The Royal Borough Council invoked its severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) on Thursday.

The council was set to dicuss its new homelessness strategy at a cabinet meeting on the same evening in a bid to improve the borough’s homeless situation.

Website states: “Historically, the minimum SWEP response from local authorities was to open provision when there was a forecast of zero degrees, or below zero, for three consecutive nights.

“Every Local Authority should have a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) which is used when severe weather is forecast. We recommend that each area agrees a flexible process for triggering and coordinating SWEP, based on empathy for people sleeping rough in severe weather.

“The protocol should be implemented (i.e. accommodation made available) on the first night of the forecast.”

However, RBWM decided to implement the protocol on Thursday regardless of weather forecasts, and will keep it in place until spring 2019.

In a message on Twitter, leader of the council Simon Dudley said: “@RBWM⁩ will take its new #Homelessness Strategy to Cabinet on Thursday. Irrespective of temperatures we will invoke our Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) that evening. SWEP will run all winter till Spring 2019 protecting the most vulnerable.”