Sheffield’s snow warden service – where residents volunteer to clear snow-covered streets – is being expanded, but people will no longer be given any grit.
New recruits will also be given no training for the work.
There are currently 67 snow wardens in Sheffield, but officials want to increase the number ‘into the hundreds’.
Now 550 snow shovels are being made available to give out.
However, concern about the lack of grit or training was voiced by Coun Joe Otten, Sheffield Council’s opposition Liberal Democrat streetscene spokesman.
He said: “It’s difficult to understand how the council are trying spin this as an improvement, when the service is effectively being ended.
“Instead of harnessing the potential of volunteers who want to clear their area, communities are simply being abandoned to their own devices.
“The new scheme is less ‘snow warden’, than simply ‘snow shovel’.”
Coun Jack Scott, council cabinet member for environment, said: “We received feedback from wardens who felt training wasn’t needed, that the grit bag caused obstructions and the grit was washed out of the bags quite quickly.
“We have more than 450 extra snow shovels we are offering to community groups, as well as the shovels that our existing wardens already have.
“Rather than providing wardens with grit bags, we are encouraging volunteers to use their local grit bin, which will mean less grit gets washed away.”
The council and contractor Amey say they are contacting community groups across the city to offer the free snow shovels.
Councillors are also being invited to receive a snow shovel ‘to lead from the front’ and help clear snow from the pavements in their community.
Coun Scott said: “We had a great response from the community to last year’s big snowfall and I’m confident we can do the same again.”
n To register for snow shovels, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0114 273 4567 by Friday, November 8.