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DEVON, WREXHAM, LINCS, BOLTON AND CAMBS PRESS NOTICES REGARDING THE FUEL CRISIS

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DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL RESPONDS TO FUEL SHORTAGES ...
DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL RESPONDS TO FUEL SHORTAGES

In view of possible disruption to home-to-school transport, Devon CC is setting up a page on its website 'Information Devon' to convey the latest situation as we know it. It will contain information on the situation of schools and transport day-by-day.

Following panic buying and the escalation of action to stop fuel deliveries in the region, a Devon CC spokesperson issued the following statement:

'Devon County Council is taking the situation very seriously. Potential problems could be experienced in a number of areas such as school transport, meals on wheels and transport to day care facilities. Already some transport operators and social services care staff who use their own cars are reporting that they are low on fuel.

'Emergency contingency plans to protect the vulnerable and minimise disruption are currently being drawn together and every effort will be made to ensure the minimum disruption to schools and in frontline social services.

'In the meantime we are advising our own staff to conserve fuel by avoiding unnecessary journeys and cancelling non-urgent meetings. Already four council committees at County Hall during the week have been cancelled and non-essential services such as mobile libraries have been stopped.

'We will be watching the situation carefully and will keep everyone informed as things develop.'

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Wrexham Council today opened its emergency control centre to co-ordinate its services as the fuel crisis began to take effect.

From today the council will be providing essential services only in a bid to provide priority care to vulnerable people, particularly the elderly and conserve fuel for emergencies.

Those services stopping from today will include the following:

Library and Information Service vehicles - housebound and mobile service. All books will automatically be renewed.

Building and housing maintenance to provide an emergency service during working hours and out of hours.

Highways

Parks/grass cutting

Street sweeping

Closure of rural toilets

Dog warden and pest control (emergency cover only).

The refuse collection service remains in place but will be assessed on a daily basis.

Social Services will provide limited day care provision and those mini-buses normally used to transport clients to day care facilities will be used to transport carers to their clients.

The education department says that there are currently no schools affected by the fuel shortage but each school has been asked to notify parents of any difficulties with school transport.

Decisions about school closures will be made by individual headteachers in conjunction with the chair of governors and local education department. Parents should listen to reports on local radio for further information of any school closures.

All council staff have been advised that they should make every effort to attend work and encouraged to make arrangements to car share or use publictransport.

The council will continually review the situation and reassess its priorities.

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ESSENTIAL SERVICES WILL BE MET - BOLTON COUNCIL CHIEFS

Bolton Council is confident that it can deal with the current fuel problem

and is continuing to monitor the situation.

A council spokesperson said 'The vast majority of our vehicles run on diesel

and our current fuel stocks will last until at least next week.

'We are examining our services by looking to protect vulnerable people and

ensuring that emergency services continue to be met. Residents shouldn't see

any significant deterioration of essential services in the short term.

'The staffing of services is not a problem as yet, but council employees may

begin to suffer the same travel to work problems as other members of the

community.

'It is a very fluid situation and we are observing and planning accordingly

and talking to other key agencies in the borough.'

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LINCOLNSHIRE SOCIAL SERVICES - IMPACT OF FUEL BLOCKADE

The social services directorate is constantly reviewing the situation in the light of the ongoing fuel crisis.

Services will be maintained as far as possible, but the emphasis will be on those people in the community who are considered to be the most vulnerable and at risk. As a result of this a number of routine non-urgent appointments will be postponed with the aim of ensuring essential services are maintained and fuel supplies are conserved.

Relatives, friends and neighbours may be aware of vulnerable people living nearby who would benefit from a call. If you are concerned about services, please contact your local social services office.

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FUEL SHORTAGE - CAMBRIDGESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL UPDATE

Cambridgeshire County Council took a number of actions yesterday to conserve

fuel, these included:

identifying those staff who can work from home

encouraging other staff to travel to work by public transport if available or car share

cancelling all non-essential travel

cancelling all committee meetings - except the Fenland area joint environment and transport committee, which meets in March on Friday and involves only local councillors.

All routine grounds maintenance operations have been suspended (eg grass cutting etc)

The chief executive Alan Barnish is leading a team of senior staff that is continuously reviewing the effects of the current fuel shortages on all the county council's services.

The current position is:

Social services - We anticipate all home visits should be possible today. The council has prioritised those people most at risk and has spoken to the family/carers of many of these.

The council has 12 gas powered vehicles which are on standby for social services staff to use to care for the most vulnerable or at risk. A decision on the future opening arrangements of day centre will made later today. They are open today.

The council is hoping staff who provide vital care to people at home will be given priority for fuel.

Education - All headteachers were sent a letter yesterday giving advice. If the situation does not ease by the weekend many schools anticipate having to close.

It will be difficult to provide school meals across the county from the beginning of next weekend because of difficulty obtaining supplies. Contractors taking children to and from school have sufficient fuel for today and tomorrow. They are being contacted again today and are being instructed not to take children to school if there is any doubt about being able to get them home.

Libraries - The council's seven mobile libraries have been withdrawn as from today. Other Libraries remain open.

Waste recycling centres - Four centres which require skips to be removed to landfill sites have today been closed. They are at Alconbury, St Neots, Thriplow Whittlesey. This will conserve fuel resources and allow us to concentrate on keeping the eight other recycling centres adjacent to landfill sites open for a maximum amount of time.

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