Baby it’s cold outside

So, don’t know whether any of you noticed, but there’s been a light sprinkling of snow in NW6 over the past couple of days.

How do you think the council, TfL, and other public bodies have coped? Was enough done in advance? Was there enough grit? Have they reacted fast enough given the sudden dumping of a few inches in just a couple of hours? What else could have been done given financial constraints (remembering that despite snow in London over the past couple of years, it has been a relatively rare occurrence in the last decade or so)?

Let me know your experiences and your constructive thoughts for what could be done differently.

Remember to visit Camden’s winter pages for up-to-date information on services. And here’s an article from the BBC that gets behind the myth that the rest of Europe always copes better than we do.

  • Anonymous

    Camden – nul points, as ever. If you want to see gritted roads, with traffic freely flowing head South of the River – how Wandsworth council can manage and Camden can't escapes me…

  • I have to agree with Anonymous above – Kilburn High Road, a main thoroughfare, remained nightmare-ishly slippery until yesterday. The side roads are still impossible to walk on without fear of falling. I understand that the snowfall was major in the space of a very short time, but nonetheless you’d think some strategy might be in place, wouldn’t you?
    What could be done differently? Have a strategy in place, perhaps…..?

  • WHampstead

    I think we have to accept side roads are not going to be gritted – simply not the resources to do that. With heavy snow on main roads, the roads need to be cleared BEFORE grit is laid. I think a strategy exists, but is it working?

  • DottyinLondon

    The problem on some routes is that they just put the grit on top of the snow without clearing it first. Parts of the pavement on West End Lane are slippery because they're covered in two inches of grey/brown powder. In Westminster they seem to avoid gritting some of the pavements but have their streetsweepers out clearing the snow. Then there's no need for grit because the pavements are clear.

  • Cllr John Bryant

    The priority pavements are those next to rail stations as one can see on the Camden web pages. If people want to have more pavements cleared I would ask them to vote for an upgrade to the contract specification and vote for an increase in the Council Tax at the same time. We could do more and plan for more but it will cost the Council more.

    I also find it interesting that the Council is expected to anticipate the cold weather but some people do not plan for it themselves by buying some footwear with some grippy soles for winter use.

    The more extreme winter weather we are now experiencing is all part of climate change, which is likely to continue until we all get to grips with our carbon emissions. So I hope people are making the connection.

  • Anonymous

    I moved to WH recently from Islington who during last year’s snowfall were out gritting even the smallest side street within a couple of hours. And no, I wasn’t living in the posh Upper Street end of the borough, I was in scuzzy Finsbury Park who generally don’t even rate Christmas decorations. So if Islington can do it, I refuse to accept that Camden can’t manage.

    And I love how the Cllr has turned the point on residents – why haven’t you bought snow shoes, he wonders. Best method of defense is always attack.

    For the record, I HAVE grippy soled shoes but they are useless when the footpaths are like an ice rink. And

  • Anonymous

    I have tried three pairs of boots, including a hiking boot and wellies. Wellies were the best – but not even they worked on the ice rink that our roads and pavements have become. And yes, if Islington can grit, why can’t Camden?

    But there is one silver lining to this horrid situation: try ice grippers. They’re rubber things with studs on the bottom that go on over your shoes or boots, and they are brilliant. Didn’t have them in the first snow, but have used them this past week without slipping once. Mine came from http://www.presentsformen.co.uk – for a tenner.

  • WHampstead

    Received this from Camden council:
    Councillor Sue Vincent, Cabinet Member for Environment said:

    “Camden has seen some of the most extreme weather for a generation – and I understand more is on its way. I’m pleased that communities and neighbours are pulling together to help the council as we work to clear and make safe as many footpaths as possible.

    “Any residents who would like a snow shovel can contact the council and play their part over what is expected to be a prolonged period of wintry weather”

    “While the amount of snow and bitterly cold temperatures present significant problems, gritting crews and staff from Veolia have worked their socks off to keep priority roads open.”

  • WHampstead

    If you want a snow shovel, you can pick up one from the reception area at Regis Road recycling and reuse centre, Kentish Town, London NW5 3EW Mon-Fri 8am-3.45pm

    Maximum four shovels per group are allowed. If you require more than four please e-mail ku.vo1503249353g.ned1503249353mac@t1503249353nemno1503249353rivne1503249353.teer1503249353ts1503249353 .

    Those eligible are residents associations, business groups, volunteer organisations, friends of parks groups and scouts groups.

  • DottyinLondon

    Excellent, lets deploy the scouts! though if they were prepared they'd already have the shovels…

    On the grip point, I have http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B002LWDCE6 and they've kept me upright all month.

  • Anonymous

    Is it not possible for Camden council to talk with other councils to pool know how or resources re tackling the snow? This is not the worse conditions in Camden “for a generation” – they are very similar to this time last year and late Jan 09.

    This is not a party political issue as the posts here show – Wandsworth and Islington are at different ends of the political spectrum (and have lower Council Tax Bands than Camden) but seem to be so much better at clearing up snow.

    And I’m sorry, I don’t buy the idea that there’s a local ecosystem in either N1 or SW15 which means that conditions in NW6 are materially worse than in these other postcodes, making it harder to clear up snow.

    So would suggest that messrs Moffit, Vincent and Bryant start to liaise with their colleagues in Islington and Wandsworth to progress this. Good start with the shovels.

  • WHampstead

    Local councillor Andrew Marshall (Swiss Cottage ward), has written a thoughtful response to all this. http://swisscottagecourier.blogspot.com/2010/12/snow-expectations-gap-and-camdens.html.

  • Anonymous

    Councillor Bryant is talking through his emmissions pipe!
    This cold weather has got nothing to do with the non-existent climate change or carbon emissions.
    It’s caused by the Gulf Stream being stopped by the deliberate bombing of the BP oil rig in the Mexican Gulf. The oil is still surging out only it is not being reported in the press.
    You Tube “Ian Crane in Stockholm.”

  • Anonymous

    Thoughtful and salient points from Councillor Marshall, though two points remain unanswered:

    (a) is it not possible for Camden to initiate or even lead a cross London council strategy for dealing with snow – the point here is that standards and responses seem to vary so much from council to council; and

    (b) handing out snow shovels aside, very little progress appears to have been made since last Winter, with conditions and budgets that are not materially different.