Preparing for Winter

Severe weather can happen at any time, causing a range of problems and it doesn’t take much for it to have significant impact.

By being aware and better prepared we can minimise the interruption to our lives both at home and when we are out and about.

Below are some useful tips and handy hints to help you deal with severe weather and also outline the council’s winter provision and any disruption to the services we provide.

Winter Gritting and Grit Bins

Our highways winter service season runs every year from mid October to mid April. During this period, we're committed to providing an efficient winter service and aim to keep the highest priority roads safe and free from snow and ice as far as reasonably possible.

We get asked lots of questions about gritting, why we grit some roads and pavements and not others, filling up grit bins, and how many staff we have to keep the roads clear. For further information visit our gritting and snow clearing section.

Clearing ice or snow from pavements and footpaths

The Snow Code provides guidance for clearing snow and ice from pavements or public spaces.  Don't be put off clearing paths because you're afraid someone will get injured.  Don't believe the myths - it's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries if you have cleared the path carefully.

Closures and Disruption to Council Services

Severe weather can sometimes lead to disruptions to services, even closures. During these times we will always do our very best to get information to you as quickly as we possibly can. You can get up to date information on our School Closures and Service Disruptions pages.

At Home

Flooding - Heavy rain can cause flooding.  Begin by checking if your home is at risk from flooding and decide whether you need to take action to protect your home from flood water.  If your property is at risk, preparing a flood plan will make things easier to manage if you do suffer a flood.

Snow and Ice - During cold spells, the biggest risk to your property is probably from frozen pipes. Ultimately, that presents a different sort of flood risk. Don't forget though, that snow can cause problems too, blocking air vents, blowing into roof spaces and adding extra weight to roofs and other structures.

High Winds - When high winds are forecast, remember that some everyday items in the garden can become 'missiles'. Most winters we see pictures of airborne trampolines and garden furniture.  Before it gets windy it's also worth checking for loose tiles, slates and flashing and consider removing dead branches from old trees.

Information and advice can be found using the following links:

Your Community

Members of your community who are elderly and less mobile can be particularly affected by snow and ice, so there are ways in which you can ensure they don't get isolated.

Here are some things that you can do, on your own or with others to help vulnerable friends, family and neighbours during the winter period.  Helping each other a little can make a big difference.

  • Take a few minutes to check on neighbours and relatives who are elderly or unwell and see if they need anything.   This is especially important if they are unable to leave their home.  Offer help with grocery shopping or other essential tasks - it can make a real difference.
  • Clear ice or snow from pavements and footpaths.  The Snow Code provides guidance for clearing snow and ice from pavements or public spaces.
  • If you are part of a community group, think about what your group can do to help others during bad weather.  
  • Keep up date with the latest weather warnings so that you and your community can plan how to best support those affected by bad weather.

Voluntary groups play a valuable role in supporting local communities through difficult times.  For information visit the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA). Local volunteering opportunities can be found at Volunteering Wales.

Advice and information can be found at:

Travelling Safely

Road and weather conditions may change so drive with care.  Additional information and advice on driving in adverse weather conditions is available in the Highway Code or by visiting GOV.UK - Driving in adverse weather conditions.

Traffic and public transport information can be found using the following links:

Bad weather, accidents, vehicle breakdowns - you never know what might be around the next corner. So it makes sense to keep basic emergency provisions in your boot.  For advice on preparing your vehicle for winter, and ideas for your ‘car emergency kit’ visit:

Keep Well This Winter

There are things you can do to look after yourself in the winter months, such as ordering repeat prescriptions early and getting your flu jab.

The Choose Well website is designed to help you get the right medical assistance.  You can also try NHS Direct Wales.

Keep Well This Winter is a website providing information and support to people aged 65 and over to help them keep well, keep warm and keep safe over the winter months.

Stay Up To Date with the Weather

During the winter and when extreme weather conditions and low temperatures are expected, be prepared by keeping yourself informed and up to date with the latest situation.

The Met Office provide warnings to the public and emergency responders of severe and hazardous weather, which has potential to cause danger to life or widespread disruption through the National Severe Weather Warning Service.

The latest weather information and any weather warnings can be found at:

Also check with Floodline Warnings Direct on 0345 9881188 to see if any flood warnings have been issued for your area.  Flood warnings will also be broadcast on TV, local radio and the Natural Resources Wales website.

Looking after Animals

Winter weather can be hard on pets and livestock.  Advice on taking care of animals, (including livestock) in severe weather can be found here - Animal Welfare.

Businesses

Severe weather can have a devastating effect on small businesses, making it difficult or even impossible to carry out normal day-to-day activities.  At worst, this could result in the loss of important customers - and even going out of business altogether.  Good business continuity planning can help minimise the potential impact.  To find out more call the business information helpline on 03000 603000.  

Related Documents

Contact Information

Civil Contingencies Team
Telephone Number: 01495 355568 / 5081
Address: Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale NP23 6XB
Email Address: emergency.planning@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk