Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Snow Angel Scheme

Part of being an elected Councillor is to lobby and push the administration on ideas that could help residents.

Whilst a lot of residents rightly focus on the disagreements between the administration and opposition there is more often agreement about how we can challenge problems; it is a pity that these topics are never really covered in detail but then arguments tend to lead to more paper sales.

One such initiative is that of Snow Angels and Wardens that I am pushing strongly at present. 

A scheme that has been trailed and rolled-out across a number of local authority areas; from Telford & Wrekin, Portsmouth, Lambeth and York to name but a few. From Labour to Conservatives the idea is a good one and deserves to be considered.

The initiative is extremely simple in that the Council or its contractor would supply a number of volunteers with snow spades, high-viz vests and grit to clear pathways in their local community during periods of snowfall or ice.

The cost of the initiative is not significant and can be fully matched by existing revenue budgets for snow contingencies. In many areas with larger rural communities the cost has been supported by contractors out of existing budgets.

The initiative I believe would be very popular in communities with established engagement and in rural areas. Many Parish Councils in other areas of the country have led on this programme.

The government guidance on resident led clearance of snow is clear despite the myths on health & safety.  The government guidance  ('the Snow Code') to local authorities makes clear residents can clear stretches of path and encourages them to do so. Across rural areas many residents and Councillors have taken it upon themselves to do so anyway during periods of extreme weather.

I have submitted this initiative to the Regeneration Overview & Scrutiny Committee as a work programme item for the next meeting and have written to senior decision makers to look at this idea before the onset of winter.

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