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Kildare Local Authorities - Planning for Severe Weather Conidtions

Kildare County Council

11 November 2011

Press Release

Kildare Local Authorities – Planning for Severe Weather Conditions

During the period 27 November to 26 December 2010, there were several snowfalls and some very cold nights on which temperatures fell as low as -18 degrees celsius. In some cases temperatures stayed continuously below 0 degrees celsius for several days at a time. Ground froze to a depth of about 30 centimetres. A rapid thaw set in on 26 December and temperatures rose by 20 degrees celsius in the space of two days.

The severe cold and variability of the weather affected road transport and water supplies in County Kildare. The county council responded to these conditions in two phases, the first of which saw an emphasis on keeping roads open and safe, while the second was characterised by a campaign to sustain water supplies.

Winter Advice and Information

For information, alerts and advice go to our website http://www.kildarecountycouncil.ie/ A national campaign was also launched on the 9th November with an accompanying website http://www.winterready.ie and a “Be Winter Ready” advice booklet available.

Keeping Roads Open

There are 2,000 kilometres of public roads in the county. Constraints on resources mean that the Council must prioritise the gritting / salting of the main routes in the County. The details of these prioritised gritting routes are available in map and text format on the Council’s website www.kildare.ie/countycouncil/emergencynewsandinformation

Footpaths

In periods of severe cold weather it is not possible for Kildare Local Authorities (Kildare County Council, Naas Town Council and Athy Town Council) to treat all roads and footpaths. The priority for the Council is to keep the main routes in the county, which carry the larger volumes of traffic, open.

Following concerns expressed, by some householders and business owners, in relation to liability, advice was sought from the Office of the Attorney General.

The advice received is that liability does not arise for snow that is cleared in a safe manner on footpaths or in front of premises. Commercial property owners in particular should make sure that they have adequate supplies of salt in place to ensure the safety of employees and visitors. Advice relating to the clearing of footpaths is available on the Council’s website.

Community Involvement

The Council was greatly encouraged by the strong spirit of volunteerism witnessed throughout the country last winter. The Council would urge members of the public to reach out to their older neighbours during episodes of severe weather to make sure that they are okay.

In relation to people gritting or salting their own roads with salt or grit supplied by the local authorities, the legal advice is that the issue of liability does not arise where the material is delivered, stored and used in a safe manner and does not cause a hazard

Water Supplies

Public water supplies came under pressure in December / January 2010. There were indications that consumers were leaving taps running to prevent the bursting of pipes in their homes and businesses and this caused significant loss of water. There were also a number of bursts in watermains which contributed to the problem.

The combined effect of these losses drove demand in Kildare to unsustainable levels. This occurred against a background of the critically-balanced supply in the Greater Dublin Region from which County Kildare draws much of its water.

With the return of severe cold weather this winter there is advice for householders on the Council’s website in relation to (a) preventing stopcocks from freezing, (b) protecting pipes inside and outside the home and some general hints and tips.

Contact Details

During normal office hours you can contact Kildare County Council by telephone; (045) 980200, by email; secretar@kildarecoco.ie or by writing to us at Áras Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas, Co Kildare.

Outside of normal office hours you can call the Emergency Number 1890 50 03 33.

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