Islington gears up for a bitterly cold winter
By abi_silvester | Monday, December 05, 2011, 14:11
It's been one of the hottest autumns on record, as most of the UK basked in summer temperatures in October - but now we are being told to prepare for freezing temperatures, possibly starting this weekend...what is Islington doing to prepare?
The Whittington cat in last year's snow
Fearing a repeat of countless snow-strewn winters without sufficient numbers of staff to clear the streets, Islington Council is acting now to ensure we'll be ready for a potential 'big chill'. Today, it announced its cold-snap contingency plan which includes the following resources standing by:
* a service of 350 staff available to spread grit, including street sweepers who become gritters in icy weather
* four specialist road gritting vehicles, including three new machines, with another 17 caged vehicles that carry supplies of grit to be spread by street teams
* after successful trials last winter the council will also be using four Powerflex Precinct machines, which plough snow from pavements and grit at the same time
* an initial stockpile of 550 tonnes of grit and salt, with plans for regular resupply. Islington can also draw on a London-wide pool of 27,000 tonnes, and is part of mutual aid arrangements for boroughs to help each other as needed
* a network of 300 grit bins set up across Islington for use by council gritting teams and local residents
* a daily alert system that assesses the risk of freezing and if necessary sends out gritting staff and machines to the areas with greatest need, including main roads and near hospitals
Separately, key transport routes such as Upper Street and Holloway Road will be the responsibility of Transport for London. The Council gritted 3,000 miles of road last winter, using up 400 tons of salt (with another 100 going on the pavements) and has stockpiled more than enough to cover this area again.
Cllr Paul Smith, Islington Council's executive member for environment, said: "We're on the side of residents and are committed to keeping Islington safe and moving during bad weather. The last few winters have seen very bad weather and our staff are prepared again to work round the clock to tackle snow and ice. Our top priority will be our main roads, hospitals, fire and ambulance stations and other key routes in Islington."
Let's hope the streets stay free of sludge so we can enjoy the beauty of any possible snow without the usual headache of the transport chaos that frequently accompanies it!