The Star Opinion: Can we expect more gritting?

Opinion: Star editorial comment.
Opinion: Star editorial comment.
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TWO hundred tons of grit and 20 gritters working through the night were not enough to stop chaos hitting the region after an uncharacteristically aggressive freeze.

Fall victims faced waits at the A&E department of more than 10 hours and 280 additional calls were made to the police in two hours yesterday morning.

Yet despite all of this, pedestrians and motorists faced some of the most treacherous conditions as they battled to get to work or conduct their daily basis.

But should we have expected contractors Amey to have done more?

We can always expect more. However, it is not reasonable to expect that every street across the city and indeed in every town should be gritted by the time people get out of their beds.

To achieve that the cost of providing that degree of winter road maintenance would be prohibitive.

We should expect our major roads and main roads into estates and through suburbs to be gritted – and all reports suggest they were. And we should expect the main pavements to be salted.

Luckily, the freeze was followed by torrential rain and so came the thaw.

The worry is that it doesn’t happen like that again next time and our pavements are frozen for longer – and that is when we need some contingency from the council to ensure our emergency services do not experience the sort of volume of incidents they did yesterday.

Right to challenge failing drugs laws

DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg has supercharged the debate about legalisation of drugs with his broadside against the Conservatives who have dismissed a cross-party report advocating a relaxation of the law.

His case is a simple one. The current controls and legislation have failed to stem a crime that hits us all.

We may not think we are affected by drug abuse, but we are. Street robberies, mugging, burglaries and car thefts are often the means for a criminal to access the funds to buy drugs.

We have drug growing on an industrial scale across South Yorkshire.

So he is right to challenge the knee-jerk reaction of the Tories who flatly refuse to discuss the issue.

That does not mean that legalisation or decriminalisation is necessarily the answer.

But there should at least be a debate – a grown-up one that takes into account the views at each end of the spectrum and also the middle ground.

Surely an answer can be found that at least makes some inroads where the law has signally failed.