8 Feb 2009

Grit lorries have just been through Ruscombe

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


Anonymous said...

I've just spent 2 hrs getting cars out of Ruscombe. The Grit Bins are mostly on the flat areas, because that makes them convenient for the council to locate them & fill them. Unfortunately the Grit is needed on the hill leading up to Zions Hill, & round by the Chapel, where there aren't bins. The bin by the Co-op is empty. Can a bin be sited below Zions Hill for next year please?

Philip Booth said...

Just got sent this email:

Just a note re the appalling mismanagement of highways during the snow last week.
Up to relatively recently farmers were supplied with snow ploughs by the Council and in the event of heavy snow fall were tasked with specific roads to clear. This could happen again - relatively cheaply with snow ploughs attached to tractors.
Having lived for several years in Germany, we could adopt their practise of each householder being legally obliged to clear pavements from their house fronts. Additionally, last Saturday, Stroud streets and pavements were lethal. Why not oblige businesses to clear their pavements? And where were all the council workers hiding at home? Could they not have done some pavement clearing in their home area.
We have to sort this. We are the laughing stock of Europe.

Philip Booth said...

Re: Anonymous comment leaver above

I will raise issue of grit bins with Parish Council this week - and discuss how best to approach Highways re this - it would be great if you could also make the same point to them. The more people that do the more likely we will be heard!

You can contact them by telephone on 08000 514514.

You can write to them at:
Gloucestershire Highways
Imperial Gate Business Park
Corinium Avenue

You can also email them on highways@gloucestershire.gov.uk