Sunday, 29 October 2017

Getting ready for winter!

Like it or not, Winter is just around the corner!

I was pleased this week to hear details of Northumberland County Council's detailed plans for coping with whatever weather the winter throws at us this year.

County-wide, over 100 members of staff are involved with winter preparations and delivery. Twenty nine gritters are available across Northumberland, plus reserves, and cross-border co-operation with Durham is in place to help cover areas such as Blanchland and Allendale. The Council are also working with the NFU to contract farmers in to help- currently around 45 farms in the county are ready to assist with any necessary ploughing prior to gritting by the Council. Officers are also working with Northumbria Police to increase understanding of winter weather protocols.

Operating from 11 depots, 37 tonnes of salt are currently being held with strategic stores available, and more than 1600 grit bins around the County are being filled in advance of the weather turning. Contact details should be available on the outside if residents need to report any broken or empty bins.

Roads will be scheduled for gritting whenever the weather forecast predicts freezing or below freezing temperatures, and the target is for all morning gritting to be completed by 7.30am in advance of the rush hour. A-roads will obviously be the priority, with gritters prioritising other roads once A-roads have been treated. The Council are also trialling new ceramic plough blades which are able to plough right down to the level of the road, thus avoiding the layer of compacted ice that is often left by more traditional plough blades.

Although it's too early to have any accurate forecasts, early indications are that this winter could be much like the last one- wet and relatively mild. I'm confident that Northumberland County Council have the plans in place to cope whatever the weather.