Marvin Rees praises those who kept the city going through severe weather: Bristol in snow 2013 15

05 Mar 2018

Community Safety and Licensing

Marvin Rees praises those who kept the city going through severe weather

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, has praised those whose efforts during the recent severe weather meant critical services continued to operate, vulnerable people were cared for and major incidents were avoided.

Staff from across the council contributed to making sure critical services continued to operate throughout the snow and freezing temperatures. They were supported by staff from Avon and Somerset Police, the NHS, homeless charities including St Mungos, Highways England, private care companies, other voluntary agencies and many more, to safeguard the health and wellbeing of citizens.

Marvin Rees said: “I want to thank everyone who contributed in some way to making sure that people were kept safe and helped vital services to carry on despite the disruption. It’s often said that it is in times of crisis that you see the extraordinary qualities of people and I can confidently say that this has been the case over the past few days.

“I am already being inundated with the stories of those who went that extra mile despite the challenges they faced in doing so. I’m hearing of staff in social care walking miles across the city to visit vulnerable people in their homes. Supported by the Parks team in 4x4’s and Bristol Community Links staff volunteering their time, they also ensured that during the worst of the conditions people continued to receive every single much needed meal that was expected. Staff also slept in work overnight to ensure the 40 residents of our specialist dementia residential home in Redfield Lodge were supported and cared for.

“This dedication is shared by others such as our highways teams who have worked 24 hours a day for over a week to co-ordinate and plough the roads, accumulating 6000 miles on Bristol’s main roads and spreading almost 600 tonnes of grit often in difficult conditions. Along with the ever reliable effort of over 120 volunteer community snow wardens, they ensured that large parts of the city’s roads, streets and footpaths remained passable.”

“Outside of the council there are stories emerging of volunteers and charity workers trying tirelessly in the cold to encourage rough sleepers to take up one of the extra temporary beds provided by the city’s charity sector. Their combined efforts ensured that the vast majority of the city’s known homeless population had a bed during the worst of the conditions and they could engage with those who are currently not accessing services available to them.

“These are but only a handful of the stories I am receiving and I am grateful to everyone for their hard work and dedication.”

Despite working solidly day and night to co-ordinate Bristol’s response to the severe weather, the council’s Civil Protection Unit also provided support to neighbouring areas who were hit hard by the snow and ice.

Based at the city’s state of the art Operations Centre, the team co-ordinated the response from voluntary agencies with access to 4x4 vehicles to support the Avon and Somerset area to get health and social care staff to work.

The majority of council services returned to normal operations on Monday (5 March) with some drafting in additional staff and resources to meet a backlog of work created by the bad weather.

Housing tenants who have reported repairs since Thursday last week (1 March) will be prioritised by the urgency of the work and vulnerability of the tenants. The team logged almost 2700 calls on Thursday and Friday (1 and 2 March)and carried out over 450 repairs in that time. Additional gas engineers were drafted in at the weekend to work overtime on completing just over 150 lower priority jobs with the vast majority of outstanding repairs completed by the end of Monday (5 March).

After having to cancel collections last week and support spot gritting of sites across the city, Bristol Waste crews began usual operation again with Monday and Tuesday collections taking place as expected. Additional catch up collections have been scheduled in over both days to visit properties whose usual collection days were Thursday and Friday last week. Residents whose collections were missed on those days last week are advised to leave their boxes and bins for collection in their usual place as crews will be collecting over the next two days.

Public transport services have returned to full operation and the city’s Park and Ride services are running again after closures on Thursday and Friday.

The Council’s Citizen Contact Centre are reporting high numbers of calls to the team which will cause queues of people trying to ring through to access council services. Residents are advised to visit the council website as most services are accessible online and are provided alongside advice and guidance on most topics. For information on how to report an emergency please visit www.bristol.gov.uk/emergencies