Council ready for big freeze

JUST over one year on from the start of last winter’s big freeze, Nottinghamshire County Council is well prepared for any repeat of the Arctic conditions.

With weather forecasters predicting a return to freezing temperatures over the next few days, the County Council says it has benefited from the relatively mild autumn weather – and the fact that it began planning for this winter as soon as the last one finished.

By 7th December last year, the council’s gritting teams had already salted main routes 43 times – compared to only seven times so far this season.

It had also completed 16 runs on snow routes – additional routes to help villages and industrial estates stay open during prolonged bad weather – compared to just one run this year.

And the county’s salt stocks stood at just 3,068 tonnes compared to the current stockpile of 19,232 tonnes.

Things were so bad at this point last December that the county’s highways chiefs took the decision to stop salting any parts of Nottinghamshire’s road network other than priority routes, in order to conserve salt supplies.

“We learned a lot from last winter’s prolonged bad weather,” said Coun Richard Jackson, County Council Cabinet member for transport and highways.

“At this point last year, we had to stop salting any parts of the network other than Priority 1 routes in order to conserve salt supplies.

“This year we have been able to add an extra 10km to the gritted network, to both P1 and snow routes, in response to lessons learned from last season. And no road section has been removed from any route.

“Overall, we have the capacity to store 22,000 tonnes of salt in the county, which is 12,000 tonnes more than the absolute minimum recommended by the government and enough for all but the most severe winters.

“After last winter we began planning for this year almost immediately and are confident that we are in a stronger position than last year to deal with a prolonged cold spell.

“We are determined to keep our county on the move this winter.”