Resident and community groups can get free salt to grit their streets from Hertfordshire County Council, as the council starts to gear up for the winter.

The county council is also offering salt to schools, to help them stay open during icy weather, as well as to parish and town councils, who can use their local knowledge to identify exactly where best to use the salt during severe weather.

District and borough councils that help with clearing high priority pavements can apply for up to 30 tonnes of salt to assist with highway treatments at no cost.

Resident and community groups can apply for up to 680kg of salt, and schools can ask for up to 1 tonne. Last year some 200 local groups took advantage of the offer.

The Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “It may seem quite early to be thinking about snow and ice, but with forecasts suggesting a cold winter ahead it’s important to be prepared. We’ve already ordered thousands of tonnes of salt for the county’s main roads but we will need to order more and, as in previous years, we’re happy to order extra salt for organisations who want to help keep their local roads and pavements clear. Our gritters can’t get everywhere, so it’s a real help when local groups are willing to do their bit too.”

The salt will be provided for use on the public highway, not on private property, and the county council can only make one delivery of salt at the beginning of the winter.

Application forms can be found at http://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/applyforsalt and must be received by the county council by 31 October.