Health and care organisations across Essex will get extra salt and grit to combat increasing wintry weather conditions.

A brand-new Essex County Council salt storage barn will increase the gritting of more roads used frequently by commuters around facilities such as schools, care homes and pharmacies.

The use of ‘route-based forecasting’ will also enable gritters them to be more efficient when dispensing salt.

West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group chief executive Deborah Fielding, who leads Hertfordshire and west Essex sustainability and transformation partnership, said: “These schemes will make a big difference to those who need to get to a healthcare service or simply take their children to school when there is frost or snow,

“I know that NHS staff and patients will welcome the extra efforts that councils are going to this winter to help keep key roads clear of snow and ice,

“Helping to ensure safe and easy access to healthcare settings as well as schools and other services in towns and villages is vital.”

The council has also introduced a ‘salt-bag partnership’ scheme in place to support communities when they need extra help during icy periods.

Tonnes of salt has been distributed to several councils, community organisations and charities who will voluntary place the salt on the driveways of vulnerable and elderly residents.

Dr Jane Snook, consultant orthogeriatrician at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow said: “When ice and snow affect the roads, it makes it difficult for patients to get to their appointments and get the care they need. We are grateful for this extra help provided by the councils which will enable more patients to access clinics and appointments, and means that staff can get to work more easily.”

Sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall are forecasted for this week by the Met Office, similar conditions to last years ‘Beast from the East’ are expected.

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