TRANSPORT chiefs are appealing for volunteers to join a scheme designed to ‘keep communities on the move’ during periods of winter ice and snowfall.
Staffordshire County Council is urging community groups and parish councils to join its Ice Busters programme, which helps mobilise volunteers to treat footpaths and pedestrian routes around schools, sheltered housing and doctors’ surgeries.
Apart from support and advice, groups are also given grit or a brine solution to tackle icy conditions.
Mike Maryon, the council’s highways chief, said the volunteers played an important role keeping communities moving when temperatures fell.
“Staffordshire is one of the best councils in the country when it comes to gritting, and we routinely cover 43 per cent of our road network every winter,” he said.
“As in previous years, this winter we will be focusing on gritting our main routes to help keep the county on the move.
“However, we can’t get everywhere and our Ice Busters scheme really does help communities do what they can to help themselves when there are prolonged spells of ice or snow.”
The council is responsible for more than 3,500 miles of road and 2,800 miles of footways.
It has 30,000 tonnes of salt in stock and will use about two-thirds during an average winter.
There is no law preventing community groups from clearing snow and ice from public spaces, but pouring on water, which could refreeze, would only make surfaces more dangerous.
“We work closely with parish and town councils in particular as they have the local knowledge about what paths and minor routes are well used,” Councillor Maryon said.
“The grit bins are there for community use, but residents can help make their own paths and drives less slippery by clearing any snow and simply sprinkling the area with table salt.”
Parish councils and large community groups interested in signing up for Ice Busters are urged to contact their community highway liaison team by calling 0300 111 8000.
The team will help the volunteers draw up an action plan.