Berkshire

Call-outs rise amid snow and ice in Berkshire

The ambulance service across Berkshire saw call-outs rise by more than a third after snow and ice gripped the area.

The county escaped major snow fall overnight on Monday, but lying snow and ice continued to cause travel problems.

South Central Ambulance Service took 403 calls over the weekend - up from 300 for the same period last year.

Thames Valley police have urged motorists to take care as many roads were still unsafe due to the freezing conditions.

The force deployed its fleet of 4x4 vehicles and its vehicles were kitted out with special "snow shoes", which give better traction on snow and ice.

Burst pipes

Many rail services were still disrupted on Tuesday, with passengers advised to visit their operators' website for information.

Meanwhile, council staff in Bracknell walked for up to 90 minutes in the wintry conditions to reach vulnerable children.

Thames Water reported a four-fold increase in calls from customers about burst pipes.

On Sunday, the firm received 2,800 calls - 2,550 of them about water freezing in pipes.

Jerry White, Thames Water' s head of operational control, said: "If the water supply pipe into your property is not insulated, we advise lagging it with a towel or a pipe insulator from a plumbing supplier as soon as possible.

"Key pointers for thawing frozen household pipes include using a hairdryer - not a blow torch - to gradually warm them up.

"Similarly, leave your loft hatch ajar to allow warm air from below to circulate in the attic so pipes don't freeze."

Residents were advised to check their council website for the latest information.

Reading Borough Council said there might be some delays to bin collections due to icy roads but advised residents to put their bins out as normal.

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