COUNCIL chiefs last night said there were “lessons to be learnt” from the cold snap which gripped Hampshire for more than three weeks.

Freezing temperatures coupled with ice and snow brought havoc to the county’s roads and pavements with many residents stranded in their houses.

Hampshire County Council environment boss Mel Kendal said “everything that could be done was done” to keep main routes clear but said there were areas where “improvements could be made”.

Cllr Kendal said a review of the council’s response to the extreme weather, the worst for 30 years, would now be launched.

He said: “We will be reviewing the events of the past few weeks and our response, as well as assessing the impact that the prolonged spell of extreme weather has had on our roads network.

“We can assure people that, given the salt position nationally, we did everything possible to keep the main routes clear and to improve conditions on the busiest pavements, shopping centres and approaches to stations and health facilities.

“We also brought in sand and grit to improve grip on surfaces on some secondary roads including the busier residential roads and rural routes.

“Undoubtedly, there will be lessons to be learnt and some areas where improvements can be made.

“We will ensure these are accounted for in our revised winter maintenance plans and future support for communities during episodes of extreme weather.”

Good-hearted Southampton residents tow an ambulance free

Southampton’s deputy council leader Royston Smith said he was pleased with how well the council coped with weather conditions.

He said the council took delivery of 160 tonnes of rock salt on Tuesday, enough to salt main roads for a week, and said grit bins were being refilled.

He said: “I’m very pleased with how well Southampton City Council has coped in conserving salt and grit supplies during what has been the most extreme weather conditions for 30 years.

“We went into the cold snap with more than 600 tonnes of salt, enough to deal with more than a week of the worst winter conditions, and we came out of this period with enough supplies to keep our main routes going.

“I know ideally we would have been able to grit all the well-used roads in the city but, due to the national shortage of rock salt, we have had to carefully conserve our supplies by reducing our winter salting by up to 45 per cent.

“We have had to do this to make sure this city continues to operate.”

Cllr Smith also thanked residents for helping the city to keep running throughout the cold weather.