By Daniel Hunter
Council workers are out in force cleaning up in the aftermath of one of the fiercest storms in almost 30 years.
Chainsaw gangs are helping to remove thousands of downed trees and fallen branches from roads and footpaths, while highways teams are out assessing damage and placing hazard markers to ensure motorists are aware of any obstructions in the roads. Social services and housing teams are also out visiting their old and vulnerable residents to make sure they are okay.
Hundreds of extra council staff volunteered for shifts overnight to ensure that local authorities could respond quickly to clear obstructions in the roads or help residents and business owners deal swiftly with damage to homes and property.
Additional staff have been brought in to help with the clean-up and staff are being diverted from lower-priority duties to deal with the immediate aftermath.
Councils are using social media and their websites to provide rolling updates on the situation in local areas.
Residents are also being asked to check in on frail and vulnerable neighbours to make sure they are warm and comfortable. People should also be aware that some parks will be closed while council environment teams ensure that trees and public buildings are safe.
Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said: "Council workers are out in force right across the country clearing the roads and checking in on vulnerable residents to make sure they are okay. Staff are being diverted from lower-priority duties to deal specifically with the aftermath of the storm and significant headway has already been made clearing away fallen trees and helping residents fix damaged property.
"A huge amount of credit has to go to the hundreds of council employees who volunteered to come in overnight to help emergency services tackle the damage caused by the storm.
"People should keep an eye on council websites and social media feeds for updates on the situation in their local areas. We also ask that residents check in on frail and vulnerable neighbours to make sure that their homes haven't been damaged and that they are warm and comfortable."
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