According to Adrian Hollister of the West Berkshire Green Party, "the local council bought a number of snow plough attachments for tractors quite some time ago. They now lie rotting in farmers yards unused."
Unused because the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in the council decided not to pay or insure farmers to clear their local roads. Walking through the villages of Chaddleworth, Britghtwalton and Lekhampstead today not one single road has been cleared - either salted or snow ploughed. Why don't the council re-instate the use of these local snow ploughs and help share out the work with our local gritters?
In a farmers discussion forum it seems that the farmers don't get much for doing this, and councils across the country are cutting back on such services.
One farmer on this forum has some interesting ideas.
The situation would be much better if farmers were organised to be the front line force.
1. Farmers are well distributed over the country rather than located in large depots
2. They know how to get going quickly
3. With road salt stored on farm the whole operation would be spread over the country
a. fewer specialist gritters/ploughs needed for a few days work.
b. a competent volunteer army which could be paid a retianer and a decent hourly rate
c. an uplift for farmers public relations.
It seems likely that the result of this winter's snow will be another huge investment in hugely expensive new gritters and other equipment. Many ratepayers would probably prefer to see the money better spent.
This one does seem to exploit child workers though.