Winter Weather

Last updated: 12 December 2022

The MET Office is predicting sub-zero temperatures for Reading this week.

Keep up to date

In the event of disruption to Council services, please follow our social media channels – @readingcouncil and Facebook or visit this page, which will also be regularly updated.

Roads

The Council has an established a Winter Maintenance Plan which outlines where and when roads will be gritted during cold weather. It can be found at Winter Service Plan 2022 – 2023 - Reading Borough Council

The Highways Team is prepared for the current freezing conditions and possible snow. Salt stocks are at a healthy level and the Council’s contractor will deliver as many salt runs as required during the cold snap.

Waste collections

All bin crews are out working the usual rounds. In the event of severe weather there is potential for some disruption. If there is a delay in your usual bin collection time, please leave your bin out and crews will collect it when they can. Please be aware that green bin collections may also be affected where the contents are frozen.

Schools

If any schools are closed due to the weather, parents should in the first instance be contacted by their school. Parents can also check individual school websites for updates and listen to BBC Radio Berkshire for news of school closures in their area.

Homelessness

When temperatures fall to below freezing for three consecutive nights, the Council activates its Severe Weather Emergency Provision plan – or SWEP for short. This is to ensure homeless people do not have to bed down outside in freezing conditions. The Council works throughout the year with voluntary and community sector partners to help people who are sleeping rough, but extra emergency beds are made available once SWEP is activated.

Local services provided by St Mungo’s, Launchpad Reading, social housing providers work in partnership to ensure that anyone at risk of sleeping rough during severe weather is offered emergency accommodation. Hostels funded by the council prepare to open up their communal areas to accommodate as many extra people as possible. St Mungo’s carry out assessments and offer advice to anyone using emergency beds.

All of this is in addition to the Council’s usual work to help rough sleepers which continues throughout the year. For more information on what the Council does to help rough sleepers all year around, go to www.reading.gov.uk/roughsleeping. Anyone who is worried about someone sleeping rough can report it at www.streetlink.org.uk

Stay well

Very cold weather can have a serious impact on health and wellbeing, especially for vulnerable adults, including older people, people with health conditions and people with disabilities, as well as families with young children. Visit the NHS to find out How to Stay Well in Winter https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/seasonal-health/keep-warm-keep-well and please share the advice with family and friends and check in on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours. If you’re worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact Reading Borough Council on 0118 937 3747 (01344 786 543 out-of-hours emergencies only) or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1602 (8am-7pm every day) www.ageuk.org.uk/services/age-uk-advice-line/

It is a good idea to keep a supply of medicines, and tinned, frozen and long-life foods to avoid going out if it is icy and make a list of emergency numbers.

The NHS are there to help you. There are a wide range of options for advice and treatment by different health services and professionals. Details of how, who and when to contact below

  • Log on to NHS.uk. For information and advice on health conditions, symptoms, healthy living and medicines, the website includes latest health advice and also answers many common questions.
  • Contact NHS 111. Go online, telephone or use the app - NHS 111 for when you've got an urgent but non-life-threatening health concern and not sure what to do. Available 24/7 staffed by trained healthcare advisers, including nurses, doctors, pharmacists and paramedics.
  • Your local pharmacy. Local pharmacy teams are a good source of advice and treatment for minor illness. They are experienced in dealing with all kinds of minor illnesses, so know how to get you the help you need. No appointments are needed – simply walk in and ask to speak to someone. Find your nearest pharmacy, go to nhs.uk/find-a-pharmacy.

Help with heating

If you can, heat your home to at least 18 degrees C (65F). Winter Watch offers help with heating for residents who are on a low income and either over 60, have very young children, have a disability or health concerns. It is available until 31st March. Visit www.reading.gov.uk/winterwatch or call 0118 937 3747 for more information.

Money Matters: cost of living advice and support

If you are struggling, it’s important you get the help you need. Visit our cost of living advice page: www.reading.gov.uk/housing/money-matters  including advice on help with energy costs www.reading.gov.uk/housing/money-matters/help-with-energy-costs and warm spaces in Reading www.reading.gov.uk/housing/money-matters/warm-spaces-in-reading.