Sue Robb of 4Children talks to Julie Laughton and Alison Britton from the Department for Education about the role of childminders in delivering the 30 hours free entitlement.
1.5 million tonnes of salt ready for winter
Councils are ready for freezing temperatures with 1.5 million tonnes of salt stockpiled, gritters out in force and street cleaners ready to hit the streets.
The Local Government Association’s (LGA) annual Winter Readiness Survey reveals how councils have prepared for the freeze and any flooding this winter, with 92 per cent having either more salt in stock for this year, or the same level as they did last year.
Council leaders are also reminding households to show extra vigilance and ensure vulnerable friends, neighbours and family members are safe when the freeze comes.
With freezing temperatures forecast, highway teams are monitoring state-of-the-art weather forecasts with highly-trained staff on standby around the cock and some already deployed to grit thousands of roads whenever temperatures plummet.
To cope with ongoing funding pressures and limited resources, more than half of councils will share salt stocks, 28 per cent will share gritting machinery, and one in six plan to team up across their boundaries to dispatch staff to key locations.
In addition, councils will be looking out for the more vulnerable members of their communities this winter. Local teams will assist the elderly in their communities, from delivering hot meals to carrying out emergency household repairs and providing heating.
The LGA survey also finds: almost eight in 10 councils will be looking to use GPS to manage gritting; 62 per cent of councils will be equipping their staff with salt for street cleaners to spread on pavements; 84 per cent will provide local communities with grit bins; and almost nine in 10 councils are planning to reduce the risk of flooding on local roads as well.
Martin Tett, the LGA’s transport spokesperson, said: “Winter is fast approaching and temperatures are already starting to drop – but councils are prepared yet again.
“Planning for winter remains a key priority for councils, despite ongoing funding pressures and competing demands on their limited resources. Across the country, local authorities have taken the steps necessary to protect their residents from floods, ice, and wintry conditions.
“Councils are constantly monitoring the weather, with up-to-the-minute reports to stay one step ahead. Depots are filled with 1.5 million tonnes of salt and gritters are ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice to make sure our local roads are clear and open to our residents where possible.
“As always, council teams will also spend the winter months checking in on elderly and vulnerable residents to make sure they are okay but communities need to be on look-out for each other. Whether it’s a quick knock at the door to check on an elderly neighbour, or helping to carry out emergency repairs, everyone has a role to play to keep each other safe this winter.”