Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Snow & Salt Bins

Wednesday 6th January

I awoke in 'Narnia' this morning.
A mighty eight inches (200mm in new money) laid overnight and once I'd viewed the scene I knew I'd certainly have to write the morning off in terms of getting into the office or indeed any of our sites even in spite of parking the cars on the road overnight. After clearing the Sky dish of snow, since the snowfall had compromised the morning's news bulletins and starting a snowman with my eldest son, I started to get the first telltale buzzes from the County BlackBerry Device.
At first these were the daily media and traffic signal updates, but shortly thereafter I began to receive messages from my other County colleagues about the situations in their divisions followed by updates from the highways team about road clearing and gritting progress.

I had wondered when MacDonald Road, where I live and a Priority 2 road, was going to be gritted, but it turns out that my suspicions and those of a fellow concerned Lightwater resident were correct. The County, running low on supplies, had determined to re-prioritise and only grit the Priority 1 roads (with a few exceptions) in the short term! As I have mentioned already below, while I find this particularly irritating on a personal level, I do undertstand the necessity to keep the main networks open at the expense of the secondary routes; but I trust that somebody somewhere will be getting a slapped wrist for under-ordering the requisite salts, which I now understand are en route on a boat from Spain...

Better news was forthcoming about the bins.
Surrey has 1400 salt bins, of which 190 are in Surrey Heath. The salt shortage had resulted in a number of these bins being left empty of salt and/or not being refilled, but I was advised just after lunch that a decsion had been made to load them up with sharp sand instead - which is what I buy from B&Q and use at my house when it becomes slippery - starting tomorrow. An additional six crews have been drafted in to undertake the process.

It raises questions though. I 'tweeted' last night about the British way of reacting to events. It always seems to be too hot, too cold, too leafy, too snowy.
Why are we in the UK consistently caught out by the weather?


  1. Here is a question I would really like answered then: when were the bins last refilled? I went around about 10 bins today to find grit to aid getting out of my road in Lightwater. All empty; no salt or sharp sand and some had beer cans residing in them dating back years!

  2. I've asked and it would appear that most of them were refilled in October. Some of them have indeed been forsaken as part of a rationalisation last year, but I am looking into the possibility of re-instating those.

    The other problem is some residents taking grit for themselves, rather than for pathways or roads. Not for patio-laying you understand, but for their front steps and back gardens etc.
    It doesn't take long for that sort of activity to empty a bin.

    I am assured though that the bins are underway.