Council launches major consultation on the severe winter weather

A major public consultation on the severe winter weather is due to be launched by the City of Edinburgh Council.

The consultation is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK - and will seek views from local residents, businesses and community organisations on what went well and how Council services can be improved during the extreme weather and how public volunteers can help in the future.

During the winter, the Council received a large amount of feedback from the public. This is now being used to shape a wider city survey.

Now, there will be an online Council survey for all city residents where the public will be asked for their own personal experiences and how they thought the Council performed during the bad weather.

Over the next six weeks, there will be 12 focus group discussions in neighbourhoods across Edinburgh. A range of people from different backgrounds, age groups and areas of the city have been picked to explore ideas and suggestions in depth.

The information which comes from these discussions will be used to shape an on-street survey in June, where locals will be asked about their experiences during Edinburgh's worst winter since 1963.

The study will be representative to the city's population and the Council is also keen to hear the views of vulnerable people.

Results of the consultation will be used to increase the resilience of essential services such as road gritting and bin collections during future winters.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environmental Leader, said:

"This is an ambitious public consultation and we hope to get views and suggestions from a wide range of people on how we can organise our services during times of extreme weather in the future.

"From bringing in contractors to office staff out helping to clear the snow, the Council pulled out all the stops to keep the city moving during the winter. We are keen to carry this momentum on by focusing on people and resources. We also want to harness community involvement through this study to improve our service for the better, as we make sure we are prepared for any harsh winters in the future."

Last winter, the city experienced the worst snow for half a century. During the worst days the Council was using around 600 tonnes of salt per day to keep the city's main roads and pavements clear.

More than 1,450 hours of snow clearing has been carried out by offenders on Community Service Orders in Edinburgh.

The army was also brought in to help with 'life and limb' cases as the invasion of ice and snow brought some parts of the city to a standstill.

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