Council services and gritters prepared for 'cold snap' in Wakefield as five day snow warning issued

Gritters are preparing to work around the clock and people are being urged to look out for their vulnerable neighbours as several days of snow are forecast for the Wakefield district.

Friday, 5th February 2021, 4:24 pm
Gritters are preparing to work around the clock and people are being urged to look out for their vulnerable neighbours as several days of snow are forecast for the Wakefield district. Photo: Colin Williams

Wakefield Council said it was gearing up for a "prolonged spell of very cold weather" next week, after the Met Office issued five days of yellow weather warnings of ice and snow for the district.

More than 3,000 tonnes of grit is currently available, and the council's 22 gritter drivers will be working in rotas 24 hours a day throughout the week.

Winter response teams will be focussing on keeping the main roads as clear as possible as these routes support the emergency services, buses and the majority of traffic – covering 40 per cent of the entire district’s network.

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Teams will also focus on clearing access to Covid-19 vaccine and test centres as well as responding to other requests for support from residents.

Councillor Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways, said: “I’d like to reassure our residents that we are ready for this predicted snap of very cold weather and the potential of heavy snow.

“A significant amount of preparation and planning has taken place and we will be making all resources available to support our response to try and keep the district moving.

“Our initial focus always has to be on tackling the main routes and supporting our emergency services, so any help from our snow wardens and local communities is really appreciated. During the recent snowfall, we’ve seen a fantastic community spirit - that’s the type of place this district is – people get stuck in and help each other out.

“So if you can, and it is safe to do so, please help to clear the ice and snow from your local roads and pavements.

“We will be working around the clock to minimise any disruption, and I‘d like to thank everyone in advance for their support and kindness to our gritter drivers, they’ve worked relentlessly over the last few weeks and are continuing to do so.

“Please also remember, we remain under national lockdown restrictions so only travel if it is essential. Please also take into account the potential weather conditions and only travel if it is safe to do so.”

Some services, including bin collections, may be disrupted during the cold snap, Wakefield Council warned. In the event of significant disruption, it said it would prioritise essential services for those who are most vulnerable.

People are urged to leave their bins out if they are not collected on time, as a team will attend to collect the bin "as soon as possible."

Residents are also being encouraged to check on elderly and vulnerable neighbours during this cold spell to make sure they are ok and have everything they need.

Anyone supporting a neighbour is asked to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a face mask if possible.

Coun Faith Heptinstall, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, said: “Whilst we must all continue to follow the national restrictions to reduce the spread of Covid-19, I know many residents will also want to make sure their neighbours are coping in the cold weather.

"This is testament to the great communities we have in this district, so please check on your neighbour if you can but remember to maintain social distancing and wear a mask if possible.”