Winter - Frequently Asked Questions

More about our severe weather services

We will update our emergency pages daily in the event of severe weather. They will tell you if schools, leisure centres, libraries and other public buildings are closed, and whether bins will be emptied. Please note though this page will only be visible when severe weather strikes.

You can also check our Facebook page and Twitter feed, Radio Forth and Black Diamond radio.

Useful numbers

  • Housing repairs: 0131 663 7211
  • Waste / recycling: 0131 561 5284
  • Feedback: 0131 561 5444
  • Adult health and social care: 0131 271 3900

Roads, gritting and parking

Gritting priorities

We concentrate on clearing priority roads and footpaths. For example:

  • main roads and bus routes
  • pavements around schools
  • roads to hospitals, ambulance depots and fire stations. 

After the priority routes, we then tackle secondary routes, which are connecting roads and those into industrial estates. Only when these are treated can we start clearing residential streets. Therefore, we rely on residents, if able, to clear areas of pavement outside their homes.

Why is the gritter going past but not dropping any grit?

We have 380 kilometres of priority routes to treat. Once these routes are complete, the gritter goes back to the depot to refill with salt, therefore it may be en route when you see it.

All the gritters have to commute to their own route and, on occasion will need to double back to complete their route, in these instances we preserve grit.

Also, in snow conditions we often do not salt a road until we have scraped all the snow.

The road has been gritted but is still white and icy. Why is that?

Spreading salt on the road is only the start of the de-icing process. Traffic moving the salt around the road completes the process. When traffic is low, roads can remain icy for some time.

Salt only melts snow less than 40mm deep and only if traffic moves the salt around. It’s less effective below -5 degrees C. Below -10 degrees C, salt does not melt ice. However, we continue to grit even when temperatures hit -10 degrees C as the moving traffic raises the road surface temperature.

Snow is piled up at the side of the road and I can’t get my car out.  Will the council come and clear it?

In these situations, we cannot dig out individual vehicles.  If possible, park your car off the road to allow gritters and snow ploughs to pass.

Parking and emergencies

You can help greatly during severe weather by parking so access is clear for emergency service vehicles.

We work closely with the emergency services, and keep each other up to date with the parking situation in Midlothian.

Grit bins

If you can, clear snow from the pavement outside your home and those of vulnerable neighbours. Use grit from the nearest grit bin. Keeping your pavements clear is hugely helpful to your community.

We have around 500 grit bins, all of which are filled before winter. If your grit bin is not listed on our pages and you live in a newer housing development, the grit bin on your street may be the responsibility of your housing developer. Please call your developer or factor for the bin to be refilled, in this instance.

When your council grit bin is empty, complete a refill form or call 0131 270 7500. 

Bin collections

During periods of poor weather it may be difficult to gain access to residential streets to empty your bin. We will make every effort to empty your bin as soon as we can. However, we will try to keep our recycling facilities open and, if it is safe to do so, you may take your waste and deposit it in a recycling centre.

Council housing repairs

Damage to council property caused by weather

We will inspect any damage to your council home. If we confirm that the weather has caused the damage, we will repair it at no cost to you. If the damage caused is a danger to anyone then it will be made safe immediately. Householders should stay away from the damage until made safe.

Call the contact centre on 0131 663 7211 to arrange an inspection once the worst of the severe weather has passed.

Non-emergency repairs

In severe weather, our priority is to deal with emergencies. We will probably suspend repairs that are not urgent.

If you already have an appointment for repair work, we will call you to cancel if we must. You may wish to check that we have your correct contact details.

Care of the elderly and vulnerable

How you can help elderly or vulnerable people in your area:

  • Keep in touch with neighbours you think might need extra help.
  • Contact your community council or local voluntary groups.
  • Look out for any local radio or social media announcements.

Do you need any help because of the weather?

If you have no-one to help you call 0131 271 3900. We will tell the appropriate team to see how they may help you.