25 January 2010

Northamptonshire County Council will host a summit which will shape national policy on how authorities can manage services during severe winter weather.

The high-level meeting of experts, governmental bodies, business leaders, media and public representatives at Silverstone on March 2 will see a series of actions and lessons identified and sent to the Government.

The gathering of leading experts from the Met Office, GOEM, councils, central government, local media, road haulage, small business representatives and members of the public will be the first major examination of the lessons learned from the weather which hit the UK during December 2009 and January 2010.

All outputs will feed into national and local government policy actions coming forward later in the year.

Northamptonshire experienced significant challenges during the course of the severe weather and was able to demonstrate its learning from the weather of the early part of 2009. The round table meeting will provide for the sharing of best practice from across the region and what needs to happen in the coming year to ensure the appropriate planning takes places and the public are better prepared.

Leader of Northamptonshire County Council, Cllr Jim Harker said: “Northamptonshire is at the very heart of the country with significant road infrastructure (M1, A14 and M6) passing through our county.

“We faced an incredible challenge in early 2009 to keep our county and country moving and we were able to put into practice all the learning from that winter into what we have just been through. I am delighted to be able to host True Grit, an important event and I believe what will come out of this high level conference will inform national policy choices.

“I am very keen for us to hear from the road haulage companies, the media and the public as well as those working on behalf of small businesses. We will all have much to say and I want to make sure it is all captured and fed back to central government and the local government sector.”

The Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Council, Katherine Kerswell said: “As an organisation working on behalf of over 600,000 people, running schools, social services and an employer of 17,000 people we feel we have a great deal to contribute to the next steps we make as a country to be better prepared for increasingly difficult winters.

“I believe together with colleagues from other large councils and organisations responsible for delivering services and business we can helpfully suggest what now needs to happen.”