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3 February 2012, 16:22
Suffolk County Council and Norfolk County Council's gritting teams and community volunteers are gearing up for a busy weekend of freezing temperatures and a risk of snow.
Gritting teams are ready to take to the roads in the early hours and evenings, with thousands of tonnes of salt in stock at depots across the counties.
Graham Plant, Cabinet member for Planning and Transportation at Norfolk County Council said: "In severe weather, especially heavy snow, our gritters have to concentrate on the priority network of just over 2,000 miles - a third of the network - so we are encouraging local communities to do what they can to help.
It's also important to understand the limitations of gritting. The roads have been well prepared for the cold weather - the salt on the surface has been very obvious over the last few days - but that will not stop heavy snow from covering roads, and it often takes the action of traffic before the salt starts to work. If it's very cold the salt has very little effect. If that happens the gritters spread grit as well as salt on packed snow. They will be fitted with snow ploughs if there is more than about four inches of lying snow.
I also want to stress that there really is no risk if people take sensible action to clear snow and ice from outside their own properties. This is a public-spirited action that makes things safer for all. Suggestions that you somehow make yourself automatically liable for any slip or fall are complete nonsense."
Councillor Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council's Portfolio Holder for Roads, Transport and Planning said; "Our teams use sophisticated weather systems to monitor road temperatures and take decisions just hours in advance, sending our gritters out if necessary. We are responsible for keeping traffic moving over 1,200 miles of roads, and that's just for our priority major roads and busy commuter routes. Thanks to our improvements to set up a salt barn at Phoenix House in Ipswich, storing and despatching salt supplies to the heart of the county, plus our additional store at Mobbs Way in Lowestoft, we're better placed than ever before to keep Suffolk moving in severe winter weather."
Community volunteers also help when it comes to using locally supplied grit bins to keep residential roads, school playgrounds and pavements clear from ice and snow.
For further information* National Snow Code - advice on clearing snow and ice: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/DG_191868
For further information and gritting route maps go to www.norfolk.gov.uk/gritting
If school closures are necessary, these can be viewed at www.schoolclosures.norfolk.gov.uk
For further information about Suffolk County Council's winter preparation, plus tips and advice to keep warm and safe, visit Suffolk County Council's new website: http://beta.suffolk.gov.uk/ and select 'Winter - are you prepared?'