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Councils should use social media to spread gritting info – LGA

Councils are expected to make more use of social media to communicate with residents about weather forecasts, road conditions and gritting fleets, the LGA has said.

Online communication will be an important tool during this year’s winter, with many councils – of the 95% that have an account – already setting up gritter-specific Twitter feeds and Facebook pages detailing all latest developments.

As part of a new survey by highways bosses, the association has also revealed that local authorities have stockpiled 1.2m tonnes of salt as winter already begins to bite.

About half of councils are at the limit of storage capacity, indicating that they are well-placed to deal with falling temperatures. More than 80% have already placed community grit bins for residents to access salt for pavements and side streets, and 87% are using GPS technology on the gritting fleets.

Cllr Peter Box, LGA environment spokesperson, said: “Councils are fully prepared to protect residents and minimise disruption to their residents caused by the drop in temperatures. They are constantly monitoring up-to-the-minute weather reports to make sure they can stay one step ahead of winter.

“As well as gritting our roads and clearing snow, council teams are ready to be drafted in to help provide variety of services to ensure we are looking out for the more vulnerable members of our communities this winter, from carrying out emergency household repairs to delivering hot meals and portable heaters.

“Councils will treat as many roads as possible during the cold snap and have also filled thousands of community grit bins and recruited volunteers to help people clear pavements, paths and side streets when needed.”

Last winter, though 1.7m tonnes of salt were available, council budgets for gritting roads were slashed by an average of 24% across England. In some regions, such as the East Midlands, this escalated to more than 43%.

It is still unclear how funding reductions will impact this winter’s budget ahead of further Spending Review details on Wednesday (25 November).


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