Worst weather report highlights lessons learned

PUBLISHED: 17:27 14 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:01 11 May 2010

DID well – but can do better. That was the outcome of a study into the way Herts County Council responded to last winter s worst weather in 20 years. A cross-party topic group given the job of scrutinising the council s performance during February s s

DID well - but can do better. That was the outcome of a study into the way Herts County Council responded to last winter's worst weather in 20 years.

A cross-party topic group given the job of scrutinising the council's performance during February's snowfall concluded today (Tuesday) that Hertfordshire Highways responded well but improvements can be made.

Sherma Batson, chairman of the Winter Maintenance Topic Group, said: "The group recognised that Herts Highways responded very well in trying times. We understand that the conditions made life difficult for a lot of people, but it is important to keep the role of a local authority in perspective.

"The priority of Hertfordshire Highways was to ensure that the public were not endangered and they fulfilled this role.

"However, a number of areas for improvement have been identified, including the need to clarify communications and liaise more effectively with the district councils and other partners and community groups, especially when the pressure is on - and to make public information more easily accessible, including details of school closures."

The group also examined a number of other practical issues, such as the most effective deployment and servicing of roadside salt bins - and the cost implications of including additional routes in the salting runs.

These are among a range of issues and recommendations that the group wants to see incorporated into the winter maintenance plan for 2009/10, as well as a fuller study of the costs and benefits of treating different areas.

Vice chairman Malcolm Cowan said: "We recognised the clearance of footways was patchy between districts and have put in recommendations to try to get a better response should we suffer heavy snow in the future, with Herts Highways liaising more closely with district councils."

More information on the topic group's findings is available on www.hertsdirect.org Type "winter maintenance" into the search box.

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