Plans in place to deal with weather related problems should current conditions worsen
The latest weather forecasts predict temperatures in London falling to a mean of around 0 Celsius for at least 48 hours before Saturday, with overnight minus 3 Celsius and daytime 2 Celsius – and snow in the capital has not been ruled out.
A period of cold is expected to affect London and the southeast with 5-10cm of snow possible in places, although there is uncertainty about the timing of the snow and where the most significant falls are likely to be.
In addition, the second half of February looks likely to continue to have below average temperatures.
Wandsworth Council reports that it is well-prepared to counter any disruption resulting from snow showers, with a major grit operation standing by. The council is responsible for more than 200 miles of road surface and 450 miles of footpaths and pavements.
In addition, tonnes of grit have been given away to local people and neighbourhood watches – and salt bins are in place at more than 50 locations across the borough. More than 250 residents took the council up on an offer of free grit this winter, picking up 50kilo bags at the end of last year – totalling about 13 tonnes.
The town hall is encouraging people to help others in their community - especially older people and disabled residents, or those with young children who may find it hazardous venturing outdoors in a cold snap.
There is no law stopping someone from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside their home or from public spaces. Providing it is cleared carefully it is very unlikely that person would be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries on the path.
The council's head of operational services, Kevin Power, said:
“Officers will be gritting the streets tomorrow in readiness for a further drop in temperature. Our main focus during periods of icy or snowy weather is on keeping the borough's main routes clear and making it possible for people to get about as safely as possible in potentially difficult conditions.
“Road surfaces are relatively easy to deal with because this can be done mechanically using our specialist vehicles. When it comes to footpaths and pavements, the salt is mainly spread by hand which is a lengthy, labour-intensive process that can take some time to complete.”
Town centre footpaths would be treated as a priority with particular attention paid to entrances outside tube and railway stations, hospitals, OAP day centres, schools, care homes, clinics and nurseries.
Throughout the year the council is in 24 hour contact with the London Weather Centre so that officers receive as much warning as possible if there is going to be any type of inclement weather, including heavy rain, gales and of course snow.
The town hall is also urging family, friends and neighbours of older, more vulnerable residents, to check on them to make sure they are taking every reasonable step to stay warm to help prevent colds, flu or more serious health problems like pneumonia.
Anyone over the age of 65, have a long term health condition or are pregnant should have arranged to have their flu jab already this winter. Residents may also want to consider keeping some paracetamol or Ibuprofen in the house for colds and temperatures.
February 2, 2012