Angus MacDonald Welcomes Scottish Government’s ‘Ready for Winter?’ Campaign

Falkirk East MSP also calls for greater use of winter tyres
 “Now’s the time to consider taking steps to beat the winter freeze”

SNP MSP for Falkirk East Angus MacDonald has welcomed the Scottish Government’s ‘Ready for Winter?’ campaign which encourages families, businesses and communities across Falkirk district to prepare for winter through a national public awareness campaign launched this week.

The Scottish Government's 'Ready for Winter?' campaign is being delivered in partnership with the British Red Cross and a range of public, private and voluntary sector partners.

On the back of research which shows the majority of Scots are concerned about the prospect of severe weather episodes, that most don't feel personally prepared for an emergency situation, and that many people would welcome information and advice on how to prepare and cope, the 'Ready for Winter?' campaign will:

  • Remind individuals and families of the risks and consequences of being underprepared for the impact of severe winter weather
  • Offer information and advice on the simple steps that people, businesses and communities can take to reduce those risks
  • Highlight the range of information, support and resources available across all sectors and all regions of Scotland
  • Encourage as many people as possible to be ready for winter this year

The campaign will include a range of online resources and will feature integrated marketing activity across TV, national and local press, news websites and social media, and is due to run until mid-November. It follows a call from the British Red Cross for specific public resilience campaign work, similar to that already delivered in a number of other countries.

Full details of the campaign can be found here: http://www.readyscotland.org/

Welcoming the launch of the campaign, Angus MacDonald MSP also called for greater use of winter tyres and improved official advice or even legislation by the UK Government to make winter tyres compulsory from late November to early April. He has also called for car insurance companies to offer greater incentives to customers who use winter tyres.

A number of other EU countries have made the use of winter tyres a legal requirement and many offer specific winter recommendations. Angus MacDonald believes legislation, or at least official advice, is necessary to encourage drivers to ditch summer tyres during the winter period.

Last year at the start of the big freeze more than 3 million motorists in the UK had an accident and 45 per cent had two or more near misses according to a survey conducted by Continental Tyres.
Nearly half of all accident claims are made during the winter months. Motorists are unprepared for the wintry conditions when driving, and many are unaware that they can improve safety by switching to winter tyres.

Angus MacDonald also believes official advice could be improved. The Highway Code has nothing on the subject of winter tyres, and only contains three entries on the subject of tyres in general. The addition of a line explaining how improved grip could be attained by using winter tyres, would help to improve motorists perceptions of winter tyres

Mr MacDonald said:

“There is a general acceptance that winter tyres are safer to use in the winter months, and if we are to experience colder Scandinavian-style winters, as we have been over the past two to three years, then it will soon be the case that winter tyres are a necessity to help avoid the country virtually grinding to a halt every time there are significant falls of snow or below zero temperatures.

“It is imperative that car insurance companies offer some kind of incentive, with reduced premiums for motorists who use winter tyres. There is also a need for more official advice in the Highway Code and other official publications highlighting the benefits of winter tyres.

“The current problem is many motorists only change their summer tyres when the tread depth is down to the legal minimum, which is completely unsatisfactory in harsh winter conditions.
“First and foremost, fleets must be encouraged to get on board. Governmental advice and reduced insurance premiums for fleets and private drivers who choose winter tyres would be an ideal incentive to get people using winter tyres.

“Legislation has proven to be effective around the EU, and insurance incentives have the potential to create a similar effect. In addition, winter tyres would give drivers greater confidence when driving in tricky conditions.

“I look forward to a greater acceptance that winter tyres are a solution to difficult winter driving conditions and also look forward to all agencies, including insurance companies, working together to encourage wider use of winter tyres.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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