DEVON County Council is ensuring that communities are well prepared to keep Devon moving during any severe weather over the coming Winter months.
Devon has a network of 265 Snow Warden volunteers across the county – as more than 60% of towns and parishes in Devon have signed up to Devon County Council’s winter self-help Snow Warden initiative.
The scheme is also currently being rolled out in Exeter where recognised community groups and residents’ associations who wish to be involved
Devon County Council’s salt stocks are at full capacity with around 25,000 tonnes ready to be used on the county’s roads, and more than 3,000 grit bins across Devon are currently being checked and re-filled.
Last year was an average winter, with around 11,000 tonnes of salt used to treat Devon’s roads. That was far less than the previous three harsh winters, the most severe of which saw nearly 30,000 tonnes of salt used in Devon in 2009/10.
Devon’s fleet of 74 gritters are also now on standby to grit the county’s combined primary and secondary salting routes which cover more than 2,000 miles of Devon.
In addition 12 new tractors with snow ploughs will be available from November to assist with any snow clearance that may be required.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “We are as prepared as we can be in the event of severe weather, with salt levels fully stocked and our fleet of gritters on standby should they be needed. The snow warden scheme has been received extremely positively by communities over the past 12 months and it is enabling us to work more closely with those towns and parishes involved.
“Because our 8,000 mile highway network is bigger than any other local authority in the country it is impossible to treat all of our roads. The snow wardens provide an additional level of resilience during severe winter weather, at the very local level which otherwise would be impossible to achieve without them. The Snow Wardens provide an important link to the County Council and they really can make the difference during prolonged severe weather by co-ordinating their efforts where they feel it is needed most.”
Devon County Council is reminding everyone of the following advice:
• Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with less traffic and colder temperatures;
• Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice and, in extreme cold, even salting will not stop ice from forming;
• Allow additional time for your journey and reduce your speed;
• Drive with care and according to the conditions;
• If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, find out how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell;
• Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions.
For more information and travel advice visit: www.devon.gov.uk/winter