Warmer temperatures and the beginnings of a long-awaited thaw in Monmouthshire signalled the start of normality for council services across the county.

Council staff continue to work around the clock ploughing and gritting roads and delivering care to the elderly and vulnerable while warm meals have been provided by Monmouthshire’s community meals team.

In seven days over 900 tonnes of grit and salt have been used by the council’s highways teams, assisted by around 50 colleagues from waste & recycling and grounds maintenance.  Twelve gritting lorries and over twenty contractors from the agricultural community have taken to their vehicles using ploughs and blowers to make snow-filled roads passable.  Even local volunteers have lent a welcome hand.  Unable to get to work, Llanfoist resident Gareth Clarke offered his services and cleared footpaths around the village.  This teamwork has resulted in the clearance of main routes, town centres, roads near hospitals and crucial urban, bus and school routes as well as ensuring patients needing NHS dialysis can leave isolated homes to receive treatment.  A significant number of remote rural routes remain blocked but the council continues to grit, plough and dig the roads out on a 24 hour basis.

Most of Monmouthshire’s schools will re-open on Monday in the wake of Storm Emma.  The council’s website and social media channels as well as school websites have issued bulletins and by Sunday afternoon 31 of the county’s 35 schools declared they would be open on Monday morning.  Only one planned on remaining closed.

All Monmouthshire’s household waste and recycling centres will be available to the public on Monday and the council’s refuse staff will endeavour to catch up on collections this week after assisting their highways colleagues in snow clearance.

All of the council’s leisure centres opened their doors on Sunday and this pattern will continue on Monday and the rest of the week.  Abergavenny and Monmouth museums were open as usual on Sunday and normal hours will resume from Monday.  Meanwhile Chepstow Museum is closed until 19th March for routine planned maintenance.

Council Leader Peter Fox said: “It’s been a huge challenge over the past four days but staff have worked together on a 24 hour basis and throughout the weekend to ensure we can prioritise the care of the elderly and vulnerable, opening roads and the safety of the community while making every effort to keep services running as normally as possible.  I’m proud of the way staff have risen to the challenge and I’d also like to thank our communities for their kind comments, patience and understanding while we coped with the aftermath of the most severe weather for many years.”

Residents are advised to log onto www.monmouthshire.gov.uk for further information.