A HOST of new gritter wagons are ready to roll as preparations for wintry weather get underway.

Bradford Council said it has hired ten new wagons, bringing the total serving the district to 34.

The authority said that all gritters have been prepared for winter, rotas for drivers and managers are ready and drivers have also been out to practice their allocated routes.

During the worst of the winter weather, dubbed nationally as the "Beast from the East" huge swathes of Bradford came to a standstill, with ice and snow making some roads impossible to drive on. There was also a huge spike in accidents as vehicles lost control.

Earlier this year, it was revealed the intense snow which hit the district in February and early March saw Bradford Council massively overspend its annual winter service budget of £840,700 - with the final amount spent reaching £1,360,858.

The Council report said it had been the third worst winter in the last 10 years and had placed "extreme stress" on the service.

The same report outlined that for this coming winter, the Council will use a "pool" of trained drivers from other departments in addition to the existing winter gritting team in case of another severe winter.

A "Winter Resilience Champion" will oversee gritting operations.

In the latest update on winter preparations, the local authority said: "Supplies of grit for the coming winter season have been delivered to our depots and we have about 24,000 tonnes ready for spreading.

"We grit 24 priority one routes across the district covering over 700 miles of road which is 62 per cent of all the roads in the district.

"They also grit seven footpath routes in the city centre and in town centres across the district including the two in the city centre and routes in Keighley, Bingley, Shipley, Ilkley, and Saltaire."

It added: "We are busy filling grit bins across the district and we are working with several local parish councils in developing community emergency and flood plans to help improve their resilience in the face of an emergency."

The Council has also highlighted the Met Office's 'Weather Ready' campaign. The initiative provides advice on travel, protecting the home and health and wellbeing.

As part of this, people are being encouraged to check on elderly and vulnerable neighbours, relatives and friends.

It has also issued advice for what people should do if they are worried about someone sleeping on the streets.

"No one needs to sleep out in the cold," the Council said.

"During the winter we work with partners to open a 'cold weather provision' for rough sleepers.

"Additional beds will be made available and outreach workers go out making sure no-one has to sleep on the streets in the cold weather. "Everyone who stays for a cold weather bed is provided with support around resolving their housing situation on a longer term basis."

If you are concerned about someone sleeping on the streets, call Bradford Council's Housing Options Service on 01274 309165.

Other advice includes signing up for Met Office and Environment Agency alerts, checking for priority grit routes and grit bin locations, making a list of key numbers, preparing your home and car and booking in for a flu vaccination - particularly if you are aged 65 and over.