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Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Call-up starts for Wakefield's volunteer "snow army"
Man gritting pavement
Wakefield's "snow army" will help keep paths and pavements clear

Wakefield Council is appealing for community-minded people to join what it says will be the district's first ever 'army' of volunteer snow wardens.

People are being asked to sign a pledge, promising to keep areas around their houses clear of ice and snow.

Graham West from Wakefield Council said he was sure many people would sign up.

He said: "We are very lucky that we have a great number of public-spirited people out there who want to get involved in winter maintenance."

Grit kits

Wakefield Council plans to give away 300 free grit kits to those taking part, including a snow shovel, a fluorescent 'snow warden' jacket and a bag of salt.

With wintry weather forecast, the council said its priority was to keep the district's main roads open and to ensure essential services stayed open.

Graham West, Wakefield Highways Network Manager, said the council was not just getting the public to do a job it should be doing.

He said: "Wakefield prides itself on being a listening council and we have made a lot of effort and held many, many meetings to speak to people about what happened last year.

"I am hoping people will take this in the spirit Wakefield Council is trying to promote."

If 300 people all did 10 metres of footpath then that would be 3km of footpath cleared.
Graham West, Wakefield Council

The hope is that the volunteer snow wardens will join forces to help their neighbours and vulnerable people who cannot help themselves.

They will be expected to clear pavements, drives and cul-de-sacs.

Mr West said the government had addressed concerns over who was liable if accidents took place, meaning the scheme could now go ahead.

He explained: "At the back end of October the government gave a ten-point action plan and guidance.

"We are comfortable now that people are clearer as to what their liabilities may be - or, in fact, what they are not."

And Mr West said if all 300 grit kits were used properly then that could have a big impact on the district during bad weather.

"Massive improvement"

He said: "You can imagine that if 300 people all did 10 metres of footpath then that would be 3km of footpath cleared.

"Even one or two metres cleared - meaning an old person could get to a car or just get to their neighbour's house - would be a massive improvement on what we have seen in the past."

Volunteers would be asked to sign a pledge, promising to only use the grit provided on paths and driveways.

Graham West said: "The pledge will just say that they will use the salt on the highway network and they will identify vulnerable people locally.

"They will then also bring in other people in their area to help and support this."

Volunteers for Wakefield's so-called "snow army" are asked to call Wakefield Council on 0845 8506506 for a free grit kit.

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