Kildare prepared for the big freeze

Kildare is ready if we are hit with another big freeze this winter - that’s the message from Kildare County Council. Salt stocks are being stockpiled and the local authority is prepared to tackle a recurrence of last year’s conditions, which paralysed many parts of the county.

Kildare is ready if we are hit with another big freeze this winter - that’s the message from Kildare County Council. Salt stocks are being stockpiled and the local authority is prepared to tackle a recurrence of last year’s conditions, which paralysed many parts of the county.

A council spokesperson said; “Salt supplies have been centrally purchased by the National Roads Authority (NRA) and on behalf of the Department of Transport. These will be available for purchase by local authorities. The amount of salt required will depend on the severity of the weather.”

It has been revealed that 7,590 tonnes of salt were bought for Kildare last winter at a cost of E566,805. Up to 6,000 tonnes were used to free the county from snow grid lock. Grit was also purchased at a cost of E29,214.

The local authority said personnel will be available to respond at the same levels as last year. Priority routes for salting are currently under review but have not yet been finalised.

Sean O’Neill of the National Roads Authority (NRA) said there are 80,000 tonnes of salt in stock nationally from last year with a further 70,000 tonnes due to arrive over the next few weeks.

“On an average season we go through 60 thousand tonnes,” he said.

“For non national roads (local and regional) we have an additional 40 thousand tonnes. Additionally local authorities are able to purchase more if they fell it is required,” he added.

The salt costs approximately E30 per tonne.

Reports that Ireland could be hit by severe winter conditions as early as the end of October due to the link between solar activity and cold winters, were greeted with scepticism by Met Eireann. “Uncertainty regarding the mechanism limits confidence in the research as a predictive tool for the future climate,” noted Ray Mc Grath, Research & Applications Division, Met Éireann. However, it’s is unclear how bad the winter will be as accurate forecasts are generally predicted within a ten day window.

Last year, heavy snow and ice left many elderly people stranded in their homes and many workers unable to reach their places of employment. The army were called in to some Kildare towns to clear footpaths and assist meals on wheels groups to reach the most vulnerable.