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January 4, 2010 12:00 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has criticised Cumbria County Council for its failure to help local residents to cope with the extreme winter weather conditions.

The Conservative-led County Council is responsible for dealing with gritting and the clearance of roads and paths.

Speaking this morning, Tim said: "The County Council is guilty of a massive failure to help residents in South Lakeland. The first deluge on 20 December came two weeks ago; it's unacceptable that residents - especially older people - are still trapped in their homes because of icy pavements that have not been cleared. It took until 29 December before I could persuade the County Council to clear anything other than A roads.

"Grit bins have also been left empty for many days, leaving residents with no way of keeping their roads clear."

Tim helped neighbours clear roads in Milnthorpe three times over the Christmas break, and went out to buy several bags of grit from a local garden centre because the County Council had left no grit in the nearest bin.

Tim has demanded a round table meeting with the County Council and the emergency services to put in place an emergency plan for extreme winter weather.

"There appears to have been no emergency plan - or if there was, it wasn't followed. We face more snow over the coming days and weeks; the emergency response must be radically improved," Tim continued.