CONSULTATION has begun into major changes in the way Derbyshire roads are gritted which would see some roads no longer covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Residents can comment until October 12 on the County Council’s plans aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness.
The proposals include splitting the gritting into different categories and deciding which roads are classified as primary, secondary and tertiary routes.
Councillor Simon Spencer, DCC’s Cabinet Member for highways and transport said: “During really bad and prolonged winter weather, it’s extremely difficult to provide an effective gritting service under the current system of covering all gritting routes 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“It’s also a very costly system and at a time when funds are becoming increasingly tight we needed to look at ways to grit Derbyshire’s roads more efficiently and effectively.
“Last year we spent £4.5 million on gritting and snow clearance – an overspend of £1 million. This year there’s £4.5 million available but we can’t afford to overspend again. These improvements will ensure we are maximising the impact of our limited resources.”
A questionnaire is available online at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/gritting or by contacting Call Derbyshire on 08456 058 058 or 01629 533190, and will be also be available next week from county libraries.
Under the proposals:
l Primary - major roads including all A roads and heavily used B roads, major bus routes, roads linking towns and larger villages and roads outside bus, train, police, fire and ambulance stations and hospitals.
l When snow or ice is forecast, primary routes would be ‘pre-treated’ before the bad weather hits and gritting would continue 24 hours a day if necessary, as at present.
l Secondary – including some bus routes, well-used main roads through housing estates and villages. These roads would only be treated in the day.
l Tertiary – roads not currently covered with snow clearance carried out by external contractors such as farmers. They would include at least one route to isolated villages not already covered, roads to industrial areas and roads to schools not covered on primary and secondary routes.
The County would also offer a minimum annual payment of £200 to external contractors, such as farmers, for help with gritting and snow clearance.
Existing arrangements for district and borough councils gritting pavements in town centres on the county’s behalf are to continue with talks ongoing to try and enhance this service.
l Farmers and other external contractors who are interested in helping to keep Derbyshire’s roads clear of snow can register online at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/winterhelp or Call Derbyshire on 08456 058 058 or 01629 533190.