Bridgend County Borough Council,Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend, CF31 4WB

Tel: 01656 643643
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18001 01656 643643
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Email: talktous@bridgend.gov.uk
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Weather the winter FAQs

When we have severe weather in Bridgend County Borough, we receive large numbers of phone calls, emails and posts on social media asking if a range of different council services have been disrupted.

During periods of severe weather we keep residents informed about any temporary changes to the refuse and recycling collection service via our weather the winter page, on our Facebook page, through regular #BCBCwinter updates on Twitter and via news releases issued to the local media.

Please read our weather the winter FAQs below to find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions that we receive during these times.

How do I know if my child’s school is going to be open?

To help keep parents, guardians and pupils informed about any school closures, we have set up a webpage which headteachers can update directly and from remote locations - you can view this page here.

You can also listen out for updates on BridgeFM at 106.3 FM and other local radio stations as well as checking school closure information published by BBC Wales online.

Why is my child’s school closed if there’s no snow in Bridgend County Borough?

Severe weather can affect local schools in many different ways. As well as forcing a school to close its doors, heavy snowfall may prevent teachers and staff from travelling to work, especially if they don’t live near the school.

Other common problems associated with severe cold weather can force a school to close its doors, including failed heating systems or burst water pipes which may have flooded classrooms.

Will my refuse and recycling be collected if it snows?

As long as it is safe to do so for both workers and local residents, the council and our waste partner, Kier, will always do our best to ensure that refuse and recycling are collected as normal over the winter season.

However, with 59,000 households to cover across the county borough, some delays are inevitable if weather conditions turn particularly harsh. During these times we will keep residents informed about any temporary changes to the refuse and recycling collection service via our weather the winter page and on Twitter.

What if my collection has been missed?

We will generally aim to do the following if black bag collections are disrupted by severe weather:

  • Partial disruption – if a collection is missed due to a short period of severe weather (e.g. over a couple of hours), once it is safe for workers and local residents Kier will do their best to pick it up as soon as possible during the normal working week.
  • One or more days – if conditions do not improve for a day or more, Kier will pick up your refuse and recycling on your next scheduled collection day.
  • Assisted collections – the guidelines above include all assisted collections.
  • Bulky and clinical waste – these will be made by prior arrangement with householders.

During periods of severe weather we will keep residents informed about any temporary changes to the refuse and recycling collection service via our weather the winter page, on our Facebook page, through regular #BCBCwinter updates on Twitter and via news releases issued to the local media.

It’s important that residents look out for these updates on a regular basis during severe weather as we may issue details on how we intend to catch up with missed collections, sometimes at short notice if conditions improve sufficiently.

It’s stopped snowing, so why hasn’t my recycling been collected?

Ice and snow can make any journey hazardous, particularly on some of the county borough’s narrower and steeper roads, but this is especially the case when the vehicle in question is a heavy, fully loaded recycling vehicle.

Even when vehicles may be able to use roads with care, pavements and footways can often remain affected by widespread ice which makes them risky to use for refuse and recycling collectors.

How do you choose when to grit local roads?

During cold weather, we receive three specific weather forecasts from MeteoGroup UK every day. The county borough features a varied geographical mix of valleys and coastline, so the forecasts account for inland high ground, inland low ground and coastal areas.

In addition to this, we maintain five remote weather stations at different locations across the county borough. These use equipment such as ice sensors to provide us with details on atmospheric conditions, local road surface temperatures, etc. 

We use all of this information to predict what the weather conditions are likely to be and, if icy conditions are expected, we pre-treat the most-used parts of the road network with granulated rock salt to prevent frost and ice from forming.

How do you decide which roads to grit?

When it gets very cold, we use a number of specially designed vehicles such as gritters to keep roads clear and traffic moving. We pre-treat the most-used parts of the road network with granulated rock salt to prevent frost and ice from forming. You can view a map of our salting routes here.

For pedestrian areas, council workers use specialist equipment to spray brine, a saline solution which helps to melt ice and clear snow by hand as well as using snow blowers.

There’s ice and snow on the ground, so why aren’t you out gritting?

It isn’t effective to lay salt down on top of fresh snow, so you won’t see a gritter truck doing this when snow is falling as the roads have to be cleared with ploughs before they can be treated.

In fact, road salting is dependent on a number of factors such as dampness and humidity. The council has to be very careful about when and how it treats roads as salt is far less effective once temperatures fall below -10 degrees.

Have you got enough salt for extended period of severe weather?

We maintain up to 4,500 tonnes of salt at our Waterton depot, and have plans in place for replenishing stocks during prolonged bouts of severe winter weather. We also have collaborative arrangements in place with neighbouring authorities so that we can give and receive help as required.

Why isn’t there a grit bin on my street?

Together with local community councils, we provide approximately 400 grit bins at carefully chosen locations throughout the county borough. These are usually found alongside residential roads and other minor routes, particularly where there may be junctions or steep hills, and are easy to spot as they are bright yellow.

Can I use the grit on my driveway?

Before the start of each winter season, we refill the bins with a mix of salt and sharp sand. The bins are provided so that residents and motorists can use the grit when conditions deteriorate and make it easier to travel through local streets. Please note that they are a community resource, and as such should not be used on privately owned land or property.

Will council buildings be open during severe weather?

Libraries, leisure centres, swimming pools, day centres, car parks and other council premises such as Bridgend Register Office or Coychurch Crematorium can all be affected by severe weather.

While the council and its partners make every effort to keep such facilities open, it is not always possible to do so, especially if the severe weather prevents staff from getting to work.

In situations where a temporary closure is necessary, we will always aim to reopen premises and return to normal service as quickly and as safely as possible.

How can I find out if council buildings are open?

During periods of severe weather, we’ll keep residents informed about any disruption to our services including whether council buildings are open, on our weather the winter page and on Twitter.

Will I continue to receive Home Care during severe weather?

Continuing to provide essential frontline services for elderly and vulnerable people such as Home Care remains a priority for the council during severe weather, and plans are in place to help us achieve this 365 days a year.

In recent years during heavy snowfall, Home Care staff have made every effort, including the use of four-wheel drive vehicles, to visit service users and ensure that nobody has missed out because of severe weather. We also prioritise the most vulnerable of our customers and people with specific medical needs.

What can I do to help elderly and vulnerable neighbours?

It’s important for local communities to look out for one another during periods of severe weather, especially those who are most vulnerable. You can do this by considering who around you may be at risk from severe weather – e.g. an elderly or disabled neighbour – and making arrangements with them to help out with grocery shopping or other important tasks.

What else can I do to help out during severe weather?

Communities can prepare for severe weather by deciding if any tasks can be done together rather than individually to minimise the effects of severe weather both at home and at work – for example, by clearing snow from entrances or parking spaces.

Remember - only accept help from people you know or who are genuine members of a known voluntary organisation. If you don't know them, ask for identification and check before letting them in – genuine callers won’t mind waiting while you do this, and you can find out more about reducing the risk of bogus callers here.

There may also be opportunities to take part in local volunteering schemes during periods of severe weather – for more information on this, contact Volunteering Wales.

Last Updated: 04/01/2016
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