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Wednesday 5 December 2012

Spread the warmth – preparing for severe winter weather


With stockpiles of salt, an online information centre and modern gritting vehicles – Cheshire East Council says it is fully equipped to cope with the current wintry conditions.

As part of the Cheshire East Council’s ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign, the authority is reminding residents of its preparations and current actions as the winter weather takes hold.

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 are well equipped to deal with snow and ice in the weeks and months ahead.”

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.”

Sean Reynolds, the chair of the local Adult Safeguarding Board, said: “Frozen roads, as well as the extra hours of darkness, 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 feeling 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.”

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