Wealden District Council

Wealden Salting and Gritting Policy

Policy

This policy sets out the priorities for salting and gritting when conditions of ice and snow demand. The policy does NOT attempt to replace any of the Council's arrangements for Emergency Planning and/or Business Continuity.

The Council's Resources 

The Council has some resources which it may deploy to assist its staff, tenants and the general public in snowy and icy conditions. These resources include contractor's employees, communication and partnership arrangements.

Direct Employees

The Council's contracts of employment include provisions for employees to be directed to suitable work outside of their mainstream activities. This includes the co-ordination and communication of activities due to adverse weather.

Contractors

Contracts which involve employees carrying out externally based manual work, include conditions which empower the Council to instruct the redeployment of resources to gritting, snow clearance or other necessary works, where work on their mainstream activity is hampered by adverse conditions.

Signage

The Council may, from time to time, have to close some of its car parks for safety reasons or to enable salting, gritting, snow clearance, etc to take place.  This will normally be at short notice and where possible signs will be displayed informing the public that this is the case.

In the absence of signs, officers will redirect traffic to alternative locations and car parks, and may erect cones, high visibility tape, etc to prevent access. The Head of Housing and Property Services will be responsible for the provision and deployment of signs, cones, tape etc. as well as the deployment of Council staff. 

In exceptionally severe weather the car parks may be reopened in part and the Council's priority will be to clear access routes.  On such occasions the car park spaces are unlikely to be cleared until priorities and resources allow.  The Council will provide appropriate advice to the public via use of temporary signage.

Website Updates

The Head of Policy, People and Communications will be responsible for updating the Council's Website in relation to adverse weather and the Council's response. Other Heads of Service and staff will feed information in to allow accurate and timely updates.

Liaison with Town and Parish Councils

Where town and parish councils have resources such as salt and staff, which they are willing and able to redeploy to snow clearance etc, the Head of Policy, People and Communications will liaise to ensure there is co-ordination with the activities of the external waste contractor.

Priorities in a Low to Medium Severity Event

The priorities for salting, gritting and snow clearance and the like in a low to medium severity event are included in the document: Snow clearing priorities for low to medium severity events (pdf).   The Council will commit resources in line with the priority schedule and dependent upon resources available. 

Depending upon the scale and severity of any weather event it may well be that some lower priority areas on the schedule will not be cleared for some days, or longer.  The Council's priority schedule predominantly takes account of areas for which it has direct responsibility.  The County Council is responsible for salting and gritting the public highway and footpaths and for details of their priorities reference should be made to the East Sussex Council - Salting and Gritting policy (external link)

It will be seen that the highest priority is enabling access to the Council office sites.  As a provider of a number of essential services (not least being a Category 1 Responder in emergencies) and to ensure that those essential services are provided to the public, the offices need to be accessible at the earliest opportunity.  There are a number of rural car parks which have a loose surface, i.e. unmade, and it is not always possible to clear such surfaces.

Priorities in a Medium to High Severity Event

Where the severity of snowfall and/or icy conditions seriously impedes the movement of resources around the District, a Corporate Director(s) may instruct that available resources are deployed to work outside of the priorities shown in the snow clearing priorities below.

It may be that resources are directed to snow and ice clearance from footpaths in one or more of the District's town or village centres. In these circumstances, the County Council should be consulted in advance. The sequence of work and deployment of resources will be guided by prevailing conditions.

Snow clearing priorities for low to medium severity events (pdf)

Use of Car Parks

In all circumstances the public must use the Council-owned and operated car parks in accordance with the notices and regulations in force.  The Council will take all reasonable precautions to make the car parks as safe as possible to use.  However, all vehicles using the car park must be driven and parked with care, especially during severe and adverse weather conditions.  All vehicles and contents are left at the owner's risk. 

As some of the Council's car parks are on sloping sites, vehicle drivers should be reminded that they should check that the car is not likely to slide (even when normally parked) due to black ice on the surface. 

Drivers should be advised to return to their vehicles at regular intervals to ensure that the vehicle remains safe, remember that car parks are mixed use, with both pedestrians and vehicles, exercise even greater care in severe weather to ensure the safety of pedestrians.  Enforcement

When all the car park surface markings are obscured by snow, then enforcement will generally be relaxed.  However, blatant misuse of the car park, i.e. parking on footpaths, kerbed or raised areas, obstruction of access areas, vehicles abandoned for extended periods, driving at excessive speed, etc will continue to be enforced.  Such enforcement will be used to protect the wider public.  The Council's website will provide details of whether enforcement has been relaxed and which car parks are closed. Where possible, signs will be placed at prominent locations providing advice to the public.