Welsh councils will receive £2.5m government funding to offset costs incurred in dealing with the recent severe weather.
Although the announcement is not linked to the Bellwin scheme, it follows a request from the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) to consider implementing the scheme, as previously reported on Transport Network.
The Welsh Government said that while local authorities are responsible for planning for significant weather events and expected to budget accordingly, it is providing extra cash ‘in recognition of the significant costs incurred’.
Funding will be directed to offset a major part of these costs, including those incurred for highway authorities’ gritting and snow clearance operations and salt purchasing.
Economy and transport secretary Ken Skates said: ‘As much of the country was blanketed with snow recently, authority staff and contractors worked tirelessly in supporting the travelling public and ensuring our road network remained open as much as possible. Their professionalism and commitment was evident as ever and I would like to thank them once again for their efforts.
‘The extreme weather did have an impact however and with that came inevitable financial consequences.’
Cllr Andrew Morgan, the WLGA’s spokesperson for transport, the environment and sustainability said: ‘I welcome this funding by Welsh Government in recognition of the significant costs incurred by authorities in responding to the recent extreme weather event.
‘Although all councils will have planned well in advance for such a weather event, the sheer intensity of the weather meant that additional costs were unavoidable.’
He added: ‘I am incredibly proud of the response efforts of councils across Wales, with council staff going above and beyond to help residents in their communities. Our staff members’ efforts highlighted public service at its finest, and demonstrated the true value of local government.’
Cold Comfort 2018, the 27th Annual Winter Maintenance Conference and Exhibition, takes place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on 16 and 17 May. To register click here.