When roads are icy and covered by snow, naturally residents ask what is being done to clear the roads and footpaths.
Gloucestershire County Council’s priority is to keep the strategic road network running. They clear primary routes across the county, and secondary routes during more prolonged severe winter weather. Primary routes include A and B roads as well as those leading to hospitals, police stations, fire stations and secondary schools. When time allows and resources are available, salting may also be carried out on the secondary road network, which includes bus routes not already cleared. Depending on the severity of the weather, this may mean that only main roads can be gritted.
Local roads and footpaths are not cleared by the county council, mainly because of the cost and resources required when you consider the number of routes in any one community. They will however work in partnership with parish council Snow Wardens and Snow Plough Operators to establish local weather conditions and, where resources are available*, arrange for snow clearance work on local roads.
The county council also supplies grit for use on the adopted roads in the local area. Please note that you can be prosecuted if caught stealing grit for use on private drives; it is needed to keep local roads clear.
* The roads on Victory Fields remain the responsibility of the developer at the present time.
Schools may have to close when it snows. Gloucestershire County Council will list school closures that it has been told about on its Closed Schools web page (new) and Twitter feed. You can also check your school’s website and local radio stations for updates. Please do not call the county council direct, as they do not have the resources to respond to enquiries from across the whole county.
Clearing snow from driveways and paths
Residents who are physically able can act in a neighbourly way to clear snow and ice from pavements and public spaces, and this will help enormously. Some people are deterred from clearing pavements and other public spaces because they fear that they might be sued, but this is extremely unlikely. Unless your actions are genuinely negligent and make the space more dangerous than it was before, then you not would be held responsible.
When you clear snow and ice:
- Do it early in the day – it’s easier to move fresh, loose snow.
- Don’t use water – it might refreeze and turn to black ice.
- Use salt after clearing – it will melt the ice or snow and stop it from refreezing overnight (but don’t use the salt from grit bins as this is used to keep roads clear).
- You can use ash and sand if you don’t have enough salt – it will provide grip underfoot.
- Pay extra attention when clearing steps and steep pathways – using more salt may help.
This advice comes from The Snow Code, produced by the Department of Transport.
Check on your neighbours
Older people, those with long-term health conditions, pregnant women and young children are more at risk in cold weather. If you know or look after someone who may be particularly susceptible to the effects of very cold weather, please help them stay warm and well.
- Make sure they’re warm enough, especially at night.
- Top up stocks of food and medicines so they don’t need to go out during very cold weather.
- If they start to feel unwell, even if it’s a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist or by calling NHS 111.
- If you’re worried about an older person, contact a family member, or Gloucestershire County Council’s Adult Social Care Helpdesk on 01452 426868.
This advice comes from NHS: Keep Warm, Keep Well.
The charity Age UK also offers comprehensive advice on preparing for winter: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/mind-body/preparing-for-winter/.