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Cumbria seeks champions who will show true grit
HUNDREDS of local ‘champions’ could be recruited by Cumbria County Council to keep footpaths free of snow and ice.
It is one of a number of proposals being considered by the authority’s cabinet today as part of an updated winter road maintenance strategy.
A cabinet report suggests a ‘snow champion’ trial could be conducted during the coming winter.
In recent years, the county’s highways department has been criticised for gritting roads but failing to clear snow and ice from footpaths.
The cabinet report says: “Snow volunteers could be given tubs of rock salt and appropriate clothing and equipment in exchange for treating snow affected lengths of footway. While this would be a predominantly urban activity, it could extend to footways in all areas.”
Under the arrangements, snow champions would be recruited to treat an agreed length of footway.
Recruitment would be organised through a mixture of public advertisement and local council recommendations.
The report warns that volunteers should be vetted ‘to ensure suitability’ and given induction training so they can be insured. Its authors suggest up to 50 snow champions in each of the county’s six districts – a total of 300 – would provide a ‘sufficiently large sample’ on which to assess the success of a trial.
Other new winter maintenance proposals include installing remotely operated road-closure warning signs at two Lake District passes and the extension of community gritting trials.
Highways officials say that variable message signs at Kirkstone and Hartside passes would enable a ‘speedy and consistent approach’ to dealing with closures when heavy snowfalls occur or are
The cabinet report recommends further trials be carried out with with ‘willing parish councils’ which could check and control grit usage in their patches, making requests for re-supplies when needed.
But officials suggest no new bins should be provided to parishes unless they and the grit to re-stock them are provided without any additional cost to the winter road maintenance budget.