More grit bins and weekend working are among extra measures to deal with ice and snow that Brighton and Hove City Council is introducing as another cold snap is forecast.
The council was roundly criticised by members of the public for its management of this month’s snowfall, which left hundreds of the city’s roads impassable, including some bus routes.
Hundreds of people hurt themselves on ungritted pavements which led to the Royal Sussex County Hospital declaring the freeze a major incident.
A Facebook group set up to let those affected express their frustration has almost 600 members.
Last week, the council announced that it was launching a review into its cold weather management. And today council leader Mary Mears said that the following immediate changes would be made:
- An increase in the number of grit bins in the city with a map so the public can locate them
- Gardeners, litter pickers and street cleaning staff to be switched to hand-gritting from the beginning of a gritting operation
- More staff to be available to work at weekends and on bank holidays and
- Piles of salt to be dumped on street corners so that they can be accessed more easily for hand-gritting.
In the short term, 100 parks and streets staff would be diverted from gardening and cleaning duties today to hand-grit pavements in the city ahead of the predicted drop in temperatures overnight.
Cllr Mears said: “While the council gritted all major roads during the cold snap, it was clear to me that we can do more to protect residents and keep shopping areas clear when there is severe weather.
“I have worked with senior officers and staff on the ground to respond to residents’ concerns and I believe the measures I am announcing will significantly improve the operation so that many more pavements and side roads are free from ice.
“Freezing weather is predicted during the next few days and I’d ask residents to take extra care before going outside and to consider whether their journey is absolutely necessary.
“I’d also like residents to be aware that no council can grit every road in a cold snap and I’d appeal for patience if some pavements become icy.”
The council’s six gritting lorries and four snow ploughs are also ready for use. The council says that it has hundreds of tonnes of stockpiled salt and will put four-wheel drive vehicles at the disposal of home care teams, district nurses and Meals on Wheels if necessary.
For the latest information on the council’s preparations visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/snow.
Here is a crowdsourced map of the current grit bin locations, created by Paul Annett.