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"We are ready to go” is the message from Wiltshire Council’s winter maintenance team as preparations are complete to keep the County’s roads running smoothly over the next few months.
Since the end of last winter, Wiltshire Council has been servicing its 24 gritting vehicles, amending and testing gritting routes, and developing closer working arrangements with parishes and other agencies.
The Council has 14,000 tonnes of salt in stock strategically placed throughout the county in eight storage sites. There are also weather stations in key areas which provide real time information and assist in producing accurate forecasts to ensure gritters are sent out at the right time.
On average it can take up to 140 tonnes of salt to grit Wiltshire's A and B class roads and 230 tonnes to salt an extended network during prolonged cold weather.
During severe weather local farmers also have an important role to play, with many clearing snow in their local areas when required.
Wiltshire Council also has a scheme where interested parish and town councils can arrange for delivery of a one tonne bag of salt. It will be delivered to an appropriate location within their parish, and can then be distributed as they wish. Many town and parish councils also have a snow warden and the council can give advance notice to them about severe weather. In addition, salt is supplied to many schools to maintain car parks and keep their facilities open.
During winter people can have updates on both the weather and road conditions on Twitter by following @WiltshireWinter and @WiltshireRoads.
Swindon Borough Council has also been making similar preparations to those of Wiltshire. Sixteen hundreds tonnes of salt is being held in reserve should freezing temperatures hit the borough over the coming months.
The salt which has been put aside by the Borough Council is enough to treat the town’s priority routes 40 times. Last year, the Council treated the priority routes 26 times using approximately 1,000 tonnes of salt.
An additional 1,000 tonnes of salt is on provisional order for early in the new year should the weather deteriorate throughout the winter.
A team of 16 drivers and eight gritting lorries will be on stand-by 24 hours a day to grit the priority routes which cover 280 miles of the borough’s 520-mile road network.
The Council has also checked the borough’s 474 grit bins, and those that needed filling or replacing have been tended to.
Depending on the severity of the weather, up to 125 employees could also be deployed to grit pavements.
The Council’s Homeline service, which assists elderly and vulnerable people, also has 4x4 vehicles so it can respond to emergencies in severe weather. The service has a 4x4 Response Protocol whereby multi-agency support, including the voluntary sector, is available to assist in emergencies.
The Council has emergency planning procedures in place and staff in many service areas will also be placed on standby in the event of severe weather.
Further information on how to stay safe in an emergency or during adverse weather is available at: http://wiltshireandswindonprepared.org.uk/