Posted tagged ‘cold’

Snow trouble is c-old news

February 6, 2012

No app, but there is a digital map...

What a difference a few years makes. It seems so long and so little time ago that we wrote a piece after the cold snap at the end of 2010, when parts of the country had ground to a halt after an inch or two of snow fell and local government appeared to sit back and rest on its collective laurels.

At the time we called for councils up and down the country to take a little time to think about what had happened and perhaps review the things that went right and wrong and see if there were steps which could be taken to deal with it better next time round. We’d like to think therefore that we are entirely to be given credit for what’s happened recently (although in reality we accept that perhaps others had the same idea as us).

And what may these ideas have been? Well, fast forward just under fourteen months and Britain once again (shock horror) finds itself under snow in winter, and do you know what? It looks like town hall types took our advice and had a good think about what happened. Plans were drawn up, grit ordered and stockpiled and comms plans prepared, resulting in a far, far improved response in 2012.
The media, local or national, are often first in the queue to bash local government when things don’t go to plan. However, this time around I think on the whole things have gone very well. A combination of better preparation and better communication have borne fruit, with not only roads gritted but people more aware of this fact via judicial use of a range of tools, including digital. This has managed expectations better than ever before; I’ve spoken to people about gritted roads and actually heard them mention the words ‘arterial route’ without prompting. (more…)

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Snow time to rest on our laurels

December 13, 2010

But what about next time?

It’s been just over a week now, a week after the chaos and disaster that was snow in London, a week in which life has returned to normality and the tubes are only late for reasons involving over-running maintenance work.  The standard phrase is ‘a week is a long time in politics’; from the way things are, it looks like a week is also a long time in discussing the way we deal with snow.

Since the white stuff stopped falling from the sky I’ve heard practically nothing about what happened and how well or otherwise the snow was dealt with.  Some boroughs got it very right, spreading grit and news about what they were doing all over the place.  Some didn’t, and were slammed for slippery roads and even more slippery excuses.  However, I’ve not heard much over the past seven days or so in the way of investigations, results or ideas for improvement.

Historically, the media usually takes this time to rip into everything and anything that a local authority does when it snows; the roads not being gritted, the tubes grinding to a halt, no news on school closures or something else entirely; like a drunk looking for a fight in a circus, they traditionally go for the jugular. (more…)