Protest over sheffield gritting changes

Gritters battling to keep the roads clear of snow in Sheffield
Gritters battling to keep the roads clear of snow in Sheffield
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A storm of protest has blown up around plans to reduce the number of Sheffield roads gritted for snow.

Consultation on the proposals – which aim to save £100,000 a year to meet Government funding cuts – was launched this week by Sheffield Council.

Relocating or removing 400 grit bins, as well as halting the recruitment of volunteer snow wardens, are also included in the review.

Some people have raised fears there will be more accidents if the number of ‘priority two’ roads is reduced from 720 to 610.

One online Star reader said: “I can see there being some problems in the winter ahead on the roads - let’s hope the council’s plans do not result in any fatalities.”

The areas set to be affected most severely by the reduction are less populated communities in the west of Sheffield.

Opposition councillors - who objected to the cut when it was decided earlier this year – also have concerns.

Coun Joe Otten, Liberal Democrat spokesman for highways, said: “If this decision is pushed through, residents in rural communities, particularly the elderly, could be left stranded in their homes for days or weeks.”

He also said it was ‘no surprise’ the announcement was made only after the local elections.

He added: “Keeping roads moving is one of the most basic services the council provides.

“It’s disappointing to see the council cutting back on this while wasting money on office makeovers and political pet projects.”

Green party leader Jillian Creasey said her concern was about flash flooding on roads - but said priority should be given to pedestrian routes.

She added: “When weather is really bad people can’t get out in their cars so they want to move on foot.”

The council says 50 per cent of all Sheffield roads will still be gritted. And priority two roads that are heavily used, on bus routes or near public facilities, will keep their treatment. Main arterial links and the busiest routes, as well as snow clearance work, are unaffected.