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Staffordshire County Council Highways crews prepared for winter freeze

staffordshire county council grittingHighways crews in Staffordshire will be on call around the clock from Monday 17 October in readiness for the winter season ahead.

Two teams of 60 Staffordshire County Council drivers will be poised and ready to brace the cold weather at a moment's notice in order to keep the road network as safe as possible and on the move.

A team of decision makers will also be closely monitoring weather forecasts so that they can act swiftly to combat the wintery conditions. They will be checking predictions on a daily basis to make sure that the most effective and appropriate treatment is put in place.

The county council has also stockpiled 30,000 tonnes in salt supply, which equates to 20 days’ worth of continuous action. Parish councils are being encouraged to make use of the salt in their own areas to meet the specific needs of their local communities in the event of persistent snowfall.

The highways crews have also been preparing the county council’s ice busting equipment for the arduous task ahead.

They have been carrying out rigorous checks and tests on the gritters, snow ploughs, loading shovels and weather stations to make sure they are in full working order

The measures all form part of a concerted effort by the county council to be fully prepared in light of recent severe winters and predictions of harsh conditions again this year.

Staffordshire County Councillor Mike Maryon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said:

"We want to make sure that people can remain on the move safely during the snow season so we have been planning ahead to prepare as best we can for what is anticipated to be another tough winter.

"Supplies are at a premium during the winter but we have stockpiled our salt in readiness. Stockpiling the salt - which will last for five years if covered - will help provide a significant buffer zone and we won't be forced to pay inflated prices if the country's reserves run low.

"So our focus is on ensuring that we are equipped to cope while delivering maximum value for money.

"We have also written to our parish council colleagues asking them if they would like to make use of the salt supply to respond to the most pressing needs of their communities.

"There are 3,500 miles of roads and pavements throughout the county but with persistent heavy snowfall there are places we simply cannot reach. However, by promoting self-help, encouraging local communities to make use of the salt, we are giving people the opportunity to put it to use where it is most needed

"Some parish councils took up our offer last year and we are hoping more will do so again this year. By working together we can all play our part in keeping everyone safe, especially older and vulnerable people."

"Our team has also pulled out all the stops over the last few months to fine tune our equipment for the task in hand and our drivers are primed and ready to be on call around the clock during the winter season, routinely starting work at 4.30am, to make sure that our roads are as safe as possible.

"Their hard work and dedication is a testament to themselves, the county council and to the people of Staffordshire."

The county council routinely treats more than 40% of the road network which is well above the national average.

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