89,000 tonnes of grit stockpiled to keep London moving during cold weather

20:52 12 December 2012

London has a stockpile of grit to ensure motorists and cyclists can keep using the capital

London has a stockpile of grit to ensure motorists and cyclists can keep using the capital's roads in adverse weather such as snow. File picture: Julien Behal/PA Wire

PA Archive/Press Association Images

More than 89,000 tonnes of salt has been stockpiled to ensure that commuters can keep using London’s roads as the weather turns colder.

Transport for London (TfL) and London Councils, the body which represents London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London, have put together a weather plan to keep the transport system and a network of key routes open throughout any severe weather.

Much of London today experienced freezing conditions, with temperatures rising to a maximum of 3C during the day, and heavy rain and more cold weather is forecast for the capital in the coming days and weeks.

Key routes include roads and footways around bus garages and stations, hospitals, railway stations and police, fire and ambulance stations across London.

Gritters will be deployed to keep roads clear and arrangements are in place to enable boroughs to share salt stores with each other should they require them. The pan-London Strategic Salt Reserve of 27,000 tonnes, which has not been called into use during the past two winters, is also available should supplies become low.

TfL and London borough staff will be working to minimise disruption to the Tube, bus, rail and road networks during freezing conditions. This includes having de-icing trains in operation, keeping tracks as clear as possible, gritting platforms, and checking points – the mechanical parts that operate junctions on the network.

Network Rail, whose network is used by some Tube services on the District and Bakerloo lines, and who manage all of the infrastructure on which London Overground services operate, are also working closely with TfL to ready the network.

Richard Jones, London Underground’s head of network operations, said: “This year, we have once again made every preparation possible and have well-rehearsed procedures in place should harsh weather conditions hit London. Our staff are working around the clock to make sure that the risk of disruption during freezing conditions is minimised – gritting the roads, de-icing the rails and gritting the platforms.

“Working closely with all London boroughs, we’ve ensured that there is a fully co-ordinated response covering all parts of the roads and the TfL transport network, and a 27,000 tonne salt reserve for TfL and the boroughs to fall back on should supplies run low.”

Nick Lester, corporate director of services at London Councils, said: “London boroughs are working to ensure that the capital is able to keep moving as smoothly as possible during any bout of severe weather this winter. Throughout the year, boroughs and their partners have been working on their plans to ensure that main roads and footpaths across London are kept open.”

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