County council increases salt reserves

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NOTTS County Council boasts more salt reserves than ever before in as it prepares for another harsh winter.

Existing undercover barns are already full to the brim with 9,000 tonnes of salt and the authority expect to finish a new £8.6m highways depot in Bilsthorpe within the next few weeks.

The council is considering appointing snow wardens to act as a link between villages and highways managers during periods of severe weather.

The wardens would provide information on individual situations, 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 National Farmers Union for it to forward to its members.

“We learned a lot from last winter’s prolonged bad weather,” said councillor Richard Jackson, 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 and we are making other arrangements to ensure that we’re ready to swing into action as soon as the bad weather arrives.”

He added: “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 will be able to store 13,000 tonnes of salt undercover.

It means, overall, the county will have 21,500 tonnes - 12,000 tonnes more than the minimum recommended by Government - and enough for all but the most severe winters.

Coun Jackson said the authority has increased its winter maintenance budget to £2.6m this financial year.

“We are determined to keep our county on the move this winter,” he added.