The bad weather of the last couple of weeks has caused difficulties for many, but it’s times like these that also bring out the best in people.
I’ve heard of numerous examples of people going out of their way to help others - whether that’s checking on the welfare of elderly neighbours, doing errands for people unable to get out, helping to clear snow from drives and pathways or providing transport for doctors and hospital appointments. They are a credit to themselves and to Nottinghamshire.
I am proud of the county council employees who have battled on through the conditions to continue providing important services.
Employees who provide services such as home care and delivering hot meals are a lifeline for hundreds of older people, especially in extreme weather conditions and I know that many had to negotiate extremely challenging conditions, with some carrying out their duties on foot when roads in residential areas were not passable.
On the subject of roads, it would wrong of me not to say a huge thank you to our gritting crews, who were working around the clock to keep the county on the move.
Conditions were so bad last week that snow ploughs were deployed at stages last week, in addition to the continuous gritting runs before, during and after the worst of the snow.
It’s impossible for us to cover every single road, but the main routes we cover add up to 1,120 miles – a third of the county’s entire road network. It was disappointing to see some people suggesting we’d fail to grit some of these routes – every vehicle is fitted with GPS tracking and CCTV, so I can categorically say that was not the case.
I’m pleased to say most of the feedback received has been extremely positive though. Some have even referred to them as our unsung ‘winter heroes’ - and I agree, they are doing a fantastic job.
I’d also like to pay tribute to the many local farmers have done fantastic job to support our efforts and helped keep many rural routes open.
Hopefully now we have seen the worst the winter has to offer and we can return to improving the condition of our roads rather than clearing them!
You may have seen the announcement last week of the first 111 residential roads to benefit from our £20m extra highways investment, confirmed in our budget. These schemes will upgrade the roads people use every day and I am pleased that we are in a position to answer public demand for much needed improvements.