Falkirk clears up after the gales strike

Trees were blown over throughout Falkirk
Trees were blown over throughout Falkirk
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Emergency services and council workers were stretched as they fought to overcome the devastation caused by a day of high winds.

Firefighters received dozens of call-outs on Monday, while police officers received almost a full day’s worth of emergency calls in the space of a few hours.

A Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “The service had a very busy time during the afternoon and early evening on Monday, helping remove fallen trees.

“Most of the calls came from the Stirling area and fortunately no one was seriously injured as a result of the severe weather.”

From 9 a.m. Central Scotland Police received more than 200 calls in seven hours regarding weather-related incidents. The force normally receives 300 in a 24-hour period.

During the day officers advised motorists to drive with extreme caution because the weather had caused significant disruption to a number of routes.

Officers across the force were held back past their finishing time in order to help deal with the vast amount of blocked roads and praised members of the public for helping them clear the debris.

Chief Inspector Bob Beaton said: “The support and help from members of the public was exceptional. Without their help roads would have been blocked for longer.

“Farmers even came out in their tractors to help pull trees out of the way so that roads could be cleared.

“Despite the atrocious conditions, people were very public spirited and I thank them for helping my officers who had a very difficult job to do.”

For Falkirk Council workers the main impact of the weather occurred from early Monday afternoon.

A spokesman said: “The response on Monday was targeted on emergency and dangerous incidents of which there were around 50, mainly involving road obstructions, spread across the whole council area.

“Staff trained in the use of chainsaws, were deployed and worked until 9 p.m. on Monday responding to these emergency incidents.

“On Tuesday, grounds maintenance and street cleansing staff were taken off normal duties to help clear debris and this will continue for a few days.’’

The high winds also led to the closure of the Forth and Tay Road Bridges, while rail services, including trains from Falkirk to Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street, were cancelled for much of the day for safety reasons and to allow lines to be cleared of debris.

According to the Met Office, winds are expected to drop to 10 mph today (Thursday) and eight mph tomorrow (Friday) before picking up again to around 15 mph this weekend.