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Snow warden scheme on ice

Plans to launch a volunteer snow warden scheme across Shropshire have been frozen

Shropshire Council had agreed to set up the scheme ahead of this winter, with the cabinet giving its seal of approval back in September.

But Councillor Andy Boddington – one of the two proposers of the scheme – said he has now been told it will be another year before the scheme is launched.

The county has not yet seen any significant snowfall this winter, but late February and early March have both seen heavy drifts in recent years.
Councillor Boddington said: “Last summer Shropshire councillors agreed to set up a volunteer snow warden scheme across the county. The cabinet agreed to push ahead with the scheme in September.

“Earlier this month I was told that ‘due to other priorities, and particularly having a new highways contractor to mobilise and the unusually high number of potholes due to the harsh winter, we unfortunately will not be able to get snow wardens up and running this year.’

“This is frustrating news. The swingeing cuts to the council’s highways budgets means that it has no hope of clearing most pavements – and has never cleared most local pavements anyway.”

Not deterred, Councillor Boddington is urging people to help out anyway in case of bad weather.
“We need to empower volunteers to clear and grit short stretches of pavement,” he said.

“There is no law preventing you from clearing and gritting public pavements. You are very unlikely to be sued if someone slips because pedestrians have a duty of care to themselves when walking on snow and ice. 

“However, many people still don’t feel empowered to grit or clear pavements. That was the idea behind the snow warden scheme, proposed by Councillor Julian Dean and myself.

“Volunteers would be insured, trained, provided with a hi-vis vest, a shovel and grit. But it seems we will have to wait another year before we get a scheme that has been in place in Telford & Wrekin for years.”

Shropshire Council has been asked to comment.

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