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Weather Warning Advice

Road-Safety Education Leaflet Weather 2016

winter service leaflet october 2017

Winter safety service in Western Division fully operational

The Department for Infrastructure’s winter safety service is fully operational and ready to keep people moving on our roads.  

Western Divisional Roads Manager Conor Loughrey confirmed arrangements for the local area saying:
“At this time of year darker evenings and lower temperatures can make driving conditions more difficult and we advise all road users to take extra care.  The Department’s winter safety service is up and running and, whatever the weather, we will be working to keep our main roads open.  Over 90,000 tonnes salt is stockpiled across the north and ready to be used when ice is forecast.

“In Western Division, from now until the middle of April, we will have 68 staff on standby to ensure the main roads are salted, helping drivers to cope with wintry conditions.  Salt barns and stockpiles are being filled to maximum capacity in the Division which encompasses the council areas of Mid Ulster, Fermanagh & Omagh, and Derry City & Strabane.

“When ice or snow is forecast, we have 34 gritters available which can salt the main network in just over three hours, a massive logistical exercise that costs around £20,000 each time it takes place.

“As in previous years, arrangements are in place to enlist the help of contractors and local farmers to assist in efforts to clear blocked roads in the event of significant snow.” 

The Department is advising motorists to exercise caution and drive with due care and attention in the more challenging conditions that winter can bring. 

Mr Loughrey continued: “Even with the most careful and thorough planning, the use of special Met Office forecasts and the latest ice prediction technology, winter service is a battle against the elements and ice-free roads cannot be guaranteed. We all need to be mindful of the changing conditions and adjust the way we drive, ride or cycle to ensure it is appropriate for the conditions.  The best advice is in the Highway Code, take extra care even if roads have been salted, be prepared for road conditions changing over short distances and take care when overtaking gritters.”

The Department’s Trafficwatch and Road Safety teams will continue to offer advice and guidance via social media to all road users, to help the public prepare for winter driving conditions and plan their route.  

More information is also available in the Winter Service information leaflet ‘Keeping Traffic on the Move During Winter’ available to download at:  www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/infrastructure/winter-service-leaflet-october-2017.pdf

Further advice on driving in adverse weather conditions is available on nidirect at:www.nidirect.gov.uk/publications/driving-adverse-weather-conditions-leaflet

Imagine the damage and distress to your daily life if the pipes in your home were to freeze and burst this winter. Help protect your home by following this simple pipe check:

Step 1. Check that your pipes have been lagged

Step 2. Check all lagging is securely fitted

Simple tips to protect your pipes this winter

Water, it’s a big part of our daily routine, and it only takes one big freeze to strike to cause a burst pipe, loss of water- and potentially costly repairs. That’s why we’ve put together some useful information to help you prepare your home for the winter weather including: simple ways to protect your pipes, guidance on pipework responsibilitiesFree Stop Valve TagWinter Advice for FarmersAdvice for Business Customers; andfour short videos which give advice on how to locate your stop valve, insulation, and what to do if a pipe freezes or pipe bursts.

All pipework within your home or business boundary is your responsibility, and spending a little time on simple frost protection now could help you avoid trouble and expense this winter. Click here to find out about your pipework responsibilities. All plumbing fittings, appliances and pipes within domestic and non-domestic premises connected to mains water must comply with plumbing law.  This law is known as The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 and can be downloaded free of charge from the http://www.niwater.com/water-fittings-regulations/

'How to' Videos

Avoiding Frozen Pipes

  • Insulate water tanks and pipes in unheated areas like lofts, roof spaces, garages and outbuildings. This is also applicable to non domestic premises and holiday homes likely to be unoccupied and unheated for prolonged periods of time.
  • Insulation is essential in helping to prevent water in pipes from freezing. It is also important to ensure there are no gaps in the insulation at bends, valves or fittings.
  • You can calculate how much protection the various types of insulation offer by clicking here. This calculator tool will help you determine how effective insulation will be in delaying the effects of cold weather on pipes, such as freezing. 
  • Lagging material for pipes can be purchased in DIY/Plumbing stores. It should be noted that even with lagging, extreme weather conditions can result in water in pipes freezing. Without lagging however the potential for this to happen is greatly increased.
  • Fix dripping taps – a small trickle of water can freeze and completely block the pipe.
  • Find your internal stop tap/valve. It is usually but not always located under your kitchen sink and normally closes by turning clockwise. You may want to test it is working.
  • Service your boiler regularly.
  • Make sure doors and windows from unheated parts of your property are kept closed and minimise any draughts from outside.
  • If you have tanks or pipes in the roof space, allow some warm air to circulate by opening the trap door (this should be a temporary measure ONLY, as it will cause condensation - tanks and pipes should be insulated).
  • Leave the heating on low when you are away. Leave a key with a neighbour, friend or family member who can check the house regularly.
  • Write down the contact details of an Approved Contractor (qualified plumber). NI Water recommends you use a WaterSafe Approved Plumber, search for your nearest approved plumber at WaterSafe.org.uk by entering your postcode 
  • If a property is not in use or occupied for a prolonged period of time it is advisable to turn the water supply off at the stop tap and even consider draining down the system to lessen the possibility of burst pipes going undetected causing property damage and the waste of water.

Dealing with Frozen Pipes

  • Turn off the water supply at the stop tap/valve.
  • Thaw along the pipe, starting from the end nearest the tap.
  • Don’t use a blow lamp or naked flame.
  • Put hot water bottles or a thick cloth soaked in hot water over the frozen pipe or use a hair dryer at its lowest setting to thaw pipes. Be careful not to warm them too quickly.
  • Don’t leave taps dripping or running. The water may not flush down the plug hole if the pipes below are frozen.

If a Pipe Bursts

  • Turn off the stop tap/valve.
  • Try to block escaping water with thick cloth like towels.
  • Turn on all taps to reduce flooding.
  • Call an Approved Plumber. NI Water recommends you use a WaterSafe Approved Plumber, search for your nearest approved plumber at WaterSafe.org.uk by entering your postcode or by telephoning 0333 2079030
  • Don’t forget to turn off taps once the problem is fixed to avoid the waste of water.  

Email: [email protected]
Waterline: 03457 440088
Text Phone: 03457 023206



Advice video on how to Protect your Pipes this winter