North Yorkshire is well prepared to keep the county on the move and to keep elderly and disabled people safe and well during winter weather.
The county has been at the ready as temperatures have plummeted during the current spell of wintry conditions.
Highways gritting teams have been geared up for the challenge of wintry weather on the county’s 5,800 miles of roads since October
The £7m winter maintenance budget sees 54% of the roads gritted on one of England’s largest and in places most remote road networks. Eight new replacement gritters have been added to the fleet, making a total of 86, and there are 111 farm contractors, five road snowblowers and seven footpath snowblowers.
North Yorkshire County Council started the winter with 55,000 tons of salt stocks in our barns and 8,000 grit heaps and bins and throughout the winter we replenish these stocks so they are currently at the same level. Gritters are on call 24 hours a day, farmer contractors, duty managers and overnight patrols are all on standby and overnight patrols are in operation when necessary.
Farmer contractors have already been out to clear snowfall in upper parts of Swaledale and Wensleydale and the North York Moors over Blakey Ridge this week. Our winter highways operations are well placed to keep the county moving.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for highways, said: “The county council places the highest priority on winter maintenance across our vast road network, one of the largest in the country.
“Coping with severe winter weather on a big road network is a complex operation, but it is a top priority to keep the county on the move, We will grit as required to keep our highways open. Our first priority is major routes which connect or go through the county’s towns and we will clear these before moving on to our second level of priority routes which give access to smaller communities.
“While we do everything we can to keep traffic moving during severe winter weather, it is important for drivers to drive with caution and consider whether their journey is absolutely necessary.”
The county Council uses the latest weather forecasting technology in planning its gritting operations. This includes ice prediction weather stations, a 24-hour weather forecast and road temperature sensor data.
Further information, road cameras, maps and videos explaining the council’s operations can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/gritting.
During gritting operations, updates will be posted on the council’s Twitter account and Facebook page. Follow @northyorkscc or #nygrit and https://www.facebook.com/northyorkscc.
Advice for drivers about preparing for winter driving can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/safe-winter-driving.
Last winter 100% of gritting treatment was performed on time and the road weather cameras on the county council website were viewed 1,697,100 times. Sutton Bank was 21% of that figure.
Looking out for the elderly and disabled:
The county council is also asking neighbours and friends to look out for elderly and disabled friends and family members as temperatures continue to plummet in the coming days. North Yorkshire spends nearly half its total budget on adult social care and keeping elderly and disabled people safe and well during winter months is a priority for the service.
The council along with health partners has advised people to prepare for wintry weather by making sure they are warm enough at home by keeping rooms heated to more than 18 degrees Celsius.
Living in a cold home leads to thousands of excess winter deaths each year and often makes medical conditions like heart and respiratory diseases worse. It can also contribute to mental ill health. People are still being encouraged to get a flu jab to take them through the remaining wintry months.
The county council has, in partnership with Citizen’s Advice, also commissioned a warm and well service, which offers support to people worried about winter, living in cold homes or struggling to pay bills. The service offers a single point of contact – 01609 767555 – for any North Yorkshire resident with concerns about winter or needing help.
North Yorkshire works with all partners, care providers and the NHS to ensure people have the care they need during wintry conditions and have well-rehearsed business continuity plans.
The council’s care teams prioritise visits during bad weather and have access to 4 x 4 vehicles if necessary to access elderly and disabled people needing care even in remote places. Care and multi-disciplinary teams are well-coordinated to ensure the elderly and disabled get necessary welfare checks and have adequate provisions. System-wide resilience calls take place in every locality to understand and provide a coordinated response to any pressures on services.
“We are well-rehearsed and ready for wintry conditions in order to prioritise care for our most vulnerable residents,” said County Councillor Michael Harrison, executive member for adult social care and health integration. “We work with all our partners, care providers, the NHS, family and friends as well as our own care teams to ensure that even those in the most remote areas are supported to stay safe and well.”
The council’s Living Well service is also working to help people during the current spell of cold weather.
The service engages with partners to ensure that in emergency situations people get instant support, such as portable heaters from the Fire Service. Living Well coordinators also help source emergency funds to ensure the people they support have credit on gas and electric supply. They also register people on the vulnerability register with the water and power companies to ensure they are prioritised in the event of a utility problem.
During severe weather the service checks that every person who is open to Living Well is safe, warm and has the resources needed, i.e. milk and bread. The coordinators check themselves where it is possible to reach people on foot or they will use community partners to make the checks for them.
Pictures shows: North Yorkshire gritter out and about on the high roads
Link to videos:
“Our Winter Service”
Find out about our winter gritting service in North Yorkshire.
“Getting ready for winter”
Find out how we prepare for winter in North Yorkshire.
“To salt or not to salt”
Find out how we decide whether to salt or not to salt.
“Out on the road”
Find out what it's like out on the road with our gritting teams.
“Keeping you safe”
Find out how our gritting teams keep you safe on our roads during winter.
“Spreading our message”
Find out how we keep you informed about our gritting plans. View our routes online, see our live weather cameras to plan your journey and see our gritting plans on twitter.