Gritting teams across West Yorkshire are ready for whatever winter may bring with new gritters and thousands of tonnes of grit ready to keep the roads open.
Councils in Wakefield, Kirklees, Calderdale and Leeds all say they have enough grit to keep priority routes across the county clear during heavy snowfall.
The priority routes are made up of A and B roads, steep hills and roads leading to hospitals or schools. Wakefield Council said it has more than 6,500 tonnes in stock and 15 new gritters to cover the district. More than 340 grit bins will also be restocked by the end of November.
Coun David Dagger, cabinet member for transport and highways school, said: “We are already working hard to prepare for any adverse winter weather to help keep our roads moving.
“We hope that everyone will come together again this year to help keep our roads and pavements clear of snow and ice. We want everyone to stay safe this winter and take this opportunity to ask drivers to take care during the winter months.”
Forecasters have predicted the country could be in for a bad winter due to a shift in the distribution of warm water in the Pacific Ocean around the equator causing colder air to flow across Britain.
The Met Office said there was “an increased risk of cold weather developing but it is currently too early to be confident about this signal.”
Calderdale Council has more than 600 grit bins across the district and enough salt to cover the 66 per cent of the district’s routes it looks after.
Mark Thompson, the council’s director of economy and environment, said: “Calderdale Council works hard every year to make sure we are prepared for winter, and our main aim is to keep Calderdale residents safe. We have a large stock of salt in three depots around the borough and as such are prepared to deal with the worst of snow and ice conditions.
“On our precautionary salting network we employ a fleet of gritters and drivers to treat the roads when required. We are in constant contact with our weather provider Meteogroup during the winter season and base our gritting activities on the information provided by them. We have also made sure that the borough’s 600 grit bins are full with salt ready for the winter season.
“During periods of bad weather we do all we can to keep essential services running, but there may be some unavoidable changes to routine local services.”
Leeds City Council also said it was ready for the winter with more than 25,000 tonnes of salt in stock. It also upgraded its weather stations and gritters during the summer. Coun Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “Our highways team works throughout the year to ensure we have planned properly with sufficient salt stocks and as much up-to-date intelligence as possible to inform our gritting operations.
“During the summer our roadside weather stations were recalibrated to give the most accurate forecasts possible for road temperatures and conditions in Leeds.
“We have 25,000 tonnes of salt and our 39 gritters have been overhauled during the summer in preparation for the winter season. We have 30 pre-defined routes for precautionary gritting and each route is covered by two trained gritter drivers who operate on a shift system so that we can offer 24 hour, seven day a week cover.
“The council also has over 1,000 grit bins strategically placed throughout the city so that people can help themselves during severe conditions, most are already replenished with the last few being completed by the end of this week.”
Kirklees Council said it has got enough stock to grit more than 700 miles of roads across the district. A spokesman said: “25,000 tonnes of grit has been delivered in preparation for the start of the winter and we are in the process of filling the 1,450 council grit bins across the district.
“When winter weather is forecast we will, as in previous years grit our priority routes. When the snow has stopped falling we will continue to treat the priority network before moving on to secondary routes and other locations. We have also trained more of our drivers from across the council to operate the gritters. We are pleased to be continuing to work with the network of volunteer farmers and snow friends - who provide an invaluable service to keep Kirklees communities safely on the move, and keep our more vulnerable residents safe.
“We would like to encourage all residents, businesses and organisations to prepare for the winter weather, have plans in place so they are not caught out and to give assistance to those who need help.”
Follow @MyWakefield on Twitter
Search #wakeywinter on Twitter
Follow @KirkleesWinter on Twitter
Follow @Calderdale on Twitter
Follow @Calderhighways on Twitter