AS the temperature lowers and winter sets in, a national charity is calling for councils across the country to keep pavements, as well as roads, well gritted and cleared.
Living Streets wants councils to keep pavements ice free, to prevent a repetition of the 16,000 snow and ice-related hospital admissions in England during the winter of 2009-2010.
Snow and ice cause problems each winter across the UK, but whilst roads are routinely gritted, pavements can often be left untreated, proving dangerous for pedestrians.
Cllr Michael Filer, cabinet member for transport and technical services at Bournemouth council, said: “Maintaining the road network is a top priority and vital to keeping the public safe.
“When resources allow, we try to make sure that pavements in town centres, approaches to schools and areas at bus stops are cleared of snow.”
A Borough of Poole Council spokesperson, said: “We don’t routinely grit pavements, as we have a set network of priority routes that we cover.
“However in the case of severe weather, where gritting lorries may not be able to go onto these routes, the gritters would be re-deployed to the main areas of footfall, such as the town centre, and this would be hand-gritted.
“We encourage people to use the grit bins on the streets, which can be used on pavements and on the highways and roads. However, this is not for private use ie on residents’ driveways.”
A Dorset County Council spokesperson said: “When resources allow we will try to make sure that footways in town centres, approaches to schools and areas at bus stops are cleared of snow to keep conditions safe for pedestrians.
“We are working with town and district councils, so that they can deploy their own resources to deal with shopping precincts and footways in urban areas.
“People using areas affected by snow and ice also have responsibility to be careful themselves and full details of the Snow Code can be found at direct.gov.uk”
The winter of 2009-10 brought about 18 times more snow and ice related hospital admissions than that of 2008-09 and a cost to the country of around £42million.
Living Streets says that councils have a legal duty to ensure that safe movement on the highway, including on pavements, is not endangered by snow or ice.
For more information on Living Streets’ initiative, go to livingstreets.org.uk/icy