Council considers volunteer snow wardens:
A COUNCIL is exploring the idea of having “snow wardens” to help clear snow in hard-to-reach areas.
Rhondda Cynon Taf council is considering a proposal to allow members of the public to become voluntary “snow wardens”.
The idea was raised through a notice of motion from the Plaid Cymru group at the latest full council meeting after the local authority recently announced it has put an extra £386,000 into its winter maintenance budget this year.
It comes after the Beast from the East brought disruption as heavy snow covered large parts of the country earlier this year.
The motion, read by Councillor Pauline Jarman, read: “That this council, as part of its emergency planning responsibilities introduces a scheme of voluntary snow wardens to assist in snow clearance in the community during heavy snowfall. The snow wardens will be registered with the council and be properly trained and equipped to undertake snow clearance in their locality.”
Councillor Shelley Rees-Owen, a Plaid councillor representing Pentre, said: “Some areas don’t receive as much help as they like or need straight away.”
She said that many residents would be willing to do this and that there is a similar scheme operating in Bristol.
Council leader Andrew Morgan said: “The principle sounds great but I am not quite sure how it would work.”
Cllr Morgan said the local authority has recently acquired a number of gritters which can access smaller side streets to clear snow and said that Bristol’s scheme is in place because the council there has cut down on gritting routes.
He said he would not want it voted down, but suggested referring it to the public services scrutiny committee.
Councillor Michael Powell, a Liberal Democrat representing the Trallwng ward, said he didn’t think any members would be against giving members of the public the opportunity to support themselves and others, but said questions over how many people and what equipment would be used needed to be answered.
Councillor Stephen Belzak, an Independent representing the Cilfynydd ward, said that the report should maybe look at extreme weather events in general and not just snow.
Councillor Jarman, who represents the Mountain Ash East ward, said: “It is important for the council to be seen to be promoting volunteering.
“It needs to get there (to scrutiny) quickly because of the seasonal nature.
“It should go to scrutiny as soon as possible so the effects of winter can be catered for.”
Councillors voted in favour of Cllr Morgan’s amendment that the motion goes to the relevant scrutiny committee.
Members of the public could be enrolled as volunteer ‘snow wardens’