A scheme to encourage parish and district councils in Cumbria to grit roads in their areas has been deemed a success by highways bosses.
Responding to severe snow storms and icy weather a fortnight ago (Surveyor, 10 February), Cumbria CC offered second-tier authorities grit and salt supplies to help combat the winter conditions.
The council has revealed 79 parishes took it up on the offer and ordered three-tonne batches to build local resilience.
The parish gritting scheme system was formally introduced in 2010 to boost resilience and enable communities ‘to help themselves’ during extreme conditions in order to complement the county’s gritting programme, which covers 1,500 miles of roads and pavements on its priority network.
Cllr Tony Markley, Cumbria’s cabinet member for highways, said: ‘We started delivering the grit immediately after activating the scheme and I was pleased with our response. Even though the weather has turned milder now, the additional salt is now out there in communities ready for another cold snap.
‘We’re still developing and refining how we work in partnership with communities to deliver the most efficient gritting service.’
Cumbria is currently in the process of transferring responsibility for day-to-day highways maintenance and gritting from outgoing contractor, Amey, to an in-house team. This will be complete by 1 April when the council says it will review how it works with communities ‘to deliver a truly local gritting service’.
‘The council’s long-standing commitment is to work with any local parties to ensure it improves the safety and condition of the county’s highways,’ a council statement said.