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MP blasts county council for failing people during cold snap

February 6, 2012 9:39 AM

Tim was out with a team from Milnthorpe parish council digging out roads and pavementsSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has today blasted the county council for failing local residents during the cold snap over the weekend.

Parts of the county experienced up to 5cm of snow and sub-zero temperatures that dipped to -9 degrees centigrade.

Tim has been calling on the county council for months to test their plans and make sure they are prepared. The council said they were.

The Liberal Democrats on the council, led by Ian Stewart and Peter Thornton, have also consistently over the last few years for the council to give parts of their large stockpile of grit to parish councils and communities to allow local volunteers put the grit down themselves.

The council held a 'Winter Weather Summit' last autumn at which they said they were fully prepared for a cold snap. Peter Allan, Cumbria County Council's deputy head of highways, gave a presentation on the number of gritters and planned routes. He explained the priority routes to members of the public and how much salt is used per treatment. The council said that they would grit 2,416 km of priority roads over 30 routes with an average of 331 tonnes per treatment.

But this weekend many people were left snowed in with paths and roads left untreated. Tim has been inundated by local residents who are angry at the lack of service from the county council.

Tim said: "The county council's performance over the weekend really brings into focus one question - what are hard pressed tax payers actually getting for their money? They can't grit our roads even though they have massive stockpiles and teams working flat out to help the public. The staff on the ground at doing great work and I want to pay tribute to their commitment and service but they hamstrung by their superiors. Management at the county council are failing the people of Cumbria.

"I want the council to take up the idea of giving communities and parish councils grit. We have had 4 bad winters now and residents need to know that our roads will be kept clear. It seems that the county council has failed in this task and it is now time to look at other ideas to keep our roads and pavements clear."