Gritting plans are put in place

WINTER service teams are gearing up for the bad weather, with Matlock Town Council already agreeing to supply up to four times more salt than in previous years.

Fears are growing that temperatures similar to those experienced last November when snow and thick ice lasted for weeks, will arrive in the coming months.

At Matlock Town Council’s recent meeting, it was decided to alter the policy of filling the 11 gritting bins they have placed on street corners around the town.

Annually they are topped up in autumn only, but as temperatures tumbled to as low as -17c last year, the council has now agreed to fill them up to four times, if the budget allows it.

Councillors agreed to buy the grit locally from Tansley builders merchants Salisbury & Wood Ltd at a cost of £86 a tonne, as and when it is needed.

Mayor of Matlock, Cllr Barry Hopkinson said: “We will do our best to keep the bins filled and areas that we can clear, cleared.

“It’s one of the vital things we need to do, but I would ask people who borrow the grit for their driveways not to, it’s for the footpaths and there’s a limit to what we can spend.

“It’s a shame there are budget restraints at the county council and they are not doing more to clear roads.

“It’s okay clearing bus routes, but people still need to get to them routes.”

Derbyshire County Council has vowed to improve on last year’s efforts, but admitted they must stick to their £4.5m budget and that all roads cannot be cleared.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Last year we faced some of the worst winter weather we’d ever seen in Derbyshire.

“This year we’ve changed the way we grit our roads to work more efficiently and effectively. With more than 20,000 tonnes of salt in our stores, we’re well prepared.

“That’s enough to last more than 20 days and we’ll order more as and when needed.”

The council have 54 town and parish councils signed up to their snow warden scheme in which local volunteers help clear roads and footpaths in their area and report empty grit bins.

Over 100 farmers with suitable ploughing equipment have also signed up to help clear the roads.