Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Weather and Council Services Update

Weather Forecast
It appears as if the worst of the weather is now behind us, although temperatures will remain very cold, with possible snow fall in some areas on Tuesday evening and it still is snowing! The long-term weather forecast indicates the extremely cold weather is likely come to an end towards the weekend where there is likely to be a thaw.

Although the vast majority of Council services are back to normal, contingency plans are being developed in case of further bad weather or the anticipated thaw does not materialise.

The Week in Numbers

To understand the scale of the operations since last Wednesday some statistics from across Council services can be found below:
· 550 tonnes of grit spread on over 253 miles of the highways network; (KP)
· 730 hot community meals served;
· 377 grit bins filled in response to customer contacts;
· 98,694 visits to the www.bathnes.gov.uk website;
· 90 schools, nurseries, and special schools giving closure information for our website to our Human Resources staff;
· 76 staff redeployed from their day jobs to snow clearance, gritting, and supporting essential frontline services; (JC)
· 6,439 customer contacts dealt with by Council Connect staff between 4th – 8th January, more than double last year;
· 11 Big Freeze updates issued to the media, parish councils, and councillors.


Central Government is now influencing the salt supply chain and has instructed all local Councils to reduce the use of salt. The Council must continue to ration the available supplies for priority routes because of this decision.

The Council gritting fleet will treat prioritised routes during Wednesday, and prepare snow ploughs if required. An emergency gritting vehicle will be available around the clock to tackle any specific problems on the main network. We will continue to put grit in bins where essential.

The Council relies upon the public to tell us when grit bins are empty and we can be contacted 24 hours a day on the Council Connect line.

Highways officers have worked extremely hard to secure salt deliveries and we now have enough salt for our state-of-the-art gritting fleet to comfortably take us into next week and spread grit normal treatment rates across 253 miles. That is 37% of the road network – a figure considerably above the national average of 30%.

Because of the prioritisation of our grit stocks key transport routes have remained passable with care every day, services to vulnerable people – like vital home care - have been maintained every day, the emergency services have continued serving the public, the vast majority of schools were able to open or partly open from last Friday, and we have been able to re-start collecting waste.


Council waste collection services are starting to return normal. Limited waste collections on treated highways routes took place on Monday and Tuesday. These arrangements remain in place on Wednesday.

Households where roads have been treated are asked to leave their waste out for collection. Our drivers will be using their discretion to determine where it is safe to collect waste.

In short the message to residents is to look at the conditions of the roads near to you, and your own and question whether or not it would be safe for a collection lorry to make it down and whether or not the pavements are free from snow and ice. Then make a judgment as to whether or not the collection crews will collecting your waste. If in doubt DON'T put it out!

Other Services

Most other Council services are operating as normal. Schools are generally opening as normal with very limited partial closures due to issues like burst water mains. Head Teachers are being asked to develop contingency plans to open, particularly in light of the A-Level exam period.