Local Pavements To Remain Icy

Grit supply sufficient for 'priority routes' only

Many local footpaths will remain icy over the coming days as salt stocks start to dwindle.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council say that although the local supply is "adequate" enough to keep major roads and pavements clear, the rest of the borough is likely to remain ungritted.

"Council gritters have been working flat out to put rock salt on priority roads and pavements. Weather permitting, the current plan is to routinely grit the priority routes to enable essential services - including refuse and recycling collections - to be delivered. The council’s stock of grit remains adequate for essential purposes and key roads and pavements are being prioritised as stocks are not inexhaustible," a Council statement says.

"The council regrets that - like other London boroughs - we are currently unable to grit many local footpaths because of the reducing salt stocks and the unlikelihood of getting more deliveries within the next fortnight because of the situation nationally."

Councils around the country are said to be rationing their salt due a national shortage. The Local Government Association says that although local authorities are better prepared this year, after last year's chaos, the current cold spell is going on for longer than expected: "Councils learned the lessons from February last year and stockpiled more salt – despite forecasts of a mild winter. However, after the longest cold snap for 30 years and continued bad weather for 21 days, it is not surprising that some parts of the country have run their stocks down. Many councils have concerns about supply," the LGA said.

In Hammersmith and Fulham, refuse and recycling collections, as well as the Christmas tree collection service, had to be suspended on Thursday (January 7). It is hoped they will resume on Friday, and Thursday's collections are planned to be made up on Saturday.

No W12 schools have yet had to close because of the snow (Bentworth closed due to an electrical installation problem), but elsewhere in the borough, three schools were shut in Fulham.

The Met Office's forecast for the coming days says: "There is a moderate risk of severe weather continuing to affect much of eastern England during Friday and Saturday. Snow showers are likely to be heavy and frequent at times giving further falls of several cm in many areas. This will lead to icy stretches on roads and pavements."

In February of last year, H&F Council faced heavy criticism after a day of heavy snow left local roads and pavements trecherous. Residents complained that pavements had not been gritted and some were like ice rinks.

The Council said its gritters had been hard at work and that it and had redeployed staff to ensure grit salt was put down on as many footpaths as possible.

7 January 2010