Travel During Adverse Weather

What to do if adverse weather occurs

Remember the weather can change at any time and it is best to be prepared for this before you start your journey, especially during the UK winter months. 

During periods of adverse weather conditions and major travel disruption, the University recognises that students, staff and visitors may face difficulties attending the University and returning home.

The University will endeavour to ensure that disruption caused to our services remains minimal whilst at the same time protecting the health and safety of all staff, students and  visitors to campus. Even during ice, snow and associated low temperatures.

In the event of adverse weather or major transport disruption, you should:

  • make every effort to attend teaching classes or work if possible and safe to do so
  • assess the risk in travelling and do not undertake journeys if you consider them to be unsafe
  • Plan your journey before leaving home
  • If you are a student, contact your academic division if you are likely to be delayed or are unable to travel.
  • If you are a member of staff refer to the Adverse Weather policy

In the unlikely event that there may be circumstances in which the University has had to make the decision to reduce services to ‘essential services only’; Academic divisions will inform students if any part of their teaching has been cancelled and updates will be announced on the University’s News Centre pages, @UniKent twitter feed, and on local news, KMFM, KMTV, BBC Radio Kent, BBC Southeast News, ITV Meridian News and Heart FM.

How gritting works

The University of Kent's Landscape Management at Canterbury and Medway FM teams in the Commercial and Estates Division are always up early and working hard to keep our campuses safe and serviceable for all. During icy weather and snow, they grit and clear the campus roads and footpaths to reduce the risk of accidents to staff, students, and visitors.

What many people do not realise is, there is a fine art to gritting. Timing is everything. If you go too early, you waste the grit, because it lands on a dry road and is blown away by the displaced air as vehicles drive past. If it is raining heavily then it just washes away. Ideally, the grit goes down on a damp surface and starts to stick, but if you are too late the surface is already frozen and the salt has to work harder to be effective but it will prevent big sheets of ice from forming.

The salt is hygroscopic which means that it attracts moisture from the air and it only becomes activated when it is ‘trafficked’. When the grit is driven over the salt grinds down and mixes with the moisture it attracts and becomes the ideal brine, a salty water, which is when it is most effective.

Similar to how local authorities manage gritting, the Estates department will grit all University of Kent roads and main footpaths before starting on other areas across the campuses. Further information on the prioritised primary routes can be found on Goggle Maps.

Please refer to the University’s Snow and Ice Process for more information.  

Understanding snow clearing

Snow ploughs only work effectively when snow is more than 5cm (2inches) deep. If snowfall reaches this level, the Estates Division Landscape Management team in Canterbury and the Medway FM team will use a combination of snowploughs and other methods to clear the snow as snowploughs cannot go over road humps or similar traffic calming measures.

Grit does not melt snow and therefore grit cannot be applied on top of deep snow. Refer to ‘How gritting works’ above for more information.

Similar to how local authorities manage snow clearance, the Commercial and Estates Division will aim to clear all University of Kent roads and main footpaths before starting on other areas across the campuses. Further information on the prioritised primary routes can be found on Goggle Maps.

Please refer to the University’s Snow and Ice Process for more information.

Flooding & high winds on our campus

The Landscape Management and Campus Security teams in the Commercial and Estates Division keep a close watch on the predicted weather forecast ahead. They contact key staff if adverse weather is likely to occur so they are on standby to react if required to do so.

If flooding or a fallen object such as a tree that has blocked a path or road the Commercial and Estates Division and other University managers all work collaboratively together so we can immediately and safely respond to the situation.

The Transport Team will usually help by developing an emergency traffic management & movement plan and update you on our news and advice pages of any disruptions and diversions that may have been put in place as soon as we can. If a major disruption occurs we also collaboratively, work with the University’s Corporate Communications team to help disseminate the information. 

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