Gritters on standby as extra long and harsh winter is forecast for Barnsley

Preparations are under way in Barnsley for a harsh and extra long winter, based on predictions from long-range weather forecasts.

Thursday, 28th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Friday, 29th November 2019, 12:30 pm

Barnsley Council normally operates a 24 week winter period, when 54 members of staff are on standby around the clock and ready to be mobilised to help keep the roads gritted and traffic moving in the event of bad weather.

But councillor Chris Lamb, a member of the council’s ruling Cabinet, said measures will remain in place for an additional fortnight at the end of winter next year ‘as a result of long range predictions from the Met Office’.

Speaking at a council meeting, Coun Lamb said the authority’s fleet of gritters were serviced and calibrated to ensure they will work as expected, with three weather service co-ordinators who are now monitoring conditions and will be able to react as necessary.

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A driver struggles on the slippery surface, after snowfall in Barnsley. Picture: Dean Atkins

In addition to gritting crews, members of the council’s Neighbourhood Services department will also be available to help clear snow when necessary.

Coun Lamb said: “Our resources are focused on primary routes, linking schools, bus routes, hospitals, South Yorkshire fire and police and ambulance assets.”

The council started the winter season with 12,000 tonnes of grit salt stockpiled in its silos at Smithies and Penistone and has so far used only 225 tonnes, leaving 98 per cent of the stockpile available.

Last year’s winter was mild and the council’s gritters used only 3,400 tonnes, meaning the council has a large contingency built into its stockpile to cope with a long and hard winter.

Coun Lamb said the council’s 540 grit bins had also been filled, and appealed for residents to resist taking stocks away, leaving them to be used in the areas where the bins were placed.

Coun Dave Griffin, who represents the Penistone West ward, asked how bins were allocated when new housing was built, with Penistone experiencing growth in numbers of new homes.

Coun Lamb said a range of factors were taken into account, such as the number of older people who may be out using the streets.

‘Those principles will be applied to all new developments,’ he said.