Northern Ireland councils on winter weather alert
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has called on councils to be prepared for severe weather emergencies.
Faced with the potential of another winter of freezing weather, the minister has written to all councils urging them to ensure that preparations are in train should emergencies arise.
"District councils have a leading role in responding to civil emergencies. We have had an increasing number of severe winters therefore I am calling on all councils to ensure that preparations are well under way this winter," he said.
"The effectiveness of council emergency management was tested during the spring blizzard in March of this year. It is important that we learn from previous experiences and continue to make plans that improve our performance. I have been impressed with the spirit of co-operation and collaboration across all emergency agencies.
"Partnerships are vital to providing quick and practical assistance in emergency situations and maintaining essential links with local communities.
"It is crucial to plan now and be ready for the unexpected to ensure essential local services are sustained and meet the needs of our citizens, including the most vulnerable. Keeping our services open, even during severe weather, is vital to that."