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Snow and ice

During the winter months Essex County Council aims to keep major roads free from ice and snow, to enable residents to travel as freely and safely as possible. The County Council treats a precautionary salting network, which covers approximately 1900 miles - 40% of the county’s total road network. Included in this network are ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads, access routes for emergency services, rural link roads and routes served by public transport buses more than four times a day, five days a week.

The County Council has to focus gritting resources on major roads. Except for exceptional circumstances it does not treat minor roads and residential areas, areas that are not part of the public highway - such as car parks and parks, footways and cycle tracks. High use footways will be identified for treatment when covered with heavy snow, if resources permit.

Rochford District Council have plans in place to prioritise its areas of responsibility, during periods of heavy snow and severe winter conditions SITA staff will be diverted from their normal duties to assist in salting or snow clearance operations. In the event that the refuse service is suspended, additional staff will be redeployed.

The Council will endeavour in order of priority using staff employed by our contractors to spread grit salt at various Sheltered Housing Scheme Units, at all entrances, exits and roadways at the Council’s cemeteries, at all entrances and exits to the Council’s parks and open spaces, where access is urgently needed (i.e. where Pavilions are used by play groups), at all entrances and exits and around the ticket machines in the Council’s Pay & Display car parks, and on the access paths to all of the Council’s Public conveniences.

It is unrealistic to specify response and completion times, as these would vary according to the severity of the snowfall or ice and the availability of staff.

Contrary to popular myth, there is no law stopping you from taking action to clear your local pavements and pathways, providing that you take a careful and common sense approach. When clearing snow and ice make sure you are not putting yourself or anyone else at risk, and do not use water under any circumstances as it may replace snow with dangerous black ice.

You may find the following useful in keeping you and your family safe

  • keep curtains drawn and doors closed to block out draughts
  • have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day
  • wear several light layers of clothes rather than one heavy layer
  • keep as active as possible
  • try to heat your home to the recommended temperature of 18 – 21°C if you can’t heat all of the rooms heat the living room during the day and the bedroom before you go to sleep
  • check on friends, relatives and neighbours

While driving always take extra care and adjust your driving to suit the conditions. Never assume a road has been gritted. No road can be guaranteed to be free of ice or snow and black ice is often invisible

  • only drive if absolutely necessary, use public transport if possible
  • check the weather forecast before starting out
  • try to use primary roads
  • allow extra time for your journey
  • ensure your vehicle is in good order, lights and indicators are clear, anti freeze has been added to its radiator, and low freezing screen wash is in the washer bottle
  • fill your fuel tank regularly
  • tune into your local radio station for travel news
  • have emergency items in your car including
    • warm coat, extra clothing and suitable winter footwear
    • blanket or sleeping bag
    • torch and extra batteries
    • shovel
    • water and snacks
    • tow rope or chain
    • jump leads
    • mobile phone
  • if you get stuck in a remote area
    • pull of the road
    • turn on your hazard lights
    • remain in your vehicle
    • only leave the car if there is a building very close in which you can shelter
    • take turns sleeping so you can see or hear rescue teams
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