Winter weather FAQs
This FAQ answers the most commonly asked questions about winter weather. During severe weather, we also inform residents about any temporary changes to refuse and recycling collections via:
- our news pages
- our Facebook page
- regular #BCBCwinter updates on Twitter
- via news releases to the local media
Visit our school closures page to see if a school is open. The page is directly and remotely updated to be up-to-the-minute.
Also listen out for announcements on BridgeFM at 106.3 FM as well as other local radio stations. You can check BBC Wales’s school closure information too.
Severe weather can affect local schools in different ways. As well as forcing school closures, heavy snowfall may stop staff from travelling to work which is especially so if they live far away.
Other common associated problems can force schools to close their doors too. These include failed heating systems, or burst water pipes which may have flooded classrooms.
As long as it is safe for workers and residents, we and our waste partner, Kier, will do our best to collect refuse and recycling.
However, with 65,000 households across Bridgend county borough, some delays are inevitable in harsh weather conditions. During these times, we will inform residents about any temporary changes to collections via our news pages and on our Twitter channel.
If ice or snow cancel collections, we will announce it:
- on the news pages
- on Facebook
- on Twitter
- to the local media
If your collection is cancelled, don’t put anything out at the kerbside, as it won’t be picked up until your next collection. Recycling would be collected the next week and refuse two weeks later.
You will not be penalised for putting out double the allowance of bags:
- where refuse bag collections have been cancelled
- if excess waste is due to be picked up as part of your next scheduled date
Ice and snow can make any journey hazardous, which is particularly so on some of our narrower, steeper roads. Also it is especially dangerous when vehicle is a heavy, fully loaded recycling lorry. Even when our vehicles can use roads with some care, pavements and footways can stay affected by widespread ice. This makes them risky for refuse and recycling collectors.
During cold weather, we receive three specific, daily weather forecasts from MeteoGroup UK. Our county borough has a varied geographical mix of valleys and coastline, so the forecasts cover high or low inland ground, and coastal areas.
In addition, we maintain five remote weather stations. These use equipment like ice sensors to give details such as atmospheric conditions, and local road surface temperatures.
We use all of this information to predict the weather. 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.
We pre-treat the most used parts of the road network with granulated rock salt to prevent frost and ice.
For pedestrian areas, council workers use specialist equipment to spray brine, a saline solution which helps to melt ice. We also clear snow by hand, as well as with snow blowers.
It isn’t effective to put salt on top of fresh snow. Consequently, you won’t see a gritter doing so when snow is falling, as the roads would have to be cleared with ploughs before treatment.
In fact, road salting depends on several factors like dampness and humidity. For instance, salt is far less effective below -10 degrees Celsius.
We maintain up to 4,500 tonnes of salt at our Waterton depot. We also replenish stocks in prolonged, severe winter weather, and we have agreements with neighbouring authorities to give and receive help as needed.
Together with local community councils, we provide about 400 grit bins at carefully chosen sites throughout Bridgend county borough. These are usually alongside residential roads and other minor routes. They are often at junctions or steep hills, and being bright yellow, they are easy to spot.
No. Grit bins are a community resource, and so they should not be used on privately owned land or property. They are there for residents and motorists to use on public roads in cold weather. The salt and sharp sand mix makes it easier to drive on local streets, and we refill the bins for this purpose before each winter.
Severe weather can affect libraries, leisure centres, swimming pools, day centres, car parks and other council premises such as Bridgend Register Office or Coychurch Crematorium.
While we and our partners make every effort to keep such facilities open, this isn’t always possible. That is especially so if the severe weather prevents staff from getting to work.
When temporary closures are necessary, we aim to reopen premises and return to normal service as quickly and safely as possible.
Providing essential frontline services like homecare during severe weather is a priority. Our advanced planning helps us achieve this all year round.
In recent years’ heavy snowfall, our staff have made every effort including using four-wheel drive vehicles to visit users and ensure nobody misses out. Also, we prioritise our most vulnerable customers and people with specific medical needs.
It’s important for residents to look out for each other during severe weather, and especially the most vulnerable people. You can do this by considering who severe weather most threatens such as elderly or disabled neighbours. Then, make arrangements with them to support their grocery shopping or other important tasks.
There may also be opportunities to take part in local volunteering schemes during severe weather. For more information, contact Volunteering Wales.
Communities can prepare for severe weather by deciding if tasks can be done together rather than individually. This may minimise the effects of severe weather at home and at work by clearing snow from entrances or parking spaces, for example.
Remember to 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.