Town Hall will supply bags during cold snap
Members of the public are being offered grit free of charge under a new town hall initiative to combat snow and ice this winter.
The council will provide residents with up to 50 kilos of grit and rock salt to help them cope with frozen footpaths.
The aim is to encourage people in the community to help others in their neighbourhoods - especially the elderly and disabled, or those with young children who might otherwise find it hazardous to venture outdoors in a cold snap.
Transport spokesman Cllr Russell King said: "If it snows this winter the council will be working flat out to clear snow and ice from the borough's roads and pavements.
"But with nearly 230 miles of road surface and some 450 miles of pavements to deal with we cannot pretend this is not a mammoth task that will always take a significant time to complete.
"In previous cold snaps local people have consistently said to us that they are willing to help out and clear paths in their neighbourhoods, as long as they have the means of doing the job.
"We have been heartened by this response and this year we hope that this sense of community spirit can be fostered and that people will be willing to help their neighbours. We will provide the salt and the grit and with their help, together we can clear snow and ice away more quickly.
"Residents will of course have greater local knowledge and be much better placed to clear ice from the private front garden footpaths of vulnerable people living in their street.
"This is a perfect demonstration of what the Big Society is all about and how it can offer an effective and practical remedy to specific issues."
The council will also be supplying bags of grit to the borough's 200 neighbourhood watch co-ordinators and has also expanded the number of salt bins across the borough so that members of the public also have an immediate stock of grit close at hand.
There are now 55 of these salt bins located around the borough, situated mainly in elevated and hilly areas where icy pavements can be particularly treacherous.
People who want to take advantage of the council's free grit offer can go along to the council's depot in Dormay Street, Wandsworth SW18 1EY, between 10am and 12 midday any day between Monday, November 14 and Saturday, November 19. They should bring some proof of address to show that they reside in the borough.
When snow has fallen, the council's main priority is to keep the borough's main roads clear of ice so that the emergency services and public transport can keep running. Smaller residential roads are gritted afterwards.
The borough's 450 miles of pavements and footpaths must be treated by hand which is a labour intensive and time consuming process. Particular attention is always paid to entrances outside tube and railway stations, hospitals, OAP day centres, schools, care homes, clinics and nurseries.
The gritting of borough red routes and their adjoining pavements is managed by Transport for London - these include the A3, A24, A205, A214, A306, A3205 and A3220
For general advice about clearing ice from footpaths and to find the location of your nearest salt bin visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/snow.
November 7, 2011