Joint agency safety message post-floods

5 Dec 2012 @ 3.54 pm
| News

Issued by City of York Council

At the same time as the Met Office issues a warning that temperatures are set to fall towards the end of this week, City of York Council, North Yorkshire Police, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency join forces to issue a safety message to all residents and road users to exercise caution following the recent spell of flooding.

The Met Office has issued a yellow “be aware” warning, which means as temperatures fall there will be widespread frost and ice on some roads and footpaths.

As a result of light rain, flood and surface water still affecting isolated areas in and around York, all agencies are advising residents that there are further hazards following the recent floods.

Cllr David Levene, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “We’ve experienced some of the most difficult flooding conditions since the year 2000 in York over recent months so we’re asking residents and road users to be extra cautious when travelling in and around York, particularly in areas affected by flooding that will be prone to difficult and icy conditions as temperatures plunge.”

“I’d also like to encourage residents interested in helping to clear the worst of the winter snow or ice from their local footpaths to consider joining the council’s Snow Warden scheme.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “More rain is expected across the north, and with the ground already saturated this could well mean more surface water flooding on roads and pavements. The cold snap may easily turn this into sheets of ice and whether we’re walking or driving we need to be very careful, to be aware of temperatures and to watch our footing and our speed.”

Inspector Vicky Taylor, of North Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Group, said: “If your route is affected by snow or ice, the first thing you need to consider is whether or not your journey is actually necessary. If it isn’t essential and alternative work or personal arrangements can be made, then don’t go – simple as that.

“If you have no choice and have to travel in wintry weather, it is vital to give yourself more time, take extra care and adjust your driving to the conditions. This could be lowering your speed, increasing breaking distances and making sure lights are on even during the day. The phrase that is often used in these circumstances is ‘drive to arrive’, and that is exactly what your priority should be. On treacherous roads, it is literally a case of better late than never.

“It is also vital to ensure your vehicle is well maintained and prepared for the conditions. This includes filling the tank with fuel and stocking up on de-icer, windscreen wash and scrapers to make sure you can see the road from all angles. It is advisable to carry a torch, warm clothes or a blanket, boots, first aid kit, shovel and a tow rope. Also make sure you take food and drink with you, especially on longer journeys.”

Matt Thompson of Yorkshire Water comments: “When temperatures drop customers pipes become more susceptible to freezing and bursting so it’s really important that people follow our advice on how to protect their homes in advance of winter.

“At this time of year it’s also really important that people think about how they can help get their friends, family and neighbours homes ready for winter. We offer a free service called ‘Helping Hands’ that’s designed to help those people in the region who require additional support such as elderly customers, those with a disability, or serious injury, mobility issues or a serious medical condition.

“Customers can join the ‘Helping Hands’ register or nominate a neighbour, friend or relative, simply by calling Yorkshire Water on 0800 1 38 78 78 or by completing an online application form at”

For more information about winter driving advice, please go to the North Yorkshire Police website.

For more information about gritting please visit the council website or follow @yorkgritter on Twitter.

Snow wardens are trained by the council and are provided with a shovel, high visibility coat and gloves and given safety training and operational techniques well before the winter hits. Anyone interested in volunteering, or would like to know more information about what being a warden involves, can contact Michal Czekajlo on 01904 551841 or email him.

The snow warden scheme is just one of many opportunities to volunteer for a Smarter York, which aims to unite everyone in the city to support the quality of the city’s cleanliness and appearance.

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