News that the County had run out of grit prompted me to write the letter below - however I was delighted to see a grit lorry come through Ruscombe this afternoon - I had heard one had been through yesterday afternoon but instead of gritting was being filmed!! I haven't been able to confirm or deny that but at least we've been gritted today and hopefully it will mean more folk can get to work, schools and all tomorrow.
However please all take care there is an extreme weather warning from teatime tomorrow - these are not so common so must mean something bad is on it's way - let's hope they got it wrong.
Photo: Cartoon courtesy of Russ - made me smile lots - especially after this blog covering so much on peak oil - anyhow the other pics are of Bread Street ungritted on Saturday and local grit bins - one being almost empty today at Randwick Village Hall while the other near Humphreys End - indeed my previous blogs re grit bins have prompted comments from companies saying how bad they are without lids - well they would wouldn't they - but it is true we need improved bins - the barrels are too tempting to push over or even fall over when being used like the one below. Both local Parishes are exploring improvements - Highways of course say not enough money in their accounts.
Here is my letter:
The County Council had an agreed contract for grit but apparently the supplier let them down. This is not good enough. The failure to grit secondary routes hit communities and the local economy. The Citizen's call on the Government for action was very welcomed, as is the news that 500 tonnes of table salt from Cheshire have been obtained to help clear roads of snow and ice. Indeed as I write a grit lorry has just passed my front door: big thanks to all those who have helped in keeping our services running.
However there is a serious and growing concern internationally about using so much salt on our roads and it's impact on local biodiversity, water courses and indeed water supplies. Furthermore in addition to the public health and environmental problems associated with chloride deicers, the corrosivity of salt impacts on vehicles and infrastructure. It is time we considered alternatives to salt like Calcium Magnesium Acetate and Potassium Acetate.
This last fortnight shows that we must be better prepared with measures like storing more grit in the County, more grit bins with lids and better designed to discourage vandalism, more ploughs and more snow chains for essential services. Yes this comes at a cost, but in the long run these are investments that are worth making if we are to ensure Gloucestershires' economic health and that services, particularly to the vulnerable, can be maintained.
Cllr Philip Booth