SNOW shovels are to be made available to residents in a bid to help them keep the streets of the city clear this winter.
Launching their Be Prepared For Winter campaign, council bosses said that a £750,000 investment meant a new fleet of gritters and mini tractors would be on standby to deal with heavy snowfall. But they stressed they would not rely solely on ploughs and diggers, and said salt spreaders and shovels would be available in city neighbourhoods so residents were able to protect their own areas.
The new campaign comes after a comprehensive strategic review was carried out in summer 2011 following severe winter weather which saw temperatures plunge five degrees below average and some areas buried in 50cm of snow.
Business performance manager at the council’s road services division, Tony Lear said: “We recognised that just ploughing the snow once it had fallen and then producing mounds of it which compacted and turned to ice was not the solution.”
He said council leaders wanted to empower individuals, and added that equipment and detailed online updates would be provided to help do this.
He said: “We want to be able to react far more quickly and move snow when it is still soft.
“That means making things like salt spreaders and snow shovels available for local use.
“Our website will show you exactly where roads are being gritted and people will be able to see where the salt bins are. If we’re out gritting and clearing a certain road, people will be able to track that.
“The service we have in place will mean you know where you’ll be able to find salt to put down.”
Transport bosses said that their winter preparation included a tripling of salt stocks to more than 25,000 tonnes and the purchase of specialist equipment such as hand spreaders and snow scoops.
Transport leader Lesley Hinds said: “Although last winter was milder than the previous two years, it is important that we continue to be vigilant in preparing for whatever this winter throws at us.”
• Salt stocks tripled since last winter to more than 25,000 tonnes.
• 31 gritters and 20 mini tractors on standby to prevent and clear snow blockages.
• One-tonne builders bags filled with salt to be deployed when needed for use by residents.
• Neighbourhood partnership teams to be provided with new specialist equipment, such as hand spreaders, spreaders that can be connected to 4x4s for work in remote and rural areas, snow scoops and shovels.
• Gritting routes to be prioritised so that public and emergency access to schools and family venues is ensured in areas affected by bad weather.
• The council’s website and local media will be used to inform the public of response measures planned for the following day.
• Maps to be posted online showing gritting routes and salt bin locations throughout the winter.
• Cars to be moved quickly from certain roads to stop them blocking buses or emergency vehicles.
• If emergency is declared, some staff will be redeployed to snow-clearing duties.
• Local bases with salt and snow-clearing equipment will be used to speed up response times.