WITH weather forecasters predicting another harsh winter – and arctic conditions arriving possibly as early as November – Nottinghamshire County Council says it is already well-prepared for the worst.
The County Council has more salt stockpiled than ever before – some 12,000 more than official government recommendations – putting Nottinghamshire in a strong position for dealing with a repeat of last winter’s weather.
The Council’s existing undercover salt barns are already full to the brim with salt – some 9,000 tonnes of it – and priority has been giving to finishing a new one at a new £8.6m highways depot in Bilsthorpe so it can be filled with salt within the next few weeks.
In addition, the County Council has written to parish councils to discuss working together again, providing local support during another cold snap like those earlier this year.
The County Council parishes to consider appointing snow wardens to act as a link between villages and the County Council’s district highways managers during periods of severe weather.
The wardens would provide information on the local situation, consult with the district manager about local needs and help in co-ordinating the operations of other agencies and authorities.
And local farmers are being asked if they would be prepared to help keep roads clear during periods of heavy snowfall. A letter seeking expressions of interest has been sent to the NFU for it to forward to its members.
“We learned a lot from last winter’s prolonged bad weather,” said Coun Richard Jackson, County Council Cabinet member for transport and highways.
“We began planning for this year almost immediately and are confident that we are in a stronger position than last year to deal with a prolonged cold spell.
“Our salt barns are full to the gunwales and we are making other arrangements to ensure that we’re ready to swing into action as soon as the bad weather arrives.
“We’re working closely with parish councils and are talking to local farmers to see if they can help if the weather turns bad. They have the appropriate machinery and know-how to help move snow from badly-affected roads in rural areas.
“The new Bilsthorpe depot means that we will be able to store 13,000 tonnes of salt under cover in Nottinghamshire,” added Coun Jackson.
“Overall, we will be able to store 21,500 tonnes, which is 12,000 tonnes more than the absolute minimum recommended by the government and enough for all but the most severe winters.”
“The County Council gives high priority to winter maintenance and has increased its budget to £2.6 million this financial year, to help keep the county’s roads clear of snow and ice.
“We are determined to keep our county on the move this winter.”