying at home unless there’s an absolutely essential reason for your journey.
“Please say off the roads if you can – and help us keep them open for anyone who needs to travel in an emergency or for vital reasons.”