Relaunch of The Westmorland Gazette's Gritwatch campaign

AN annual campaign to ensure motorists can stay on the road in bad weather has been launched this week by the Gazette.

Grit Watch, which monitors Cumbria County Council’s provision of grit and salt, is now up and running in preparation for plummeting temperatures which can bring icy conditions and chaos to the area’s roads.

County council cabinet member for highways and transport Keith Little said: “The council’s winter maintenance teams play a vital role in keeping the county moving, bearing in mind Cumbria has some of the highest terrain and the most challenging roads in the country.

“I know the council’s winter maintenance service is greatly valued by our residents.”

The Grit Watch campaign was set up by the Gazette in the winter of 2010 in a bid to flag up issues with the county council.

Throughout the winter residents will be encouraged to contact the paper to report icy roads, treacherous pavements and empty grit bins in south Cumbria, north Lancashire and the Dales.

A blog is also now live on the Gazette’s website which will feature all the latest Grit Watch news. South Lakes MP Tim Farron backed the campaign, and said: “Gritwatch is a fantastic campaign that helps keep our roads open,” praised South Lakes MP Tim Farron.

“I hope people will get in touch if they run into problems with empty grit bins or roads not being gritted.

“I’ll be working closely with the Gazette and trying to make sure local residents can get around the South Lakes this winter.”

The council has stockpiled 22,000 tonnes of salt this year, with a £4.392 million pot to fund the winter road maintenance services.

It is estimated it will pre-treat around 2,400km of road, including 884km in South Lakeland alone, with A roads and bus routes taking priority, followed by B roads, C roads and country lanes.

The council will also issue gritting updates and alerts via its Twitter feed, under the username @CumbriaCC.

The Gazette’s Grit Watch blog can followed at www. thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/li/grit_watch

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