Gritters at the ready

NORFOLK County Council’s gritting teams are gearing up for a busy weekend of freezing temperatures and a risk of snow - but motorists, residents and businesses can also play their part.

The winter so far has been relatively mild and snow-free, although 44 gritting runs had been carried out by the end of January (compared with 90 by the end of January 2011), but the forecast for February is for cold weather to predominate, with a much greater risk of snow than in December and January.

Graham Plant, Cabinet member for Planning and Transportation, said: “In severe weather, especially heavy snow, our gritters have to concentrate on the priority network of just over 2,000 miles - a third of the network - so we are encouraging local communities to do what they can to help.

“It’s also important to understand the limitations of gritting. The roads have been well prepared for the cold weather - the salt on the surface has been very obvious over the last few days - but that will not stop heavy snow from covering roads, and it often takes the action of traffic before the salt starts to work. If it’s very cold the salt has very little effect. If that happens the gritters spread grit as well as salt on packed snow. They will be fitted with snow ploughs if there is more than about four inches of lying snow.

“I also want to stress that there really is no risk if people take sensible action to clear snow and ice from outside their own properties. This is a public-spirited action that makes things safer for all. Suggestions that you somehow make yourself automatically liable for any slip or fall are complete nonsense.*”

• * National Snow Code - advice on clearing snow and ice: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/DG_191868

For further information and gritting route maps go to www.norfolk.gov.uk/gritting

If school closures are necessary, these can be viewed at www.schoolclosures.norfolk.gov.uk