Roads and gritting

We all need to make sure we’re prepared in case of extreme weather. At Fife Council, we have staff working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week over the winter season who are dedicated to keeping Fife moving, whatever the weather.


Our responsibilities

Fife Council has a statutory responsibility [under the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984] to take all steps, as it considers reasonable, to prevent ice and snow from endangering the safe travel of pedestrians and vehicles on public roads. 'Roads' include carriageways, car parks, footways, cycleways and pedestrian areas.

Winter gritting and snow-clearing involves treating roads in order to:

  • prevent ice from forming
  • melt ice and snow
  • remove snow 

If you'd like a more detailed overview of Fife Council's role and how we combat the effects of bad weather to avoid potential delays and hazards for road users, see under publications the Guide to Winter Gritting & Snow Clearing.


Gritting routes

All Fife’s roads are divided into different levels of priority to make sure we make best use of resources:

  1. Primary Routes are our first priority. These include all the main roads and bus routes, and cover 59% of Fife’s road network. Throughout the winter, Fife Council has gritter drivers working 24/7 to keep these routes safe. All Primary Routes can be treated from start to finish in just three hours.
  2. Secondary Routes are treated when all the Primary Routes have been attended to. This includes other commuter routes, shopping centres, and access to more remote villages and hamlets. Secondary Routes are usually only treated during normal working hours unless it’s snowing.
  3. Other Routes, which covers all other roads, are third on the list. These are mainly residential loop roads or cul-de-sacs.

However, during very severe weather, such as heavy snow, we have an even higher priority called Snow Routes. These are the roads that lead to hospitals, ambulance stations, fire stations, power stations, bus and railway stations and all the A-roads.

So, when it’s snowing or icy we clear the snow routes then primary routes, and if resources allow we clear the secondary and other routes. You can find out what level of priority your road is by visiting the gritting routes page and entering your postcode.


Grit bins

Fife Council provides around 4,109 grit bins to assist local communities on a self-help basis. These are located on minor housing estate roads and footpaths which are not on Primary Routes or priority footways. Bins are also provided at known trouble spots, including steep gradients and sharp bends.

To find your nearest grit bins, go to the gritting routes page and type in your postcode.

For more information on all of the above, visit the Winter Gritting & Snow Clearance Pages at






Severe weather FAQs - Roads and gritting

Published by: Fife Council

During periods of severe weather there may be some disruption on Fife's roads.  Hopefully the information provided here will answer most questions.

Q.      Does Fife Council provide a list of snow ploughing or gritting routes?

Yes. This information is available on Fife Direct.


Q.      What if emergency vehicles can't get through?

All our area teams work closely with the Emergency Services already. They talk regularly with representatives and any requests for assistance are dealt with as a top priority when we receive them from the emergency service in need. We have a system that means we can divert resources urgently to support this if necessary. This system has worked successfully in previous years.


Q.      Is Dial-A-Ride/Ring-a-Ride (Fife Bus) still running?

This information will be updated daily in the event of severe weather, and may vary in different areas. Visit Fife Direct or call 03451 55 11 88 for more information.


Q.      Are secondary roads and pavements being cleared?

  • To help us decide which roads need our winter gritting and snow-clearing services first, they are organised into four levels of priority:
    1. Snow Routes – During severe weather Snow Routes are our first priority. These are the busiest roads in Fife which we need to keep clear to ensure essential communication links are maintained. This includes A-class roads, roads leading to hospitals, ambulance stations, fire stations, power stations, bus stations, railway stations and slip roads to trunk roads (e.g. A92).
    2. Primary Routes – Principal roads and main bus routes. There are 23 Primary Routes in Fife which altogether cover 59% of Fife’s road network. Fife Council has teams working 24-hours a day throughout the winter to treat Primary and Snow Routes.
    3. Secondary Routes – Other commuter routes, main feeder routes, shopping centres, access to isolated villages and hamlets and main food supply routes. These roads are treated for snow and ice once all the Primary Routes have been attended to, subject to resources being available.
    4. Other routes – This covers all other roads which serve limited numbers of properties, many of which are cul-de-sacs or residential loop roads. This category also includes unadopted roads.
  • To find out what level of priority your road is on, search for ‘gritting routes’ in Fife Direct.
  • In the event of severe weather, information on which level of roads we’re clearing will be updated daily on Fife Direct. Our actions may vary if weather conditions differ across Fife.

Q.      Are residential areas being cleared?

See above information.


Q.      Are speed bumps hampering Snow Ploughs clearing my street?

No. The ploughs Fife Council uses are designed to deal with speed calming measures.


Q.      How often will my grit bin be refilled?

Grit bins are refilled at the start of winter and are then refilled periodically throughout the season. If your grit bin needs refilled contact us via FifeDirect or by calling 03451 55 00 11. We aim to refill grit bins within 5 working days of receiving a request.


Q.      Is the council responsible for gritting my road and maintaining the grit bin my street?

To check if your road has been adopted by Fife Council, contact us through Fife Direct, visit the adopted roads information or call us 03451 550011 - option 3


Q.      When will car parks throughout Fife be cleared?

  • Like roads, car parks are classified into three levels of priority:
    1. Primary – Fee paying, railway station and Park & Ride car parks
    2. Secondary – Free car parks and other town centre car parks
    3. Other – all other car parks
  • All Primary car parks are cleared of snow and gritted at the same time as Primary Routes. Car parks that are difficult to access, along with Secondary and Other car parks, will be treated for snow and ice once Primary car parks have been treated, subject to resources being available.

Q.      Is the Council responsible for the Forth Road Bridge?

No, Fife Council is not responsible for the bridge, FETA (Forth Estuary Transport Authority) is. Find out more at or by calling 0906 302 0298 (calls cost 50p per minute from a BT landline).


Q.      Can the council get extra help to clear snow?

Yes. During severe weather we regularly redeploy employees from other Fife Council Services which means we have over 500 members of staff dedicated to winter maintenance. We also work with external suppliers who can provide machinery and operatives to help with the clear-up.


Q.      My school has re-opened after being closed, is school transport also operating as normal?

Where a school is open the bus operator is, as far as possible, operating a normal service. However, where they cannot access side streets the bus operator has had to stick to the main roads. For more information parents should contact the bus operator. Telephone numbers can be found in the "getting to School" booklet provided to all pupils who require transport to school or on Fife Direct.




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