District pulls together to tackle severe weather conditions

15/01/2021, PR-9789

​Wakefield Council's winter response teams are continuing with a massive gritting and ploughing operation to get the district moving safely, after yesterday's significant snowfall and icy overnight conditions.

Since the early hours of yesterday (Thursday) morning over 4,000 km of roads have been gritted, using 1,000 tonnes of grit and 500 grit bins have been refilled. The main focus has been on the priority gritting routes, which are main roads that cover 40% of the entire district network. These routes support the emergency services, buses and the majority of traffic.

The Council's 14 gritters continue to be deployed today plus seven contractors, with an ongoing effort on the priority routes. Teams are also focussing on clearing access to vaccine centres as well as responding to other requests to support Council and partner services who need to get to the most vulnerable residents. Over 100 staff from all areas of the Council are involved in the severe weather response. This includes colleagues in transport services who have been supporting hospitals by taking discharged patients home, yesterday and today.

Despite the huge efforts made by Wakefield Council and councils across West Yorkshire, the current sub-zero road surface temperatures mean some disruption to journeys remains and everyone is being urged to only travel if the journey is essential. The district's main roads are all accessible now but people are asked to drive with care.

Bins collections are back up and running but there may be some delays. Anyone whose collection was missed yesterday or is due a collection today are being asked to leave their bins out and teams will get to them as soon as possible. Teams will be working on Saturday and Monday to get everyone's bins emptied and collections back on track.

The household waste recycling centres have reopened, however, in agreement with traders, all the district markets will remain closed today – for everyone's safety. Libraries also remain shut but the online service is still available. Disruption updates can be found here https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/winter-weather/snow-disruption.

The district has seen a fantastic response from the Council's snow wardens, parish councils and individual residents who have been clearing snow and ice on local streets and estates.

Cllr Matthew Morley
Cllr Matthew Morley

​Cllr Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways, said: "I'd like to say a huge thank you to the people in our communities who are helping us during this severe weather.

"Our initial focus has to be on clearing the main routes and helping our emergency services so any support from residents in their local communities is a huge help and very much appreciated, but please keep yourself safe.

"There is no doubt that yesterday was very challenging across West Yorkshire with problems in every part of the region.

"Our gritting teams worked really hard in very difficult conditions and continue to do so. We have had some great feedback from our hospitals, fire service and police who have sent their thanks to the gritting and transport teams for helping them and our most vulnerable residents.

"The severity of yesterday's conditions meant there was never going to be a quick fix, despite the preparation and constant gritting and ploughing that took place. Thank you to all our residents too who have shown their support for our gritting teams, it makes a real difference especially when they are working so relentlessly.

"Even tough conditions are improved today, please only travel if it is absolutely essential and if safe to do so. Please also stay local, whilst the snow may make our country parks very tempting, please do not travel to these places. We must all stay local, not just because of the weather conditions but to help stop the spread of the COVID-19. The national lockdown restrictions remain in place and we must all do our bit."

For the latest updates on service disruption visit https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/winter-weather/snow-disruption and keep up to date on Twitter @MyWakefield.