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Lancashire highways chief hits back in gritting row
LANCASHIRE County Council is reviewing the effectiveness of this week’s gritting of roads in East Lancashire.
And the council hit back at claims treatment of the area’s highways was inadequate during and after the snowfall on Monday.
Highways boss Tim Ashton produced figures which he said showed more roads in the East are routinely gritted than in the rest of the county during the winter.
He released the statistics after Barnoldswick county councillor David Whipp spearheaded a host of complaints over the treatment of icy highways in East Lancashire compared to South Lancashire, which comprises Preston, South Ribble, Chorley and Ormskirk areas.
Coun Whipp said: “What I am concerned about is not how much grit the county puts down in East Lancashire but how effective the gritting operation was on Monday in residential areas and what happens in future.
“I am still getting complaints about the state of our roads on Monday and Tuesday.
“The county’s own statistics admit that our topography and weather is worse than the West and South of the county. On Monday they should have shifted gritters from low-lying areas round Preston, where they were not needed, to East Lancashire where they were.”
The county figures show:
- 71 per cent of all roads in the East are on the gritting network, versus 41 per cent of all roads in the South.
- 43 per cent of all roads in the East are priority routes, compared with 31 per cent of all roads in the South.
- 28 per cent of all roads in the East are on secondary routes, compared with 10 per cent in the South.
Highways manager Duncan Reeve said: “During severe weather we run a 24-hour service that constantly reviews the situation and responds to conditions on the ground.
“For example, last weekend as well as treating primary and secondary routes, our crews treated other roads across East Lancashire that were causing problems for local people.
“At the end of every winter we review our activities and take into account all of the feedback we have received.
“Typically winters in East Lancashire are more severe than the rest of the county which is why we have more resources here. Last weekend we had 26 vehicles out in the eastern area, compared with 14 in the south of the county, putting down nearly twice as much salt.”
County highways cabinet member Tim Ashton said: “The claim that we chose to treat more roads in the South than in the East is simply wrong.
“We do all we can to keep traffic moving on the main routes across the county, and our crews worked flat-out to treat priority and secondary routes in all affected areas last weekend.”
Coun Ashton said he called in contractors to clear all secondary highways in East Lancs on Monday and Tuesday after county gritters had treated primary routes, and that some roads not on the normal gritting network were also treated.
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