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With severe cold weather forecast, BCP Council is activating the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) and encouraging everyone to be weather ready.

Additional emergency support provided by leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s to people sleeping rough in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will now be implemented.

The Met Office have issued a Level 3 alert for cold weather, icy conditions and even heavy snow in some places, lasting over the next few days.

The council’s highways maintenance team will be out with their gritters if needed, making it a priority to ensure the main routes are sufficiently gritted to help residents and visitors get to where they need to go wherever possible.

Priority will be placed on clearing routes for buses and emergency vehicles, and maintaining access to hospitals, schools and main roads.

Councillor Karen Rampton, BCP Council Portfolio Holder for People and Homes, said:

“Over the next couple of days severe weather conditions could really impact the safety and wellbeing of people who are sleeping rough, so our teams will be out speaking to everyone who is sleeping rough to try and encourage them inside.

“Unfortunately, not everyone takes up our offers of accommodation during this time and so our outreach teams will be stepping up their efforts to actively encourage everyone to come inside, out of the cold.”

Councillor Bobbie Dove, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Regulatory Services commented:

“With the Met Office forecasting icy conditions and even snow, there may be some travel delays on our roads and a small chance of injury from falling on icy surfaces, so I’m encouraging everyone to be weather ready.

“If you must travel long distances, please leave plenty of time to get to your destination or work from home where you can. If you’re walking to your destination, wrap up warm and only venture out if it’s safe to do so.

“Look out for friends and family who may be more vulnerable during this time, ensuring they stay safe and warm, and keep an eye on the weather forecast so you know what’s going on and when it’s changing.”

Members of the public are being urged to:

– Encourage anyone they see rough sleeping in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole to call 01202 315962 or email B& to speak to the Outreach team.

– Dial 999 if someone needs emergency help.

The council’s highway maintenance team operate a fleet of 12 gritting vehicles which are on standby 24 hours a day during the winter months, ready to respond to the hazardous driving conditions. They receive weather forecasts three times a day, which allows them to grit roads when needed and when it’s most effective to do so.

To stay weather aware, please follow the Met Office’s useful advice on dealing with severe conditions, or for more information on what BCP Council does in extreme weather conditions, please visit here.

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