Calderdale Council is ready for what winter might throw at it and earmarked how roads are on its gritting list.
Last night (Monday, October 1), Calderdale Council’s Cabinet agreed the council’s winter policy.
Cabinet member for Regeneration and Economic Strategy, Coun Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said the paper set out how the council intended to carry out its winter programme this coming year and lessons had been learned from last winter.
The council had faced fierce criticism after many roads which had usually been gritted were untreated following the introduction of a new policy, which was effectively reversed before the winter storm dubbed “The Beast From The East” hit the borough in February.
“It builds on the experience of last winter where we spent almost as much in one year as the previous three years’ combined – it was a difficult winter and a long one. We have learned the lessons of that winter,” he said.
The policy Cabinet was being asked to approve in broad terms set out a list of 1,135 treatable roads, amounting to 67 per cent of Calderdale’s roads, one of the biggest totals among comparable neighbours.
“These are hugely bigger rates of winter gritting than others. That’s something we are quite proud of while recognising we did make some mistakes last year,” said Coun Collins, who added the council had acted quickly to remedy them.
As well as a detailed list of routes which will be gritted, and even a small number which can’t be treated because of access problems for gritters, it sets out the type of gritting done under which weather conditions right down to the amounts of salt for each circumstance, priority order of routes and also footways and salt bins.
Currently there is approved budget of £1.4 million for winter maintenance – this is above the average of £1.28 million, although last year’s severe winter cost the council around £2.7 million.
Coun Susan Press (Lab, Todmorden), Cabinet member for Communities and Neighbourhood Services, said last winter had been difficult and all councillors had phone calls about the situation from their constituents.
The council had responded very quickly and the fact 67 per cent of the borough’s roads were going to be treated was significant.
“It recognises we do our very best to treat as many roads as possible. We are sticking to the status quo and despite financial circumstances are going to offer as good a service,” she said.
Earlier this month Calderdale Council’s Place Scrutiny Board favourably previewed the proposed policy when it was presented to them and discussed by them.