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Preparing for winter is snow joke

Residents’ associations, uniformed youth groups and other community groups are being invited to this year’s Snow Friends Conference on 19 September in preparation for the winter ahead.

It’s never too soon to prepare for the unknown and residents interested in setting up new Snow Friend groups, are being encouraged to attend the conference or contact the council for further details before the start of wintry weather and possibly heavy snowfall. 

“The objective of this year’s conference is to ensure that Bromley’s magnificent army of Snow Friends are all still stocked, manned and positioned to respond to any extreme weather which we might have to endure this Winter, as well as attracting any new groups who might wish to join the borough’s national leading programme.   

We are ultra-conscious that we have been extremely lucky with mild weathers since the cold snaps back in 2009, 2010 and 2011 but that luck isn’t going to last forever and it is vital that we are all ready for it when that time comes. 

Snow Friends have already proved themselves to be invaluable in removing snow from the smaller residential roads which the council simply cannot get to, allowing council crews to concentrate on critical main routes and more heavily used pavements. 

We remain enormously proud of our network of Snow Friends and new volunteers are ever welcome and warmly invited to join our ranks” said Councillor Colin Smith, Executive Councillor for Environment. 

The Snow Friends initiative supplements the council's existing gritting and snow clearing operations which are the most extensive of any London borough. With capacity to store 9,000 tonnes of salt, the council has one of the largest supplies of salt stocks of any London borough. Of the 500 miles of roads in the borough, around 280 miles of main road will be treated when road temperatures are predicted to be freezing, with the council gritting more miles of road than other boroughs. In addition, the council's snow clearance crews also work to clear snow from pavements across the borough, focussing on town centres, outside schools and transport interchanges. As this work still leaves many residential roads and pavements ‘untreated’, Snow Friends are able to provide support by clearing snow from their local street with salt and snow scoops provided free of charge by the council (subject to availability). 

Residents considering volunteering as a Snow Friend can be assured that there is no law preventing them from clearing snow and ice from the pavement or pathway outside their property, or from public spaces. Snow Friends are advised to be careful and use common sense to ensure that they do not make the pavement or pathway more dangerous than before, but people walking on areas affected by snow and ice also have a responsibility to be careful themselves. 

Willing volunteers should contact the council at www.bromley.gov.uk/snowfriends to join an existing group or to register their interest in possibly starting a group with like-minded neighbours. Residents Associations and other groups should also contact the council to confirm attendance at the Snow Friends Conference on 19 September.