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Gritting 2011-2012!
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andrewr


Posts: 296
Joined: May 2006
Post: #1
27-04-2011 08:33 PM

Winter seems a long way away, but with input from representatives of the Forest Hill Society, The Tewkesbury Lodge Estate Residents' Association and Cllr Alex Feakes, a review of the Council's gritting operations was undertaken at a meeting last month. This is to be followed up by a Council feedback / review meeting with F M Conway, the contractors responsible for gritting.

Council Officers have agreed that the response to last winter's snow could have been better and a number of measures are proposed to improve things next winter.

Key points are:

1. The Council will explore with Conway's the possibility of using snow chains when needed. F M Conway are willing to try this although they have found they clog quickly. They will also investigate the use of four wheel drive gritting lorries.

2. The Council, through its website and other communications, and local societies, will encourage residents to clear the pavements outside their own homes. Salt will be placed on street corners. Links will be provided to DfT guidance to residents wishing to assist.

3. The Council received several complaints of gritting lorries driving the routes but not spreading. They will investigate how they can ensure salt is being spread including fitting CCTV to allow driver's assistants to monitor spreading.

4. The Council will discuss driver training with F M Conway and require them to demonstrate that all their drivers are fully trained in the use of the available equipment.

5. The Council will look at keeping some key routes clear to provide emergency and walking access even if it proves impossible to keep all of the priority routes open.

These seem to be very positive proposals which, if implemented successfully, can only help to avoid the problems so many of us experienced last winter.

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #2
28-04-2011 01:34 PM

That's all very positive and sensible. I especially like point 2 - I lectured everyone the past two winters about it being okay to clear the snow yourself. Good to see this message getting official approval.

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roz


Posts: 1,790
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #3
28-04-2011 06:05 PM

Its a good way forward but I do question the wisdom of getting local people to clear pavements and do wonder if those who recommend this course of action live in a different world, one where everyone has loads of time and there are no such things as bad backs!

Last year some in my road did that but the cleared areas of tarmac turned to black ice once it started to melt. Personally I preferred to stay on the compacted snow.( over the shoe crampons very useful here) . And during a period of regular and sustained snowfall how often is the pavement to be cleared?
Like a lot of people with leaving home much earlier to take the children to nursery/school due to snow, and get to work, and it being 7pm by the time we got back home, we wouldn't have had the time or opportunity to do this last winter even if we'd wanted to unless we were out there at midnight. There is also no way I'd want my partner to risk pulling a muscle which might mean being off work with potential loss of pay.
Something for fit and energetic retirees only I think!

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #4
28-04-2011 06:29 PM

Roz - there are correct ways of clearing your pavement which overcome some of the problems you mention.

1. Use a lightweight purpose made snow shovel, easily available in DIY stores. This makes the job much easier and minimises the risk of injury.

2. Sprinkle salt over the paths after you have cleared them (cheap table salt is fine, or use grit if the council put back local bins). This prevents ice forming.

We have a double fronted house so an above average stretch of path to clear. I did it last year in about 30-45 minutes. I did it very early in the morning or in the evening after work - in the dark, more often than not. When you've done it once, if you need to clear it again it is usually quicker as the salt helps prevent too much build up.

Those who are able should offer to do the same for those less able. I do not count couples with young children in that category.

I have to say, roz, while you do contribute greatly to this forum, you do seem to have a 'can't do' attitude' to most suggestions that involve any effort or changing anything.

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roz


Posts: 1,790
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #5
28-04-2011 06:50 PM

Thanks for the advice about which shovel to buy however we won't be buying one as we have no intention of doing it for the reasons outlined. Sorry if that seems uncharitable,but our health and wellbeing come well before the safety of the public. I suggest people buy some of those overthe shoe crampons as it makes pavement clearing rather redundant!

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #6
28-04-2011 06:59 PM

Wow.

Okay, for those who ARE interested in doing what generations of people did in the past without injury or indeed fuss, there are guidelines on directgov.uk on clearing snow.

It is not, as some people seem to think, a Herculean task to clear a few metres of snow. You don't even need to clear the whole path, just the width of, for example, a push chair or buggy. It doesn't take long and it won't kill you. It's actually quite good exercise. For the record, I'm a 42 year-old woman with average fitness and a slightly dodgy back. I do it every year with a garden shovel and some bags of salt from Sainsburys.

It's a bit of shovelling, that's all.

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oryx


Posts: 202
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #7
28-04-2011 11:55 PM

Why this obsession with clearing snow from outside one's home?

Last winter when the weather was very bad I ventured to work via Catford station, a walk of some twenty minutes. The areas cleared had all frozen up and were like a skating rink. The uncleared areas were still deep crunchy snow which was much safer to walk on.

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roz


Posts: 1,790
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #8
29-04-2011 05:08 AM

My view exactly!

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Contrary Mary


Posts: 124
Joined: Oct 2008
Post: #9
29-04-2011 09:49 PM

As I think someone's pointed out already, it gets like a skating rink when you don't do it properly.

Properly involves shovelling it, then sweeping away any remaining slush/water (doesn't add much time to the process), and then salting the cleared patch

If everyone did that, we'd be fine.

Compacted uncleared snow is fine until you get a partial melt which refreezes as ice, or a new fall after an overnight freeze which covers any icy patches so that you can't see where they are. Then it's a skating rink anyway. If it was cleared and salted first, this is less of an issue.

And yes, that's from someone who actually does it.

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andrewr


Posts: 296
Joined: May 2006
Post: #10
30-04-2011 10:00 AM

Uncleared snow gets compacted and then icy on pavements. Just about OK to walk on on the flat with suitable footwear but awful on the hills. As previously mentioned, it is pretty easy to clear before it has been compacted and very small amounts of salt keep it that way. Freshly fallen snow can be cleared from the front of an average house in 10 minutes with a shovel and broom. Not a difficult task. It's only once it gets comapacted and icy it starts to get harder.

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