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County council apologises for ‘difficult journeys’ after 37 crashes on icy Norfolk roads

PUBLISHED: 21:55 26 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:52 27 January 2018

Five collisions in 25 minutes were reported due to icy conditions, including on the A148. Picture: Norfolk Police

Five collisions in 25 minutes were reported due to icy conditions, including on the A148. Picture: Norfolk Police

Archant

Failure to grit roads led to 37 crashes during the morning rush hour as motorists navigated icy and hazardous conditions.

A gritter truck being loaded for salt in Norfolk. Picture: NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCILA gritter truck being loaded for salt in Norfolk. Picture: NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Norfolk County Council has apologised for not taking action after weather forecasts had predicted more clement conditions.

However commuters woke to temperatures of below freezing, with Norfolk Police called to reports of 37 crashes around the county between 7am and 9.30am.

Many were attended by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, who had to cut around 10 people from their cars.

MORE: ‘Drive with care’ - 37 crashes across Norfolk in icy conditions

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: “We buy a weather forecast service from a specialist provider which we use to inform our decision on whether to grit, and also where and when.

“While it’s usually very accurate, the forecast for Thursday night suggested road temperatures would not dip below freezing, so on this occasion we unfortunately didn’t have the information needed to send the gritters out.

“We’re sorry if this meant that some people experienced difficult journeys this morning.”

The council also attracted criticism for a tweet it had posted on Thursday, which stated: “The sun has got it’s [sic] hat on, the weather’s mild and bright, the sun has got it’s [sic] hat on and there’s no gritting tonight”.

That “gleeful tweet” was criticised on Facebook, but the council said it had been posted in the early afternoon, based on the forecast at the time.

Roads which were forced to close included the A1122, which was blocked at Fincham and Outwell during the morning.

The road at Fincham was blocked in both directions after a collision between a car and a lorry at around 6.23am. The driver of the car was taken to hospital and the road, which was blocked for several hours for recovery work, was cleared.

Fire crews from Swaffham, Downham Market and King’s Lynn South attended the crash and used hydraulic rescue equipment to release the casualties.

A section of the A1122 at Outwell remained blocked for several hours after a two vehicle collision between a Volkswagen Polo and a Dacia Sandero.

The A149 at Sheringham also remained closed through the morning after four cars collided at around 7.15am. A BT pole had been struck during the collision and the road was closed, with a number of occupants sustaining minor injuries.

Officers also dealt with a collision in the A148 between Thursford and Bale, which occurred around 6.20am. A car had rolled and fire crews from Fakenham and Holt used hydraulic rescue equipment to release one male occupant with minor injuries.

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