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Winter is Coming - Get the Salt In!
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andrewr


Posts: 296
Joined: May 2006
Post: #1
09-11-2011 11:08 AM

Last winter, much of Forest Hill ground to a halt as a result of snowfall. In March, community representatives met with Malcolm Smith, then Director of Regeneration for Lewisham Council, to see if the Council's response could be improved in future. Various undertakings were made and we are now following up to find out what changes to plans have actually been put in place.

The Government have now given clear advice on snow clearance to members of the public in what they call the 'Snow Code'. You can read it here. Clearing freshly fallen snow isn't difficult if you have a broom and a shovel - and the effort involved might actually be useful exercise! To do the job properly you will need a supply of salt. Supermarket shelves were cleared of salt as soon as the snow fell last winter, so it might be a good idea to lay in stocks now. Dishwasher salt is convenient, fairly cheap, and if you don't use it on the pavement this winter, it has no shelf life to worry about!

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Londondrz


Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #2
09-11-2011 02:10 PM

I am looking forward to using my nice ice grip shoe socks that I bought at Finches last year.......just as the snow melted!!

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #3
09-11-2011 02:40 PM

And cue all the naysayers who say they won't clear the snow, no way no how. Despite the fact that it is now government advocated, and actually the law in countries that regularly get snow like we had last year.

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #4
09-11-2011 02:42 PM

Oh, and I bought lots of salt last year - still have some left for this year. A 500g bag of table salt costs pennies. Cheaper than dishwasher salt, but the large granules of dishwasher salt are easier to spread so you waste less.

If you run out of salt, you can use anything that dissolves in water to lower the freezing point, including sugar.

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IWereAbsolutelyFuming


Posts: 531
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #5
09-11-2011 06:08 PM

you can get proper stuff from wickes

Dont remember it costing as much as the website says but there you go. the bag lasted quite a while and if lots of us had a bag it'd keep things ticking over while we wait for lewisham to get round everywhere.

p.s. it wont snow this year

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andrewr


Posts: 296
Joined: May 2006
Post: #6
14-11-2011 11:47 AM

I've just heard from Lewisham Council that their contractor's gritting vehicles have now been equipped with snow chains and the drivers trained to use them. This could make a real difference if we get heavy snow this year. What's more, their salt stocks are full - 1200 tons available. ThumbupThumbup

The 'Winter Service Plan' starts today (two weeks earlier than last year) so they should be ready if we get early snowfall.

A link to the Government's website with advice on clearing snow from pavements has been added to the relevant page on the Council's site here - although sadly the Council's risk advisers still seem more concerned about people being at risk of being sued from doing the job badly than the risk to pedestrians of walking on icy uncleared pavements! Angry

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #7
14-11-2011 03:39 PM

Great news, apart from the fact that they are STILL peddling the MYTH that individuals could be sued if they somehow cause someone to slip by clearing snow. Both central government and the Law Society say this just won't happen.

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Joffe


Posts: 72
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #8
14-11-2011 03:52 PM

if central government say it then it must be true! I ust admit, I quite enjoy the inevitable chaos that comes with the snow. I'll be a bit disappointed if things work efficienty for once.

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #9
14-11-2011 04:42 PM

Lewisham should reinstate the yellow plastic salt hoppers, and as long as people follow 3 or 4 simple rules when clearing the snow from 'their' pavement, then Lewisham should act as guarantor and pick up the cost of any rogue legal case.

There would be absolutely no excuses then - nearly everyone can at least safely fill an old saucepan with rocksalt and sprinkle it outside their home.

The key point is the distribution of salt, as just clearing the snow most often makes the pavement more dangerous.

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #10
14-11-2011 05:13 PM

I don't think Lewisham acting as guarantor would be a good idea - that would just invite law suits. The point is that lawyers won't take up such cases against individuals because most people are worth enough financially to make it worth suing them, and plaintiffs are unlikely to get legal aid to sue you, so it's just not going to happen (this is according to the Law Society). It's just an urban myth that has got it of hand.

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andrewr


Posts: 296
Joined: May 2006
Post: #11
14-11-2011 06:16 PM

Lewisham have said they won't put salt in bins because they get abused. I'm still hoping that if the weather gets bad, they will put dumps of salt at strategic locations, particularly on the hills, but they haven't said this will happen. Sadly, last winter, there were a lot of reports of people stealing salt for resale or reuse elsewhere, including on their own private property. Since salt is so cheap and so little is needed to keep pavements clear once they have been swept, I think the most practical solution is for householders to have their own stocks rather than relying on the Council to supply it.

Presumably rhsdunlop meant to say "most people are NOT worth enough financially to make it worth suing them ..."?

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #12
14-11-2011 06:26 PM

Yup, that's what I meant. What I wouldn't give for an edit button on this forum...

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #13
15-11-2011 01:21 PM

It is not a myth.
If you have made the pavement more dangerous and someone breaks a leg, morally and legally why shouldn't you have to contribute if the council are sued?

Shovelling compacted snow away makes the pavement neater and sparkly and you'll feel good in a Dr Suess 'All this snow has to go" sort of way, but you are often exposing an icy layer that is more dangerous than before.

The best thing for levels of snow fall measured in inches rather than feet imo, is just to sprinkle rocksalt on top of the snow on the pavement - it improves grip, helps break up the compacted snow/ice and melts the stuff quickly once it has warmed a little.

It takes 5mins to do and is cheep as chips. But the council need to provide it - it is their pavement at the end of the day.

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Joffe


Posts: 72
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #14
15-11-2011 01:50 PM

I don't understand. Why can't we just have some snow on the ground? It makes London look lovely. the las thing we want to do is spend money dissolving it.

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #15
15-11-2011 01:56 PM

Perryman - if you read the above posts and advice carefully, you will see that there are two important steps:

1. Clear the snow
2. Sprinkle the cleared area with salt to prevent the formation of ice.

This is done in every city around the world where there is regular snow and it is done by private individuals - they are breaking the law if they don't clear the snow on the pavements outside their own properties and add salt to the cleared pavements.

If you add rock salt to several inches of snow, it will create slush. Almost as slippery as ice.

It IS a myth that you will be sued, even if there is a possibility that you are liable. The Law Society says solicitors will NOT take on such cases - liability is too hard to prove, and it is only worth suing people with lots of money who can a) pay any damages and b) cover legal costs of both parties.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #16
15-11-2011 02:57 PM

Joffe
I assume you are not a pensioner.

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Joffe


Posts: 72
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #17
15-11-2011 03:30 PM

Falling over in the snow isn't the sole privilege of pentioners. Done it a few times myself. Quite a lot of people saw one of them as well - really embarrassing as it was right outside the station.

I appreciate others are more delicate though.

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andrewr


Posts: 296
Joined: May 2006
Post: #18
15-11-2011 05:11 PM

If you put anything on top of snow, just use grit. That's what they do in countries where there is too much snow, or it is too cold to melt it with salt. If you clear the snow first, a bit of salt (or rock salt which is only dirty salt) will melt everything that is left and will melt small subsequent falls. Chucking (rock) salt on top of the snow is a pointless waste unless the snow layer is very thin.

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #19
16-11-2011 01:00 AM

In my experience rock salt breaks up compacted snow into a pink powder that then gets trampled further, continuing the good work.
It also removes any underlying ice.

This pink snow is filthy stuff, but it is safe to walk on.
Works brilliantly with London sized portions of snow and my expectation is in the absence of the yellow hoppers, the council figure out another way to distribute the stuff for self service. This is reasonable.

Plus there is no debate - read the government advice carefully - do not make the pavements worse. If you are not sure then leave it, whatever mother might say.

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #20
04-02-2012 05:19 PM

So, are you all ready? I'm heading out to salt my drive and the pavement in front of my house now. I also have my snow shovel ready for the morning should I need it. I'll throw a blanket over the car so I can remove the snow from the roof easily.

I notice that the streets of Beckenham are heavily salted - including the footpaths, but I can barely see the grit on our roads and pavements. As far as I can tell, there is no grit yet on the pavement round the back of Forest Hill station where it gets particularly icy. After the past two years, I though Lewisham would be better prepared than this. Crampons at the ready!

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