COMMUNITY chiefs have criticised a scheme to grit problem areas this winter after volunteers did not receive proper training to use the equipment.
John Titlow told the Uttoxeter Community Action Group (UCAG) meeting that there were only two volunteers covering the Market Place and High Street as part of Staffordshire County Council’s Ice Busters initiative.
The scheme was introduced after elderly and vulnerable residents across the county were left stranded as footpaths and isolated roads became treacherous under foot due to the ice.
As one of the volunteers, Reverend Titlow said he was left unaware of what he was spraying and whether it was hazardous.
He said: “I doubt it is hazardous but I would like to know. As I don’t know what I am spraying, I don’t know what it does.
“I did a run round Manor Close and it was maybe possible it was starting to melt a little the next morning.
“I have used up over half the quality of the substance I had on one three quarter run.
“I assume it is just the pavements I am meant to be spraying.”
After not receiving training on using the equipment, it led to Reverend Titlow not being able to find out how to use it to start with.
He said: “The main thing was I could not find the spray arm, which is inside the unit itself.
“Also the valve on the unit does not shut off properly so I am spraying everything on the way.
“I expected a more obvious result with it than I have seen. I can do another one-and-a-half rounds on the basis of what I have done so far.”
Reverend Titlow also added that the unit was quite heavy so volunteers struggled to carry it long distances.
UCAG secretary Bob Divers said elderly residents were having problems with the ice in Short Street, Alexandra Close and Smithfield Road and on one occasion he had seen a nurse unable to get to one of the bungalows because of the icy path.
He suggested e-mailing Staffordshire County Councillor Geoff Morrison asking him what he wanted them to do as there were no directions or instructions on how to use it.
Jerry Latham also pointed out the Maltings car park was dangerous in icy weather and he had seen several people slip on the hazardous surfaces.
Mary Dodson said of the Maltings car park: “We are paying to park there so the borough council has a duty of care to keep it clear.”
Those wanting to find out more about the county council’s Ice Busters scheme should call 0300 111 8000 or visit www.staffordshire.gov.uk/icebusters