A council is offering residents and community groups free salt to grit streets as it gears up for winter.

Hertfordshire County Council says it is also offering salt to schools for use on the roads - to help them stay open during icy weather - as well as parish and town councils.

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.

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 200 local groups used the offer.

Phil Bibby, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “It may seem quite early to be thinking about snow and ice, but it’s important to plan ahead and 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.”

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