AN emergency gritting operation has been put in place by Barnet Council in a bid to reduce disruption caused by the heavy snow fall.

Up to four inches of snow landed in parts of the borough last night as blizzard conditions set in from late afternoon.

Snow began to settle on top of existing icy conditions from about 4pm causing chaos on the roads.

Drivers were left sat in huge tailbacks as traffic came to a standstill. Minor crashes were regularly occurring as cars struggled to find grip on the untreated routes.

Some motorists resorted to leaving their cars in side roads and walking through the snow, while people standing outside for public transport realised buses were severely disrupted and chose not to wait.

A statement on Barnet Council's website last night said gritting teams were concentrating on keeping priority routes open, which include major roads, transport interchanges and routes around hospitals.

Officers claimed this morning that all major roads in the borough were open although advised residents to check with Transport for London for updates on the tube and bus network.

Gritting lorries were said to still be out gritting roads this morning, with 30 trucks supporting hand gritting in town centres. Figures from the council say that more than 800 tonnes of grit has already been spread on the borough's roads in the last week.

Council bosses said they are now gritting secondary routes, and added: “All available staff, from parking attendants to park-keepers, are currently working on the gritting operation.

“Side roads are being gritting ahead of waste collections. So far all waste collections have been made.”

They also said work is continuing to support residents in East Barnet who have been without gas supplies since early Sunday morning, with National Grid leading efforts to re-connect households.