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Community spirit key to Snow Warden success

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Devon’s community spirit has been key to the success of the County Council’s Snow Warden scheme – which is marking its 10th anniversary this year.

Over the past 10 years, volunteers like Peter Smerdon, who is one of the Snow Wardens for the parish of Rattery in South Devon, have been looking after their priority local routes which aren’t covered by Devon County Council’s gritters.

He was among the first to sign up to the scheme when it launched in 2011 after consecutive severe winters in 2009 and 2010, and he says that it’s made the roads in their parish safer during the winter season.

Peter Smerdon said: “The scheme works very well. Devon County Council has helped finance the salt-spreader and keep us supplied with salt and they ask each year if we need to top up our salt stores.

“The winters of 2009 and 2010 made us realise if we were going to make the roads safer for residents to use then we needed a bit of local control. The Snow Warden scheme has given that control to communities, particularly in very rural areas.

“We prioritise the places that need to be done first. It’s allowed us to grit those steep hills to allow residents to get out of the village to reach the A38, get to work, or whatever they have to do.

“Since signing up to the Snow Warden scheme we’ve had two or three winters when we’ve had to use our salt spreader quite a bit and it’s been really helpful. It’s a case of trying to help the community to keep the wheels turning.”

Photo of Councillor Stuart Hughes
Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management and Snow Warden for Sidmouth and Sidford, said: “Snow Wardens have played a tremendous part to help their communities become more resilient. They’re working for their local communities, and I want to thank them for their dedication.

“Our Control Centre contact them when bad weather is on its way, as they did at the weekend, and then they can spring into action to help salt their local roads to help people get out onto the gritted network. We can only grit about 2,000 miles of our 8,000 mile network, so any additional miles by the Snow Wardens to keep Devon moving has to be welcomed.”

To find out more about the Snow Warden scheme go to our community webpages or contact Parish Council representatives who can liaise with their local Neighbourhood Highway Officer.

For more information and travel advice please visit Devon County Council’s Winter travel webpages or for updates on Twitter follow @DevonAlert.