25 February 2010

A key player in the government’s ‘salt cell’, the unit responsible for re-allocating grit supplies across the country, Andy Bailey, will be one of the delegates at Northamptonshire County Council’s True Grit talks at Silverstone next week.

Other invited guests at the severe weather summit include leading weather specialists Weatherquest, who supply many BBC radio stations with forecasts and which will explain what caused the big freeze. In addition representatives from the Met Office will also be attending adding a wealth of experience to proceedings.

The summit, the first national roundtable on the severe weather this year has been organised to provide first hand perspectives and analysis from leaders in the field to support the formulation of national policy on how to prepare and best manage public services during severe winter weather.

As the first national opportunity to bring together experts and practitioners Northamptonshire expects to provide central government with crucial analysis on the impact of the snow and ice.

The summit will showcase the county council’s response to the severe weather of December and January and gather the experiences of others in the region including emergency services, emergency planners, schools and social and health services; and national voices from the Salt Union, National Farmers Union and the Road Haulage Association.

The LGA (Local Government Association), which represents local authorities at national level, will be assisting in the dissemination of the summit conclusions with Government.

County council leader, Cllr Jim Harker, who will chair the talks on Tuesday, March 2, said: “With the county still in winter’s icy grip, Northamptonshire County Council’s True Grit summit next week could not have been held at a more appropriate time.

“We have a wide range of representatives from a variety of sectors signed up to attend and it will be interesting to compare the experiences of different authorities and organisations on how they dealt with the severe winter weather.

“But perhaps the most important aspect of the talks will be sharing the good practice from the past few months so that we all continue to develop and refine our methods of dealing with severe weather.”