COUNCILS say they are confident they can keep the region moving this winter but they will need residents’ help.
As well as investing in new equipment and extra grit, authorities are increasingly recruiting residents to be “snow volunteers”.
Research by the Local Government Association (LGA) suggests 79 per cent of councils are using community grit bins and asking volunteers to spread salt on paths and roads.
Wakefield Council leader Peter Box, who chairs the LGA’s economy and transport board, said: “Last month’s St Jude storm proved that councils continue to rise to the challenge presented by the adverse weather this country can face and being prepared for winter remains a priority for councils.
“Despite tough financial times, councils are investing in new gritting equipment, exploring innovative techniques to tackle snow and frost and working alongside neighbouring councils and community groups.”
He added: “Although it is mild at present, councils are monitoring up-to-the-minute weather reports and have been out testing equipment and gritting routes to make sure they are ready to act quickly on whatever this winter throws at us.
“Councils will be treating as many roads as possible but keeping the country moving will always be a community effort. Thousands of extra grit bins have been installed and filled for people living in side streets and thousands of snow volunteers recruited to help grit hard-to-reach areas.”
The LGA survey suggests 95 per cent of councils expect to have the same or higher levels of salt available to treat roads and paths this winter.
Of the 73 councils which took part, one third had bought new full-size gritters in the last 12 months and half are sharing salt and equipment with neighbouring authorities.
The Commons Transport Select Committee is currently holding an inquiry into how well the country is prepared for the winter weather.