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Will we make it Safely though the Winter?

February 21, 2019 1:46 PM
By Marguerita Moreton

Margerita Moreton

Two years ago we saw how vulnerable our roads were to snow.

A well forecast blizzard turned the drive from Sevenoaks to Tunbridge Wells into a dangerous two-and-a-half hour slide. Last year trains were hit as home coming commuters were stranded at Lewisham in freezing conditions.

It could almost certainly happen again. In October, Kent County Council's 60 gritters and five mini-gritters took part in a dry run of routes, to familiarise drivers with the roads they need to protect. It might help avoid problems, but it was the failure to send them out in time that seems to have gone wrong in 2017.

Kent roads are not resilient to hard frost or wet. When the snow clears the potholes reappear quickly. Years of poor maintenance have left them fragile.

In most areas, Kent pays District Councils to maintain roads and bus routes. On other roads 2,000 salt bins are placed for use by the public. Snow clearance on pavements is delegated to district or parish councils - so it varies from place to place.

Kent's railways are vulnerable. Our trains get stuck in Ramsgate when it snows. We need a depot in Tonbridge to keep our network moving properly.

The people who suffer most in severe weather are rough sleepers, sadly a growing number across West Kent. Council sponsored shelters have closed, and much of the support in our towns is now done by local churches and voluntary groups.

More help for those living on the streets in winter should come from local authorities. Those who work in London see local councils tackling the problem there

Marguerita Moreton