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Preparations underway for return of severe winter weather

15 December, 2010 - by Westminster


Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy, today provided an update on preparations for the predicted wintry weather.

The Minister said: “With a forecast for another cold period with a high probability of snow on Thursday, motorists are advised to plan their journeys and check the latest travel advice. Roads Service will continue to work around the clock with 300 staff, 120 gritters and 11 snowblowers to focus resources as agreed by the Assembly, in ensuring the main roads which carry 80% of traffic are salted.

“This is a massive logistical task involving staff working night and day to keep the main network open which is particularly important in the run up to Christmas when more people may be travelling on the busier routes.

“Roads Service provides at strategic locations, approximately 3,500 salt bins and 39,000 grit piles for use on a self help basis to help prevent the formation of snow and ice on pavements and untreated roads - and has been continually replenishing these during this cold spell.”

The Minister also gave advice to those wishing to help clear footpaths of snow or ice and said: “There is no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or business.

"I know this has been a concern and I want to reassure people that provided they clear snow and ice carefully they are unlikely to be held liable - this has been confirmed by The Attorney General.

"People should adopt a common sense to this task, for example do not leave mounds of snow or ice as an obstruction that others could trip over, or do not use hot water which can refreeze causing further slippery conditions.”

For further advice on clearing snow and ice visit: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/iceandsnow

In relation to the gritting of main footpaths in Council areas, the Minister added: “Under the proposals put forward by my Department, Councils, or groups of traders acting on their behalf, will have the same indemnity benefits as Roads Service. Roads Service continues to engage with NILGA and directly with Councils through our local divisions on the issue of gritting footpaths, to try and work with and encourage as many Councils as possible to sign up to the agreement.

“I recently met with NILGA to discuss and reaffirm the offer made earlier this year. Since then the department has received confirmation that seven Councils are working in agreement and that other Councils are now moving to take up this offer.

“Roads Service will continue to work with NILGA to attempt to address any concerns Councils may have and to work in partnership to deliver the necessary provision expected by ratepayers here.”

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