More farmers are likely to help clear snow roads in Scotland this winter following a new deal.
Transport Scotland, the National Farmers Union and local authorities have agreed a national code of practice to make better use of farmers' support this winter.
The code, produced jointly by NFU Scotland, Transport Scotland and the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland, recognises the important role farmers and agricultural contractors played over the past two winters.
Last winter, Scotland had included prolonged periods of subzero temperatures, and snow falls greater than 20cm in some areas.
The primary focus of the code of practice is on the use of farmers for snow clearing operations.
The majority of roads that will be snow ploughed by farmers will be minor rural roads serving remote communities and possibly some minor urban roads, predominately within urban housing estates.
John Smith, NFU Scotland's legal and technical committee chairman, said: "Farmers and agricultural contractors have a vital role in keeping Scotland's rural communities moving when winter hits.
"In the harshest of weather, farmers have proven themselves to be able and willing to play their part in assisting local authorities.
"Keeping all roads clear in winter not only benefits the food and farming sectors, but ensures all communities, no matter how remote or vulnerable, have access to the full range of required services."
The code will put in place a more formal arrangement for farmers clearing snow, he added.
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