Monday, 27 December 2010

Snow and ice - call for scrutiny to improve plans.

Hooray.  The ice on the pavement on my street seems to be melting away .  But the forecasters say there could be a lot more cold weather to come.

We all know people who've slipped and fallen in this lot of bad weather and uncleared pavements.  And we all know people who've had journeys messed up.

Some problems are inevitable, and I am not one of those who thinks that weather should have no effect at all.

But it seems to me that again we have lessons to learn about how we have coped in Liverpool so far (things we've got wrong as well as right).  And we need to use these lessons to think about next year (before collective memory fades a bit)

So at the environment committee last week I called for the setting up of a panel (name not important - could be a scrutiny panel) to look at what we've learned and what we recommend for next time.  Because in Liverpool this area of responsibility is split (partly environment and partly regeneration) I have asked for this call to be tabled at the regen committee in early January as well.

I personally am very keen we do some work to get some good early recommendations for next winter.

Up to now, for example, it seems to me that councils have operated on a "just in time" supply chain method when it comes to grit.  Get some in and then have an order in for future supplies.  The problem arises when everyone has bad weather and wants the same stuff all at once.  The capacity in the UK for grit production is a maximum  of 8,000 tonnes a day.  Liverpool, when it grits the roads it does grit, uses about 64 tonnes.  Extrapolate from that to other Cities all over the UK and you can see that if everyone is using the just in time approach there will not be enough to go round. 

I risk becoming a snow and ice obsessive (!) but these times are when people really look to local Councils and its important we get things right.

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