500 snow shovels dished out to residents ahead of snowy weekend

MORE than 500 shovels have been handed out to the residents of Camden who are poised for the first predicted winter snowfall this weekend.

A light snow shower is predicted to hit the capital on Saturday with a maximum daytime temperature of a chilly two degrees.

For many it will bring back memories of the epic snowfalls we saw last winter which caused chaos on the roads and brought the capital to a standstill as the country almost ran out of grit.

Camden Council has assured residents it is well equipped to deal with the snow this winter and has been doling out shovels to community groups in a bid to get everyone to pitch in if the weather turns icy.

A total of 156 groups have already requested shovels including 30 in Hampstead, 39 in Highgate, five in West Hampstead and five in Swiss Cottage.

The council is despatching shovels to the groups this week. Additional grit bins have also been installed across the borough which now number more than 150.

Camden has access to 1,000 tonnes of grit and during severe winter weather around 80 tonnes are used each day – allowing for 12 days cover, way under the number of days of snowfall London experienced last year.

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But the council is confident it will be able to cope with any wintry conditions that lie ahead.

Sue Vincent, Camden’s environment boss, said: “I have been informed that we are ahead of schedule and we have got the grit ready to go.

“We are not expecting enormous amounts of snow this weekend but if people want a shovel they can contact the Town Hall to get hold of one.

“We will be very happy to distribute them throughout the community and the grit is also all there and ready to go.

“We are organised and ready but not quite waiting for it. If it snows we will be fine.”

Although the council has not stockpiled grit, a system is in place to make sure that incidents similar to last year when grit ran very low across the country, do not happen again.

“We can get more as we need it and we will have enough to see us through the winter,” Cllr Vincent continued.

The council informed 1,300 community groups about access to the free shovels last month. It devised the scheme after the country saw one of the worst winters for decades last December.

Groups can still request shovels by emailing street.environment@camden.gov.uk.