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The high cost of freak snowfalls in Wrexham and Flintshire

Published date: 12 December 2013 |
Published by: David Humphreys
Read more articles by David Humphreys


 

TACKLING snow storms earlier this year cost local authorities millions of pounds.

Dealing with the unseasonal blast of snow that hit the region in March cost Flintshire Council £1.15 million, figures released to the BBC has found.

Wrexham Council spent £291,000 in its efforts to tackle the unusual weather conditions.

The cost of dealing with the snow was revealed after a Freedom of Information request by the BBC.

Flintshire’s spend of more than £1 million contributed to a total of nearly £4 million spent by just 10 local authorities across Wales during the arctic blast and was the highest by some margin.

Conwy was the next highest with costs measured at £500,000 with Denbighshire having to stump up £389,000.

At a meeting of Flintshire Council in April, leader Aaron Shotton said the council needed urgent financial aid from the Welsh Government to ensure costs could be met.

However the council was advised earlier this year by the Welsh Government that it had decided not to exercise discretion to fund the council’s claim for support.

Steve Jones, Flintshire Council’s head of streetscene, said: “The council provides a winter maintenance budget from its overall funding allocation which is sufficient to deal with average winter conditions.

“The cost of the snow event in March totalled £1.15m which included the costs of the repair works following the heavy snowfall.

“The snowfall in March/April this year was exceptional but despite this the main routes throughout the county remained open throughout the period.

“The council always strives to learn from these events, particularly as many of the staff involved had not experienced snowfalls of this level before.”

The freak snow and arctic conditions caused havoc across the region in March.

Between 10cm and 20cm of snow fell in the space of 12 hours with Met Office officials describing the weather as “extremely unseasonal”.

At one point, the Wrexham Maelor Hospital was closed to outpatient admissions and motorists were forced to abandon their cars across the town.

A spokesman for Wrexham Council said: “We have to deal with these situations, we can’t ignore them.

“We always have a reserve in the environment budget and that was called upon in March.

“Some years it is used and some years it isn’t.

“The last snowfall we had was particularly remarkable and we had to bring in specialist equipment.”

The A548 between Flint and Sealand was also closed in both directions due to bad conditions.

In preperation for any snowfall this winter,  Flintshire Council has set aside 10,000 tonnes of grit and 14 large HGV gritters stationed at its Alltami and Halkyn depots to help keep roads clear.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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