Deputy leader praises gritting staff

Thurrock Council was working around the clock during last week’s heavy snow and ice.

Between Tuesday and Sunday council staff carried out 22 gritting runs of the main routes totalling 5,500 miles and using 1,200 tonnes of salt — secondary routes were covered six times.

Thurrock has five new gritting lorries with staff working 12-hour shifts to ensure 24-hour coverage during the worst of the weather. In addition 150 staff — from street cleansing, grounds maintenance and waste collection — with help from the Community payback team cleared snow and ice from town centres and other pedestrian areas.

Staff also had to guard the council’s salt stocks as numerous efforts of theft occurred, including an attempt to steal the digger.

Cllr Val Morris-Cook, the portfolio holder for Environment, said: “We learned a lot from the heavy snowfalls earlier this year and were able to respond more quickly and more effectively with around 40 more staff on snow clearance.

“Town centres, sheltered housing complexes and other sensitive sites were cleared every day to remove newly fallen snow and schools were done on Sunday so they could reopen on Monday.

“It’s worth remembering that our gritters carried snow ploughs for the first time in a long while because the snow was drifting so badly and that’s really unusual here.

“It might have been the heaviest snowfall in Thurrock since 1981, but the main routes were always passable, although only with great care at times.”

She added: “We also helped the Royal Opera House by providing sand for the site and by clearing the pavements on London road on Sunday so their first night would be able to go ahead.

“All round it was a good performance. It was impossible to do the waste and recycling routes, but the crews were redeployed quickly. Even now, it is impossible for the large waste lorries to get down some of the smaller roads in the borough, but we will be doing our best to catch up where we miss out.

“I know there are still lessons to be learned — there always are — and we welcome positive feedback, but I am fed up with the negative whinging I hear and read.

“Finally, I would like to say thanks to everyone who rallied round — you did a great job!”

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