A NEW electric gritting vehicle - thought to be the first of its kind in the world - will help with efforts to keep Scotland’s roads clear this winter.

Transport Scotland bosses announced the state-of-the-art 100% electric spreading vehicle will be trialled over the coming months.

The Electra vehicle, which is part of a fleet of 123 gritters based at more than 40 depots across the country, will undertake patrols on the Queensferry Crossing and the Forth Road Bridge, which is still used by buses.

New weather stations and sensors on the M8 - the main road linking Edinburgh and Glasgow - are also to be trialled, as is a new form of road treatment using reduced amounts of salt, which will be initially used on the A835.

Meanwhile, transport chiefs said they would continue to lease specialist vehicles to deal with the most extreme winter conditions.

After heavy snowfall in previous years resulted in major disruption to traffic, new route-specific snow plans have been drawn up for key roads across the country including the M8, M74, M77 and M80.

Transport chiefs have almost 550,000 tonnes of salt in storage, more than was used in the whole of last winter.