Somerset County Council
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Snow and ice

 

You can find all the latest information about County Council services that are being affected by snow and ice on our Somerset Newsroom. 

You can also find general useful information, such as our winter salting route and tips for preparing for winter below.

Schools and Children's Centres

You can find details of schools and children's centres which have let us know about closures or restricted opening on the school closures page.

Waste and Recycling
Guidance and updates on refuse and recycling collections and recycling sites if there is severe weather are available on the Somerset Waste Partnership website.

Transport
You can find out about the latest updates on weather affected routes for public transport and weather affected routes for school transport on the transport affected by bad weather page. If you need more information please phone Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224.

Roads
We are responsible for the highway winter service in Somerset, except for the M5, A303 and A36.
You can find the latest updates from our highways team on Travel Somerset and the Highways England website.

Report snow or ice on the road

Road Salting
Road salting is carried out to help highway users when there is a risk of ice or snow on our precautionary salting network

The weather stations in Somerset receive special daily forecasts with temperature graphs to predict road surface temperatures. 

If the air is dry, frost will not form, even though the temperature may be well below freezing. This means that it is important to predict both road temperatures and air moisture content.

We use these forecasts to issue instructions to salt the precautionary salting network as necessary.

Resources are not available to treat all roads.

Priority networks have been defined by applying criteria that meets national guidelines. This is required to ensure a consistent approach across the county and to achieve a reasonable balance between cost and level of service.

Our precautionary salting network covers approximately 1426 km, which is about 21 per cent of the road network in Somerset. We operate 23 lorry routes from 6 depots across the county. 

In a typical winter we will salt the roads about 50 times and use around 7000 tonnes of rock salt.

Normally, precautionary salting is carried out during the early evening or early morning. Frost does not normally affect the road surface until the early morning and precautionary salting is intended to prevent this.

If frost follows rain in the early hours, or it freezes unexpectedly, we may not have enough time to salt the whole of the priority network before motorists start their morning journeys. So, motorists should not assume the routes are salted and must drive carefully.

In some parishes salt bins have been sited at key points to encourage self-help. We provide salt in these bins on the understanding that it is used for highway purposes.

Driving
If you have to travel in severe weather, the Met Office has produced a guide to driving in severe weather which has plenty of useful advice.

Remember:

  • Only the busiest roads are salted, most are not - drive safely

  • In icy conditions braking distances can increase tenfold

  • It takes time for salt to become effective

  • Rain can wash salt off roads

  • In very low temperatures even salting does not prevent icing

  • Extra caution is needed when driving in bad weather 

What you can do:

  • Prepare your vehicle for winter

  • Check the weather forecast and road conditions before travelling

  • Allow extra time for your journey

  • Give gritters and snow ploughs plenty of room to operate

  • Carry a shovel and blanket in your vehicle  

Clearing snow and ice
GOV.UK has a guide about how you can clear snow and ice from pavements .

Tips for clearing snow and ice include

  • Start early - it's much easier to clear fresh, loose snow compared to compacted ice that has been compressed by people walking on it.

  • Don't use hot water - this will melt the snow, but may replace it with black ice, increasing the risk of injury.

  • Make a pathway down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on.

  • Spread some salt on the area you have cleared to help stop ice forming - table salt or dishwasher salt will work, but avoid spreading it on plants or grass because they may be damaged by it.

  • Use sand or ash as an alternative to salt.

Contacts

Contact: Customer Contact
Address: Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton, Somerset TA1 1HE
Email: generalenquiries@somerset.gov.uk
Phone: 0300 123 2224

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.

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