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Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 24 February 2010


Wednesday 24 February 2010




The Petition of residents of the South Lakes and others,

Declares that better gritting is required in the South Lakes.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to put pressure on Cumbria County Council to develop an emergency plan to make sure that roads and pavements are cleared properly and people are not trapped in their homes during snowfall.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Tim Farron, Official Report,9 February 2010; Vol. 505, c. 883 .]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport:

Provision of a winter service on the roads in the South Lakes district is a matter for Cumbria County Council. They have a duty, under section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, to maintain the highways in their charge; and this includes a specific requirement to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice.

The Department for Transport encourages local highways authorities to adopt the good practice set out in the UK Roads Liaison Group’s code of practice for highways maintenance management, Well-maintained Highways (available from This includes a section on winter service, which has been recently updated to take account of the review which the UKRLG undertook in response to the severe weather of February 2009. The Code of Practice urges local highway authorities to produce, and formally approve and adopt, policies and priorities for winter service. These should be coherent with wider objectives for transport, integration, accessibility and network management, including strategies for public transport, walking and cycling, as well as the wider strategic objectives of the authority. Local government democratic processes provide opportunities for the public to make their views known to the Council.

The Government and the devolved Administrations, with the support of the Local Government Association, have taken action which aims to help authorities not to run out of salt, by providing advice to suppliers on priorities for deliveries. Local authorities, as well as the Highways Agency, have been asked to conserve supplies to deliver an overall target of a 40 to 50 per cent. reduction in salt use. These measures have been critical in retaining sufficient salt stock resilience, at a time when salt deliveries from domestic suppliers are only a proportion of the potential national usage.