Kent Gets Back To Normal After Big Freeze

Kent is finally getting back to normal after a week of chaos

After a week of school closures, impassable roads and train chaos - things in Kent are starting to get back to normal.

Kent was one of the worst affected areas in the whole country with some places seeing a very deep covering.

On Heart we reported on Friday that more than 600 schools and nurseries had been forced to close, with most of the county's roads too dangerous to drive on and trains running very restricted time tables.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has requested an inquiry into the way the country dealt with the cold snap.

But here in the county things have improved. 

Southeastern trains are running a normal service today.  Here is what they told us yesterday:

Weather permitting we plan to operate a normal timetable service tomorrow, Monday 6 December.

'Because First Capital Connect (FCC) is unable to provide services on jointly operated routes Southeastern will be providing a half hourly service between Sevenoaks and City Thameslink.

Frost and below freezing temperatures are forecast overnight, so Network Rail will be working through the night to endeavour to keep the rails free of ice so that we can operate a service for our customers.'

Even though the worst of the weather has passed for now, there is still a warning to motorists, especially in Medway.

Roads policing officer PC Andy Ledger said:  ‘We would urge all motorists to take care when they go out onto the roads this week.  Temperatures are likely to remain low and there will be a continued risk of ice on many of the routes across Medway.  People should take their time and stay alert at all times as stopping distances can increase by up to ten times on ice.
‘Fog has also been a problem and motorists should remember to turn their lights and their fog lights on where visibility drops below 100 metres.  If there is thick fog, keep your distance from the car in front, just in case they have to stop suddenly.  Conditions are likely to remain difficult over the coming days so we want to make sure that there are no serious collisions on the roads across Medway.’


Here's what Medway Council have been telling us:

Medway’s gritters were out working all weekend and throughout last night and now there are no reported problems on the area’s primary and secondary roads.

The teams were out putting down rock salt due to the daytime thaw of snow over the past few days combined with overnight freezing conditions.

People are asked to still travel with caution.

Veolia have been working hard all weekend to keep the main footways and car parks clear.

And they were out early on Saturday morning around Rochester where they were out clearing snow and gritting ahead of the Dickensian Christmas Festival and the Dickens Christmas market.

Waste collections will resume as normal today, following suspension of services last week due to the snow.

Residents are asked to bear with us on the Thursday and Friday routes, where collections stopped last week, and keep their refuse and recycling for the next scheduled collection.

Medway’s three household waste and recycling centres also reopened on Saturday and have containers for mixed recycling and refuse.

They are based at Ambley Road, off Hoath Way, Gillingham; Shawstead Road, Capstone, Chatham; and Sundridge Hill, Cuxton. 


Fire Safety During Cold Weather:

Kent Fire and Rescue have told us they were called out to a number of fire caused by people trying to stay warm last week.

Potentially life-saving tips include:

• Have electric blankets checked regularly by a qualified electrician - don't leave them switched on and never use them at the same time as a hot water bottle
• If you plan on using an open fire, make sure your chimney has been recently swept as the build up of soot and ash can cause chimney fires.
• Avoid storing items near your open fire or in the roof space close to your chimney
• When going to bed, make absolutely certain that any open fire is either out, or pushed back into the grate and a guard used to prevent sparks setting light to carpets or furniture.
• Buy wheat bags with clear heating instructions from the manufacturer, and follow them.
• Portable heaters should be dust-free and kept well away from anything that could catch fire.
• Fit a smoke alarm on every level of your home and check it regularly
• In the event of a fire never try to tackle the fire yourself, leave it to the professionals and get out, stay out and dial 999.