With the disruption which followed the first ‘the Beast from the East’ bad weather hitting the country at the end of February, Norse companies and divisions, already on full alert, responded rapidly and effectively.
Waveney Norse’s hard-working operatives were amongst the first to brave the heavy snow that was falling across East Anglia, with drivers starting to arrive at the company’s depot as usual at 5.30am, ready for their 6 o’clock start on the refuse rounds.
The company was out collecting from its business and domestic customers as usual, wherever road conditions were safe enough for them to do so.
Norse also clears snow at a number of Industrial, commercial and retail parks, as well as gritting and clearing snow for schools and housing associations, as part of their grounds maintenance contracts. Grounds operatives are redeployed to carry out this service when they cannot work on shrubs and grass under snow.
Group Operations Director Mark Emms commented: “In cold weather we send our operatives out at 4am to grit as a matter of course, but they go out to grit again during the day if conditions worsen and the forecasts we receive suggest it is necessary.
“We carefully analysed the weather reports we receive from the meteorological group that we subscribe to. Normally they send one report every 24-hours, but by midday on Tuesday we had already had three weather reports since the previous midnight. They constantly update and change their forecast of where the snow is predicted to fall and the amount of precipitation likely to occur.”
Emms say that the weather can also cause some reactive issues for Norse to deal with. “Clients may experience issues with water leaks caused by frozen pipes,” he says. “Also snow sometimes gets into places rain can’t, so hitherto unknown roofing issues become apparent during the thaw and are called out to arrange repairs.”
For the Norse 24-hour Helpdesk it was near normal, apart from an increase in requests for gritting locally from the Norfolk County Council Offices and Carrow House.
Norse Catering is advised by Norfolk County Council of any closures and, although many schools shut due to the weather, those that remained open were all supplied with meals as usual.
At the portfolio of care homes the catering team cover, residents are always assured regular nutritious meals. Even when the daily deliveries could not get through, catering staff ensured that adequate food supplies were maintained on the premises.
Norse Transport operated all adult and schools’ services unless they were closed by Norfolk County Council. There were disruptions due to slow-moving traffic caused by the weather, but there were plans in place for any eventuality. The company ensured that all clients were contacted regarding delays, and estimated times of arrival were provided where possible.
Dean Wetteland, Norse Group Managing Director, praised everybody who helped our customers survive the Beast from the East: “Throughout the Norse group, our staff rose to the many challenges, and I’m extremely proud of our response to this exceptional weather event.”