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Saturday 17 December 2011

Stay Warm, Stay Well, Stay Safe – Severe winter weather preparations



The question on everyone's lips is were have the gritters been all days in Crewe

With stockpiles of salt, a new information centre and modern gritting vehicles – Cheshire East Council says its coping well with the current wintry conditions.

As part of the Cheshire East Adult Safeguarding Board’s ‘Stay Warm, Stay Well, Stay Safe’ campaign, the authority is reminding residents of its preparations and current actions in terms of gritting and snow-ploughing.

Councillor Rod Menlove, Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services, said: “Winter weather can be a worrying time for many people, especially those who need to travel. We aim to be as informative as possible in the event of severe weather conditions.

“I want to reassure residents that we have already dealt with snow and ice in Cheshire East this winter and this will continue in the weeks and months ahead.”

The authority has been stock piling salt for gritting since the summer and now has new types of gritting vehicles.

Duty officers receive detailed weather reports, around the clock, during the winter months. These officers then decide if gritting vehicles or snow-ploughs are required.

Thanks to Cheshire East Council’s online Highways Information Centre, gritting vehicles can be tracked live as they salt local routes;

Councillor Menlove continued: “The monitoring of weather conditions here in Cheshire East never stops during the winter months. Gritting vehicles or snow-ploughs can be dispatched in minutes in the event of conditions deteriorating quickly.

“Freezing temperatures usually result in gritting taking place twice a day – once in the early hours of the morning and again in the evening – but this can be increased or decreased according the conditions that day. Crews have been sent out regularly over the past few weeks to salt the roads, particularly on higher ground.

“We cannot guarantee that the route will be completely ice or snow-free – what we can do is ensure that every effort is made to keep salt stocks high, monitor weather conditions and take the appropriate action.”

Derek Thomas, the independent chair of the local Adult Safeguarding Board, said: “Frozen steps, footpaths and roads, as well as the extra hours of darkness and reduced visibility, bring obvious additional risks such as falls and involvement in road traffic accidents.

“For older people, a relatively gentle fall can result in a serious fracture. For Cheshire East’s most vulnerable citizens, winter can also mean increased loneliness and isolation.

“With this in mind, I would urge those who feel most vulnerable to ask a friend, family member or neighbour to help them out with simple but important daily routines such as their food shopping or getting rubbish out to their bins. It is also really important that car drivers significantly reduce their speeds in built up areas.”

Did you know?

•          Cheshire East Council manages and maintains 2,970km of roads.

•          The winter service operates from three depots; Brunswick Wharf in Congleton, Wardle near Nantwich and Lyme Green in Macclesfield. The highways service also operates directly from Winsford Salt mine.

•          We have 6,000 tonnes of salt stored across the authority ready for the start of the winter service period. Salt can also be loaded directly from Winsford Salt Mine

•          All gritting routes can be found on the Cheshire East Council website,

•          From the onset of winter, road surface temperatures and road conditions are monitored on a 24/7 basis, using detailed forecast maps.

•          50 operatives are trained to deal with winter conditions in Cheshire East, using 20 vehicles to carry out precautionary treatments and snow clearance.

•          Cheshire East Council has two snow blowers. These all-wheel drive vehicles are capable of moving up to 400 tonnes of snow per hour.

•          We also have a number of local farming contractors that deal with the more rural locations during extreme weather.

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