Several of you have contacted us asking what the Council is doing to prepare for the likely big freeze to help keep roads and pavements clear in Hackney.
This was also an issue that was raised at Full Council last week. Salt is used on roads to prevent ice forming - this is what we commonly refer to as 'gritting'. Transport for London is responsible for keeping red routes clear, and the Council is responsible for all other roads. Officers in Waste Operations grit pavements.
The main aim is to make sure that road users can travel safely and many roads are pre-gritted in anticipation of cold snaps. The Council works closely with weather forecasters to make sure that changes in temperature are constantly monitored.
The Council carries out gritting of roads in a priority order:
1. Main Roads (inclusive of all bus routes & access to all emergency services)
2. Susceptible routes (roads near water courses , steep gradients and problem sites)
This represents approximately 40% of the road network in Hackney (the average percentage of roads that councils grit is actually only 20-25% across the UK). When there is prolonged period of snowfall, the Council will only begin to treat the remaining 60% of the road network once the main and susceptible routes are cleared. These will be prioritised as a result of information received from the emergency services and reports of black ice.
Pavements are prioritised in the same way, and include all main routes and shopping centres. There is also a particular focus on areas where there are a high number of pedestrians such as hospitals, libraries, schools and old people's homes. Once these pavements are clear, pavements on residential streets are gritted - although there is no legal requirement for the Council to do this.
In view of the problems experienced last year, Hackney Council has increased our local salt stock to 300 tonnes. Waste Operations have also been preparing with 500 tonnes of rock salt in stock for pavements which is twice as much as was used last year. There is also new equipment for spreading salt on pavements, and new snow shovels and salt bins. There will also be pick up points for salt for residents' use.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about how the Council prepares for the cold weather.