Council seeks help of farmers

Snow Scenes in Chesterfield.

Snow Scenes in Chesterfield.

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COUNCIL chiefs are calling on farmers to help keep the county’s roads clear of snow this winter.

The move, approved by Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, comes as the authority looks for more efficient and effective ways to grit and rid snow from the region’s roads following two years of harsh and disruptive winter weather.

The county council revealed it would offer a minimum annual payment of £200 to farmers and other external contractors for help with snow clearance and gritting.

Farmer David Higginbottom, of the Yews, in Holymoorside, welcomed the idea and said: “Some farmers don’t have a lot on during the winter and they have the machinery so this makes sense.”

On the Derbyshire Times’ Facebook, Jane Johnson commented: “I think this is a good idea. Chesterfield comes to a halt when it snows. Bring on the tractors.”

In addition, councillors launched a public consultation, due to start next week, into plans to change the gritting network in a bid to treat more roads across the county.

Cllr Simon Spencer, Derbyshire County Council’s highways chief, said: “During really bad and prolonged winter weather, it’s extremely difficult to provide an effective gritting service under the current system of covering all gritting routes 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“It’s a very costly system and at a time when funds are becoming increasingly tight we needed to look at ways to grit the region’s roads more efficiently and effectively. Last year we spent £4.5m on gritting and snow clearance – an overspend of £1m. This year there’s £4.5m available – but we can’t afford to overspend again,” he added.

l If you would like to help keep the county’s roads clear of snow this winter, register at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/winterhelp or Call Derbyshire on 08456 058 058.

michael.broomhead

@derbyshiretimes.co.uk