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Farron hands petition to parliament calling for a full emergency plan following recent gritting fiasco

February 9, 2010 12:00 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron will be handing a petition over to parliament tonight calling for an investigation into Cumbria County Council's failure to help local residents to cope with the recent extreme winter weather conditions.

The Conservative-led county council is responsible for dealing with gritting and the clearance of roads and paths. Recently, the county council refused to apologise to the residents of South Lakeland for their failure, despite a motion from Liberal Democrat opposition councillors calling on them to do so.

Speaking from parliament today, Tim said, "The county council is guilty of a massive failure to help residents in South Lakeland. The extreme weather conditions were a challenge for everyone locally, but there seemed to be a complete absence of an emergency plan from the county council. The first deluge came on 20 December, but four weeks later there were many residents - especially older people - still trapped in their homes because of a failure to clear icy pavements and roads.

"Grit bins where also left empty for many weeks, leaving residents with no way of keeping their own roads clear.

"We are made of hardy stuff in Cumbria and we don't blame the council for the weather! But the county council should have had a proper emergency plan to ensure that secondary roads, town centre pavements and the residential areas were cleared. It should also be a priority to provide assistance to older residents. Our petition calls upon the county council to develop a plan so that the next time we experience extreme weather, there can be an intelligent response."