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Croydon has 4,000 tonnes of salt ready for the big freeze

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GRITTING lorries were out in force at the beginning of the week as the borough experienced its first real cold snap of the winter.

Roads and pavements were covered with morning frost as overnight temperatures dipped below freezing between Christmas and the New Year.

No heavy snowfall has yet hit Croydon but the council's cabinet member for transport and environment, Councillor Kathy Bee, said she was confident the authority was ready to deal with any bad weather.

This week, six gritting lorries were out on Sunday and Monday nights, covering around 240km of roads each night. The operation was part of a winter service programme approved by the cabinet in October which will use salt to pre-treat roads to help prevent the formation of ice.

The plan also identifies priority areas for salting operations including main traffic and bus routes, approaches to transport interchanges, roads leading to hospitals, ambulance and fire stations, and other hazardous routes such as steep gradients.

Cllr Bee said there had been extremes of weather in the last few years and it was impossible to say whether every extreme could be coped with. But she added: "We have the grit in place and we can bring in more if it needed. I am sure that we are ready for a standard winter."

The council has almost 600 roadside salt bins spread across the borough, situated mainly near hilly roads and junctions.

Salt from these bins can be used by residents to treat ice and snow on the roads and pavements in their immediate locality.

The council has more than 4,000 tonnes of salt ready to deal with any further deterioration in the weather. There is also a contract in place with its supplier guaranteeing that a further 10,000 tonnes will be kept in reserve for exclusive use in Croydon and two neighbouring boroughs – Bexley and Bromley.

Fieldway councillor Simon Hall has called for particular attention to be paid to New Addington as it has been cut off from the rest of Croydon in previous winters, as the main access road, Lodge Lane, has become gridlocked.

He told the Advertiser: "New Addington is known as Little Siberia because it is generally two degrees colder up here than in the centre of Croydon. Because there is only one road in and out it is absolutely critical that, in terms of preventative gritting and clearing any ice and snow, New Addington is seen as a priority."

Cllr Hall plans to ask Transport for London to run trams through the night around the clock to stop the rails from freezing, thereby helping and from the estate, to keep a link open with between New Addington and the rest of Croydon if the weather gets worse.

Croydon has 4,000 tonnes of salt ready for the big freeze


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