PARISH and town councils will be given a share of £51,000 to cut grass and repair footpaths under a new pilot scheme.

In total 14 different authorities across Essex have signed up for the scheme.

Under the plans Essex County Council will hand responsibility for some highway services to the councils for 12 months.

Each council signed up will be handed £0.68 per person or £1,000, whichever is the greater amount.

The pilot began on Friday and will run until the end of February 2020.

The parish councils signed up will be given responsibility for snow clearance and salting footpaths, minor repairs to footpaths, verge cutting, weed control and tree trimming.

They will also take control of public right of way maintenance, bus shelters and repairing road signs.

In total £51,310.93 will be shared between the 14 councils in the county.

The figure includes £1,368.36 for Alresford Parish Council and a total of £2,913.14 for St Osyth Parish Council.

A report said: “Each council will be provided with a grant and will be responsible for determining how the grant is spent within their area to deliver the services set out above.

“The councils will be expected to either use volunteers or contractors in order to deliver the services and will be permitted to purchase equipment using the grant in order that volunteers can carry out the work.

“Essex Highways will assist the councils by providing health and safety training/guidance ahead of them commencing out any work and will be available to provide specific health and safety advice during the 12 month pilot period.”

A review will be carried out after six months to consider rolling the initiative out to more councils.