Members of the public are once again being offered free bags of grit next week as part of a council initiative to combat snow and ice this winter.
With colder weather on the horizon, the council is offering residents up to 50 kilos of grit free of charge to help them cope with frozen footpaths this winter, this council press release explains.
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.
Last year the council gave away more than 15 tonnes of grit to local residents, community groups and neighbourhood watch co-ordinators to help keep pavements clear.
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 it is a massive task that always takes time to complete.
“Last year people told us they were willing to help out and clear paths in their neighbourhoods, just as long as they had the tools to do the job, and because it was such a success we are looking to harness that community spirit again this year.
“We are providing the salt and the grit and with the help of our community, together we can clear away the snow and ice more quickly.
“Local people will also have far greater knowledge of their own streets and neighbourhoods and be much better placed to clear ice from the front garden paths of vulnerable people living in their area.
“This is a perfect demonstration of what the Big Society is all about and how it can offer practical remedies to specific issues.”
People who want to take advantage of the council’s offer should visit its depot in Dormay Street in Wandsworth between 10am and noon any day between Monday, November 12 and Saturday November 17. People taking advantage of the offer should bring proof of address to show they live in the borough.
The council is also 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.
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.
By: Charlie Masson Smith